The headlines here is that the Obama Administration narrowed the demand they maintained for four years, for tax rates to increase above $250,000, and they would agree to a benefit cut for Social Security and $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts, and in exchange they would mostly extend current law on a few fronts (but not all) and get an unspecified amount, no more than $50 billion, in infrastructure spending.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:54 am|
|By: fatster Tuesday December 18, 2012 4:45 am|
❖ The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has ruled that Ghana “shall forthwith and unconditionally release” Argentina’s ship the Libertad which was seized on October 2nd “at the behest of a US fund [Elliott Associates] seeking to collect on defaulted bonds.” Argentina is to fly the 98-member crew back to Ghana tomorrow. Argentina’s Economy Minister tweeted “Vultures, you shall not pass.” Caution: the fat lady hasn’t sung–yet.
❖ Michigan State Police will be investigating the collapse of the Americans for Prosperity Tent and an altercation involving a Fox “news personality” during last week’s uproar in the capital as the legislature prepared to and passed “right-to-work” and other anti-labor measures.
❖ Announcement: Tar Sands Blockade’s Mass Action and Training Camp to held January 3 – Jan 8, 2013 in southeast TX.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 3:14 pm|
Senator Daniel Inouye, Hawaii’s senior Senator and an American war hero, died today at the age of 88. He suffered complications from a respiratory problem and was in the hospital for the past few days.
Inouye was the President pro tempore of the Senate – fourth in line for the Presidency.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 12:45 pm|
To say that “we have a budget deficit” is no different than saying “we’re in the middle of a recession.” The correlation between deficits and economic growth is very tight. A large part of deficits are composed of reduced tax receipts from less people working, and increase in utilization of automatic stabilizers like unemployment benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, which recedes in better economic times.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 10:50 am|
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley chose Tim Scott to become the interim replacement in the US Senate for Jim DeMint, who will leave to run the Heritage Foundation in January of next year. Scott becomes the first African-American Senator since Roland Burris left in 2010, and the first African-American representing the South in the Senate since Reconstruction (there have only been six other African-American Senators total in the history of the country). Governor Haley made the announcement at the State House in Columbia a short while ago.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 9:05 am|
Where is Patrick Leahy on this? He has made no public statement on the HSBC case, despite being the co-author of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, which was supposed to deliver funds toward prosecuting fraudulent big bank activity (it never actually did). Grassley, a co-author, has spoken out. Why not Leahy?
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 8:20 am|
Let me say something unpopular. There is nothing special about the fact that the Newtown massacre was visited upon 6 and 7 year-olds in an elementary school, relative to massacres where the majority of the victims are college students or adults. A human tragedy is a human tragedy regardless of the age level that it most directly impacts. But the fact that Newtown is seen as a spur to action, as a “tipping point,” that it can get someone like Joe Manchin to say that it’s time for action on the matter – is reflective of the basically dumb way we do politics in this country. In many cases, no outrage, no tragedy, no activity at all rises to the level of legislative response unless it gets visited upon children – and I could probably amend that to say “white children.”
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 6:57 am|
The offer apparently paired $1 trillion in tax increases with major social insurance cuts. Assuming that the spending cuts match the tax hikes dollar-for-dollar, all Boehner is saying is that his rule, where every dollar of debt limit increase must be matched by a dollar of spending cuts, remains in effect. So he’ll honor that with a $1 trillion increase in the debt limit. Tax increases do not count as deficit reduction in Boehner’s equation; only spending cuts will register for increasing the debt limit.
|By: fatster Monday December 17, 2012 4:54 am|
❖ In 2014, both Catalonians and Scots will be voting to express their preferences on independence. And similar sentiment appears to be growing in the Basque country of Spain, too.
❖ “All 31 U.S. senators who support gun rights reportedly declined to speak on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” in the wake of the Newtown shooting.”
❖ The Oregon legislature granted Nike, Inc’s wishes and passed legislation authorizing the governor to give Nike “the substantial tax benefits” they currently enjoy for ”up to the next 30 years”. What’s not so certain is that the “500 or more jobs” and investment “of at least $150 million in an expansion” Nike promised will actually happen in OR.
|By: David Dayen Sunday December 16, 2012 4:00 pm|
Dianne Feinstein, author of the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired under President George W. Bush in 2004, told Meet the Press that she plans to reintroduce the law on the first day of the new Congress in 2013. The bill seeks to respond to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one of several this year.