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Who do you think is most to blame for the fiscal impasse?

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  1.  
    39 %
    Obama
    372 votes
  2.  
    43 %
    Congress
    396 votes
  3.  
    3 %
    Voters
    30 votes
  4.  
    15 %
    All of them!
    146 votes

Total Responses: 944
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With time running out on negotiations over ways to avert the fiscal cliff, Democrats and Republicans are engaging in a game of political chicken.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 30, 2012 5:40PM
By Eric PianinThe Fiscal Times logo

The critical negotiations over a way to avoid the fiscal cliff are fast turning into a game of chicken.

Shedding his optimistic disposition, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, summoned reporters Thursday afternoon to declare it was time that President Obama and the Democrats revealed how they intended to cut spending and slow the rate of growth of Medicare and other costly entitlements as part of a Grand Bargain of deficit reduction. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m disappointed in where we are and what has happened in the last couple of weeks,” Boehner said. 

A new study warns that the government will have far less time than before to forestall a default on U.S. debt – and the process could be very costly.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 29, 2012 2:24PM
By Eric PianinThe Fiscal Times logo

ntil Federal ReserveBoard Chairman Ben Bernanke raised concern about it in a speech last week to the Economic Club of New York,  the fact that the Treasury will once again hit the debt ceiling in a few months has received scant attention from Congress, the White House and the financial markets.

A little more than a year ago, Washington was caught up in a suspenseful political drama as President Obama and House and Senate Republican leaders fought over the terms of raising the national debt limit to avoid the Treasury’s first default on borrowing in U.S. history. Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted that any increase in borrowing authority be matched dollar for dollar with cuts in spending.  But today, with all eyes on the looming fiscal cliff, the soon-to-be-expiring  $16.4 trillion debt ceiling has become a relative after thought compared to the fears of the effects of year end spending cuts and tax increases. 

State and local officials in the U.S. heartland are steeling themselves for the possibility of a major loss of tax revenue, federal aid and grants next year.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 28, 2012 10:39AM
By Eric PianinThe Fiscal Times logo

In a recent call with reporters, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa signaled he was willing to let the country topple over the fiscal cliff unless President Obama and Congress strike a deal to force wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes and that protects Medicare and Medicaid from deep cuts.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, because things will change after Jan. 1, the positions will change,” Harkin explained. “Quite frankly, if we don’t get a good deal, we’ll just take it up in January or February." 

Economists are increasingly worried about the possible psychological scars caused by the fiscal cliff, not just the cash flow issues that Democrats and Republicans must reconcile before the start of next year.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 28, 2012 10:26AM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

Paging Dr. Freud! The fiscal cliff has the country in need of some serious therapy—and maybe a Xanax or two.

Many economists are warning about the possible psychological scars left by the cliff, not the relatively straightforward cash flow issues that Democrats and Republicans must reconcile before the start of next year. 

But many people who are eligible for the benefit don't apply.

By Jonathan Berr Nov 21, 2012 3:02PM
Though Newark, New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker's pledge to live on Food Stamps for a week has generated plenty of headlines, the bigger story with the entitlement program is that many people who are eligible to receive the benefits don't bother applying.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers what known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), shows that roughly 1 in 4 people eligible to receive the benefits don't get them. The reasons why vary. According to the Food Action and Research Center, many people may not know that their eligible while others don't bother to participate because applying for benefits is a gigantic hassle. 

Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 20, 2012 3:38PM
By Mark ThomaThe Fiscal Times logo

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley say in a recent speech that solving the too big to fail problem may require breaking up big banks. He is in favor of trying the resolution authority granted in the Dodd-Frank legislation first, but this is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.

If this solution doesn’t work, then he would be in favor of breaking large banks into smaller pieces. That wouldn’t fully solve the financial meltdown problem – we still had banking collapses in times when banks were much smaller – but it would reduce the economic and political power of individual institutions and lower the chance that the problems of a single firm will cause widespread harm to the economy. 

The five potential steps outlined below to blunt the impact of the fiscal cliff are a mixed proposition for Obama.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 20, 2012 11:22AM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

Even if the “do nothing Congress” lives up to its reputation and doesn’t come up with a deal, President Obama could still soften the economic blow of the fiscal cliff.

That might seem surprising for all the dire warnings being issued by lawmakers about the pending devastation from the combined $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts that are scheduled to hit at the start of 2013. 

Following his first news conference since the election, President Obama met with a dozen CEOs on Wednesday afternoon to signal a new start with a group that has viewed his administration as hostile to the business community.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 16, 2012 4:43PM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

Following his first news conference in eight months, President Obama met with a dozen CEOs on Wednesday afternoon to signal a new start with a group that has often viewed his administration as hostile to the business community. Attendees included the heads of Pepsi, Xerox, Walmart, Honeywell and American Express, but in a rebuff to Wall Street no major banks were invited.

The outreach effort comes as the Obama administration prepares for negotiations with Congressional Republicans aimed at avoiding the more than $600 billion worth of spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in 2013 – and the business leaders gathered at the White House reportedly made clear to the president that steering clear of that fiscal cliff would be crucial if he wants to win the support of the business community. 

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