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By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Chris Edwards
Even as negotiators struggle to write a final fiscal 2014 budget, one of Congress' most liberal lawmakers laid out his own vision for what the government's priorities should be — complete with big jumps in taxes and social spending and cuts at the Pentagon.
Republican governors elected in 2010's tea party wave have generally made good on pledges to cut taxes and limit spending, according to the latest fiscal report card released Tuesday by the Cato Institute think tank, which graded the states' executives on their boldness is reining in government expansion.
With Democrats ruling Washington, Republican governors have become the GOP's standard-bearers, raising their profiles with their tax-cutting, budget-balancing and hurricane-battling derring-do.
Mitt Romney's corps of advisers is heavily salted with figures who surrounded President George W. Bush as he watched over massive increases in federal spending, the creation of more government programs and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the nation-building efforts that followed.
President Obama keeps demanding that the rich pay more because "it is only fair." In his State of Union address, he said millionaires should pay a minimum of 30 percent of their income in taxes. The 30 percent number seems to have come from divine inspiration rather than an exercise in logic.
Gov. Rick Perry says that on his watch Texas has created more than 1 million jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Romney touts turning job losses into gains in Massachusetts. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. boasts that his job-growth credentials in Utah trump them both. But records from recent governors turned president show it's difficult to re-create gubernatorial success on a national level.
President Obama will reveal his latest jobs plan Thursday night in a high-stakes speech to a joint session of Congress, facing Republicans opposed to more deficit spending and voters who increasingly don't trust him to fix the economy.
Political observers could not help but notice that many provisions of the compromise debt deal, such as postponing nearly all spending cuts until 2013 and boosting student aid next year, are tailor-made for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.
Public employee unions, the last bastion of an American labor movement in decline, are facing the fight of their lives this year as strapped state and local governments seek to permanently downsize their pensions, pay, benefits and bargaining rights.
Despite President Obama's promises to lower the deficit and rein in spending, there was a conspicuous omission from his 2012 budget blueprint that many say would go a long way toward easing the nation's financial woes: Social Security reform.
Did you know there are nine states that have no state income tax? The non-income-tax states (see accompanying chart) are geographically and economically diverse, ranging from the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, to Texas and Florida in the South, and up to New Hampshire in the Northeast.
Major clashes are breaking out between public-sector unions and state and local governments seeking to steady their wobbly books by scaling back employee benefits, pitting labor's political clout against lawmakers eager to avoid raising taxes or cutting programs.
"I don't think that the committee will agree to anything, and I think they'll just end up doing another continuing resolution in January," said Chris Edwards, editor of DownsizingGovernment.org at the Cato Institute.