- GOP offers 10-year, $2.2 trillion plan to Obama
- Fiscal cliff talks turn into a game of chicken
- From the fiscal frying pan into the debt ceiling fire
- Tax the rich more? Most Americans say yes
- Heartland states on high alert over fiscal cliff
- 4 high-yield stocks that can survive the crisis
- Thoma: The case for breaking up the big banks
Who do you think is most to blame for the fiscal impasse?
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With their 'maker/taker' rhetoric, Republicans have unwittingly provided a strong argument against cutting public aid programs.
By Mark Thoma
Republicans have made it very clear that if they take power in November, they intend to cut government social insurance programs. In their view, these programs sap the incentive to work and create a nation of moochers who live off of the taxes paid by productive members of society. Mitt Romney's comment about the 47 percent who have supposedly become "dependent on government" reflects this line of thought. However, Republicans have unwittingly provided a strong argument against cutting social insurance with their "maker/taker" rhetoric.
One argument for social insurance is based upon the benefit of sharing the risks we all face in a capitalist society. Capitalism is better than any other economic system at promoting economic growth and providing us with the goods and services that we need – it certainly dominates socialism. But capitalism is also subject to turbulent fluctuations.
It just might be the definitive battleground state, with an economic recovery that both vindicates Obama’s record and justifies Romney’s stimulus claims.
By Josh Boak and Eric Pianin
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a three-day bus trip planned through Ohio this week, and it comes none too soon: Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes in the nation's industrial heartland, looms as the quintessential battleground state, and right now President Obama holds a seven percentage point lead.
Obama has swung through Ohio more than any other state, except for Virginia, and experts say that if the election were held today, the president would likely win there and in other blue collar states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan. With the auto industry humming again in Ohio after the administration bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, Obama has repeatedly made the case to Ohioans that he pulled their economic chestnuts out of the fire while Romney attacked the plan. The former Massachusetts governor has been haunted on the trail for penning a November, 2008 New York Times editorial that called for letting the companies go through a "managed" bankruptcy and suggested that a "bailout check" would cause the sector's demise.
If not, it's certainly ailing with the onset of huge student debt and the stagnation of investments that once seemed to grow magically.
The concept of the American dream—that this country is the land of opportunity, and that anyone can achieve success through hard work—has given hope to people born without privilege, and it's one of the main reasons people come to the United States from throughout the world.
But in recent years, the basic premise of the American dream has been questioned. The Great Recession had a much larger impact on the working class than it did on the upper and middle classes. Most of the people who lost jobs had a high school education or less. A recent report by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce found that employment among people who didn't attend college has been flat since the recovery began, meaning people who lost their jobs can't find new ones.
One economist says it's pretty simple: Richer folks will likely benefit more from Romney's policies, while lower-income Americans will benefit more from Obama's.
When it comes to deciding which candidate is better for your financial life, the answer isn't entirely obvious. In fact, voters hold widely varying views on how the two candidates will likely influence the economy, often depending on their own income levels and financial situations.
Here's where Americans stand:
Voters believe presidents have a big impact on their money—to a degree.
"The economy is really on people's minds at this point, even more so than in past years just because it has been such a tough last couple years for Americans' finances," says Claes Bell, senior banking analyst at Bankrate.com, although he adds that "pocketbook issues" often play a major role in elections.
Can the GOP candidate recover from the release of a video in which he tells wealthy donors that Americans who pay no income tax are victims living off the government?
By Josh Boak and Eric Pianin
At a time when Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney needs to be closing the narrow gap in the polls with President Barack Obama, his gaffes over the past two weeks have only compounded the problem and risk putting the presidency out of reach. It will take a dramatic and swift turnaround -- one his campaign promises will begin Monday -- to shift the momentum in the Republican's favor.
A weekend report in Politico about discord among Romney's top campaign aides, and the subsequent surfacing of a video of Romney telling wealthy donors last May that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax are victims living off government support, add up to a devastating picture of the would-be president less than 50 days before the election. Romney had planned to revitalize his campaign and shift the focus back to the economy this week after the embarrassing debacle stemming from his ham-handed attacks over how the administration has managed unrest in the Middle East.
The Dallas Fed president would rather the central bank had stood pat after expanding its balance sheet to $2.8 trillion.
The Federal Reserve has done its part to jumpstart the U.S. economy but a lack of action by Congress has prevented a recovery, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told CNBC.
Speaking just a few days after the central bank took the unprecedented step of declaring an open-ended quantitative easing initiative, Fisher said he objected to the program but understands why the Open Market Committee acted as it did.
Fisher is a nonvoting FOMC member who has been critical of previous QE programs.
Comments caught on video reveal that the GOP candidate thinks half of Americans are losers. This is an utter disaster for his campaign.
You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released Monday by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president.
On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are victims." He laments: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
At least 37 federal programs will lose $500 million or more. If enacted all at once, 9 years of reductions would lower the current debt by just 7.5%.
There's a paradox about government spending. A lot of taxpayers think there's too much of it, but when it comes to cutting specific programs, they want to leave everything the way it is. It turns out that we like what our government buys more than we realize.
The big spending cuts due to kick in at the start of 2013 present the same conundrum. Under the Budget Control Act signed into law in summer 2011, Congress is supposed to start cutting about $110 billion per year in spending, with half coming from defense and half coming from other programs.
It sounds reasonable. The cuts represent less than 3 percent of all government spending, and we have to start somewhere if we're going to begin paying down a national debt that now tops $16 trillion.
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Follow Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they battle for the White House. Explore how monetary and fiscal policies affect your finances. Get insightful analysis of the American political economy and the latest news on the 2012 election.
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