- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Inside the Beltway
Congress actually has some leftover money hanging around - $1 trillion in “unobligated funds” in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Rather than use unspent funds to reduce future deficits, lawmakers prefer to spend that money. It’s a murky business.
“That may be changing with the government running trillion-dollar shortfalls and a GOP House brimming with fiscal hawks,” says Investor’s Business Daily analyst David Hogberg.
The Office of Management and Budget estimates that $717 billion in unobligated funds will remain when fiscal 2011 ends. But wait. Using such funds for new purposes isn’t deemed “new” spending; the Congressional Budget Office calculates funds’ budget impact when they’re authorized. Congress also can “borrow” funds from one area to shore up a shortfall elsewhere, Mr. Hogberg says.
Who’s got the most spare change? The Treasury Department leads, with $337.6 billion. The Toxic Asset Relief Program has $21 billion left. There’s also $4.9 billion in “salaries and expenses” at several agencies.
“There is no reason why we can’t simply cancel unobligated funds to reduce the deficit,” says Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, who has introduced a bill to eliminate $45 billion in unobligated funds.
Journalists and politicans are not the only ones to run afoul of social media. Some physicians are “disseminating unethical and unprofessional content” on Twitter, says Dr. Katherine Chretien, associate professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine, who published her research in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
She examined more than 5,000 tweets from 260 doctors to find that 3 percent included profanity, potential patient privacy violations, sexually explicit material or discriminatory statements; 1 percent included unsupported claims about a product the doctors were selling on their websites; and 10 statements about medical therapies countered existing medical knowledge or guidelines, potentially leading to “patient harm.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 79 percent of Americans say the U.S. and its allies should remove Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.
• 60 percent support bombing Libya to impose a no-fly zone to protect civilians.
• 48 percent say President Obama’s leadership in the matter is “cautious and consultive.”
• 36 percent describe his leadership as “indecisive and dithering”; 17 percent said it is “strong and decisive.”
• 23 percent support an increase in airstrikes.
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About the Author
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