July 2, 2011 |
In a year of political gridlock over deep budget deficits, Minnesota on Friday became the first state to shut down its government after Republicans and Democrats remained at odds over whether to raise taxes for the rich or cut government spending. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature failed to resolve the state's $5-billion deficit by Friday's beginning of the fiscal year. Without a budget in place, state operations largely ceased, halting paychecks for about 20,000 state employees and shuttering state parks just before the busy holiday weekend.
June 30, 2011 |
Spending on healthcare in the United States continued to far outpace other industrialized countries in 2009, according to a new tally by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Healthcare spending in the U.S. accounted for 17.4% of the nation's total economic output, nearly twice the average of 34 OECD countries, the OECD found. The next biggest health spender - the Netherlands - spent just 12% of its gross domestic product on medical care. Spending per capita on healthcare, which hit $7,960 in 2009, also far exceeded that of even some of the richest countries in Western Europe.
June 1, 2011 |
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and President Obama got into a pointed exchange over GOP plans to overhaul the Medicare system, with Ryan suggesting during a private meeting at the White House that the president had engaged in "demagoguery. " Obama met with members of the House Republican caucus in the East Room on Wednesday in an attempt to bridge differences over spending and the debt limit. Democrats have gained traction in the debate with Republicans by painting Ryan's Medicare proposal as a "voucher" program that would harm senior citizens.
May 28, 2011 |
Although economists see little danger of a recurrence of the hyperinflation that undermined the region in the past, Latin America's rapidly rising prices could undercut its remarkable economic growth and even hurt U.S. hopes for an export-led recovery. At food stalls in Caracas, Venezuela, gas pumps in Santiago, Chile, and newly minted subdivisions in Sao Paulo, Brazil, prices are rising. In one sense, it's a sign of good times. Global demand is strong for the region's oil, coffee, soybeans, copper and other commodities.
May 27, 2011 |
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on Friday said he's thinking more seriously about a presidential run, making him the latest in a growing roster of Republicans suddenly giving the 2012 campaign a look. Texas' longest-serving governor, Perry took office in 2000 when President-elect George W. Bush resigned, and won a third full term last November. Rush Limbaugh is among the conservative leaders who've floated his name in recent weeks. At a press conference in Austin, he was asked if he'd think about running when the Texas Legislature adjourns on Monday.
May 6, 2011 |
Even as politicians try to absorb the impact from the latest jobs figures, the number of Republicans who said the economy and business are their top issues has grown, according to a Gallup poll released on Friday. According to Gallup, 36% of Republicans in April said the economy and business were their top issues, up from 32% in March. That is roughly the same as those who say government spending and power are their top issues, 37%, and far higher than those who make social issues and moral values the most important factor, 15%. The findings come as the latest jobs numbers were released on Friday giving something for all sides.
May 5, 2011 |
As President Obama enjoys a quick boost in his poll ratings following the death of Osama bin Laden, he and his aides are wrestling with how best to employ that newly acquired political heft and avoid the contrasting pitfalls of two predecessors, both named Bush. In 2004, George W. Bush boasted after his reelection that he had new political capital and set about trying to revamp Social Security, an initiative that fell flat and cost his party dearly in the next election. His father, George H.W. Bush, soared to 90% approval in polls after the victory in the Persian Gulf War, then did little with his advantage and watched it fade until he lost his reelection bid. Obama's aides, mindful of both examples, want to avoid overreaching or seeming to exploit Bin Laden's death for political purposes.
April 25, 2011 |
Sensing a political opportunity, it appears Democratic operatives are going to keep pounding the Medicare drum as long as the beat keeps resonating. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House campaign arm of the party, is hitting the districts of 25 Republican House members with robotic calls warning about the perils of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, approved by the House earlier this month. The committee has also released a video that highlights campaign pledges made by some new conservative members of the House such as Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan and Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada to leave Medicare alone.
April 8, 2011 |
Congressional negotiators struck a last-minute deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, congressional leaders and the White House said late Friday, averting a threatened shutdown. The House and Senate are expected to approve a seven-day stopgap measure to keep the government running until the final details of the agreement can be worked out. Talks continued deep into the evening until, finally, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met with his caucus to outline the details of the proposed compromise, one in which Republicans succeeded in securing nearly $38 billion in cuts from current spending levels.
April 2, 2011 |
President Obama called the surge in hiring last month "a good sign," but like Republicans pointed to the still-fragile economy to make the case for his policy agenda and strengthen his political positioning in the budget showdown underway in Washington. "We have to keep up the momentum, and transitioning to a clean-energy economy will help us do that," Obama said Saturday in his weekly address in which he promoted his plan to increase domestic oil exploration and encourage development of renewable fuels.