December 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama made a highly personal case for raising the minimum wage and strengthening the social safety net in an address Wednesday recalling the government programs that helped him and his wife get ahead in life. In a lengthy speech about income inequality in America, Obama declared it the “defining challenge of our time” to make sure the economy works for rich and poor alike. “I take this personally,” Obama said. “I'm only here because this country educated my grandfather on the GI bill.” PHOTOS: 2013's memorable political moments When his father left and his mom hit hard times trying to raise two children while going to school, he said, “this country helped make sure we didn't go hungry.” And when Michelle Obama's working-class parents wanted to send her to college, he said, “this country helped us afford it until we could pay it back.” “What drives me as a grandson, a son, a father, as an American,” he said, “is to make sure that every striving, hardworking, optimistic kid in America has the same incredible chance that his country gave me.” In what sounded at times like a preview of a State of the Union address, Obama spelled out his economic priorities and outlined his approach as he enters negotiations with congressional Republicans over budget and fiscal matters.
October 18, 2013 |
It's been a constant quandary for the Obama White House: Should the president reach out to his Republican opponents or isolate them? Should he compromise to move his agenda or try to split the GOP ranks? Carrot or stick? That debate appeared settled on Thursday when President Obama spoke in the White House State Dining Room to deliver his verdict on the just- ended government shutdown: more stick. "To all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change," Obama said as he praised "responsible Republicans" for brokering the deal but denounced "the pressure from the extremes.
October 15, 2013 |
More than half of Americans who identify themselves as supporters of the tea-party movement say the government has no need to ever raise the current limit on the national debt, putting themselves at sharp odds with the majority of Americans, who say that a debt increase is “absolutely essential.” That gap, found by a new Pew Research Center survey , underscores that the deadlock in Congress reflects a deep division in the country. Asked if a debt ceiling increase was “absolutely essential to avoid an economic crisis,” 51% of Americans said yes, with an additional 11% saying the debt limit would have to be raised eventually but “not for several weeks.” FULL COVERAGE: The U.S. government shutdown Nearly one in four Americans, however, said that the limit “does not have to be raised at all.” That group included 37% of self-identified Republicans.
October 8, 2013 |
For all the acrimony in Washington over Obamacare, there's an intriguing consensus around one issue: the ratchet effect. Neither side uses the term, but both the right and left treat it as an article of faith. The term was coined by the libertarian economist Robert Higgs. In his book "Crisis and Leviathan," Higgs described how the state takes on massive new powers during a crisis, usually wars. When the crisis subsides, the state relinquishes some of those powers, but it never gives them all back.
September 30, 2013 |
Much of the federal government will shut down as of midnight. What will be closing, why and what impact will it have? Question: Why a shutdown? Answer: Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agencies. The new budget year begins on Oct. 1, and Congress has failed to pass a single one of the appropriations. An effort to pass a stop-gap bill to provide temporary money has stalled in Congress: Republicans have insisted they will not approve the stop-gap measure unless Democrats agree to block money for President Obama's healthcare law, and Democrats have refused to do that.
July 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A reporter recently asked the National Security Agency's chief a blunt question: Why can't he come up with a better example of a terrorism plot foiled through the bulk collection of U.S. phone records? In the weeks since Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been collecting and storing the calling histories of nearly every American, NSA Director Keith Alexander and other U.S. officials have cited only one case as having been discovered exclusively by searching those records: some San Diego men who sent $8,500 to Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.