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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Douglas Holtz-Eakin
Maybe the health care law was about wealth transfer, after all.
One casualty of the government shutdown is that key agencies no longer are producing exactly the kind of budget information on deficits, spending and the economy that could help inform Congress as it debates just those issues.
The nation’s regulatory climate has hit epic highs under President Obama’s White House, despite the administration’s oft-repeated rhetoric of the need to create a freer business atmosphere and open the doors to economic growth.
The White House said this week that passing the immigration bill will help boost Social Security — a claim that gets at the heart of the immigration debate and whether it's good for the economy or not.
Much of the fight over illegal immigration isn't about immigration at all, but rather over the generous social safety net that has sprung up in the past five decades, and which has proved to be a major sticking point in voters' minds as Congress contemplates a legalization.
The Heritage Foundation said Monday that legalizing illegal immigrants would cost taxpayers a net $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years — releasing a report that ignited a venomous battle over an immigration bill and who is truly representing the conservative movement in the debate.
States complain that they will suffer in the budget sequesters, but they themselves have a lot to say about how much money the federal government has available to spend.
The tax deal President Obama and congressional Republicans struck last week will send government revenue soaring above its historic average, but did nothing to control spending, which remains stubbornly high.
The presidential debates may be the biggest news events between now and Election Day, but with two monthly jobs reports, the final deficit tally and several other end-of-the-fiscal-year numbers due, the calendar is littered with other potential political land mines.
The nation's unemployment rate continued its rapid decline last month, falling to 8.1 percent as another 115,000 jobs were added throughout the economy, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
President Obama's budget request to Congress on Monday will forecast a deficit of $1.33 trillion in the current fiscal year and calls for $1.5 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, senior administration officials said Friday night.
Ten years after President George W. Bush cut income-tax rates, his decision remains at the epicenter of debate about future economic policy. President Obama, who came charging into office vowing to repeal the Bush tax cuts, has been blocked at every turn by Republicans but also by some members of own party who thought it was insane to raise taxes in the midst of a recession when businesses were struggling and so many Americans were out of work.
In cash-strapped Washington, President Obama's $1 trillion health care law is presenting a tempting target for lawmakers seeking funds for other projects, as Congress last week raided the health care piggy bank for the third time in less than a year.
The bipartisan supercommittee's proposal for addressing the nation's debt woes is due two weeks from Wednesday, but the panel already has hit a deadline that Congress' official scorekeeper says should be met to ensure the numbers add up.
Republican presidential candidates are pledging to slice a quarter or more out of the federal budget — proposals that would take spending back to levels unseen in decades, and would require the equivalent of axing a major program such as Medicare or cutting the entire defense budget.
"This was always portrayed as a health reform, not a big redistribution policy, but it turns out they are the same thing," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a center-right public policy institute.
"In general, policymakers have very little feel for how the economy's doing in real time. At best, you're getting something that's a month old, and this will make that worse," he said.