“Worst Economic Recovery America Has Ever Had”
Solyndra 2.0? Washington Doubles Down in Vegas
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “The Amonix solar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas, heavily financed under an Obama administration energy initiative, has closed its 214,000-square-foot facility 14 months after it opened…Amonix received $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build the plant in North Las Vegas.” According to the Amonix website, The Westley Group, headed by founder and Obama money-bundler Steve Westly, was a major investor in the company; raising serious questions about the political nature of the DOE grant. Westly raised $500,000 for then candidate Obama in 2008.
House to Obama: Tell Us Your Plan for Sequestration
Politico reports, “The House voted Wednesday to force the Obama administration to detail exactly how it would carry out $1.2 trillion in mandated budget cuts looming next year, the latest shot in a battle over military and domestic spending…” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) commented, “‘All this is is saying, Mr. President, show us your hand, show us your plan. Let the American people know what the true impact is going to be on our national defense, on our economy, on a number of vital services, because you have the discretion…’ The cuts, called ‘sequestration’ in Washington-speak, are set to hit defense and domestic spending next year because a so-called bipartisan supercommittee could not find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit-cutting measures last November.”
Obama Talking Taxes and Debt Reduction in Florida
The Miami Herald reports, “President Barack Obama returns to the Sunshine state Thursday for the start of a two-day campaign tour to talk tax cuts and debt reduction. He will stop in Jacksonville and West Palm Beach on Thursday and then head to Fort Myers and Orlando on Friday, according to his campaign. On taxes, Obama will repeat his call for extending ‘middle-class’ tax breaks for families making less than $250,000, or $200,000 for individuals — basically everyone but the top 2 percent of Americans. Republican Mitt Romney supports extending the cuts for all Americans…He’s also going to talk about reducing the nation’s $16 trillion debt by making the case that taxing those earning more than $250,000 a year will push the debt down over the next decade.”
Poor Spending Decisions by Stockton Leaders Hurts Citizens
The New York Times reports,”While Stockton’s bankruptcy troubles can be traced in part to the collapse of the housing market and the subsequent erosion of the city’s tax base, for years city leaders also mismanaged and overspent funds, pushing the city into financial peril, analysts and current city officials say. Stockton cannot afford the $417 million it owes for retiree health benefits, city officials say, and this year a bank repossessed city-owned parking garages and a $40 million building the city had bought with plans for an upgraded City Hall. Since 2009, the city has cut 25 percent of its police officers, 30 percent of its Fire Department and over 40 percent of all other city employees.”
Congress Kicking the Can Down the Road Again?
The Hill reports, “For likely the last time before the election, the GOP on Wednesday began moving a major spending bill with detailed cuts to popular programs. The 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill passed out of an Appropriations subcommittee after a vitriolic debate. The 112th Congress has been dominated by bruising fiscal fights, but as the election nears, spending showdowns are for the most part being left behind…The current plan is a three-month CR that allows for negotiations in a lame-duck session, although there is some talk among rank and file of a longer one that could punt decisions into the next Congress and administration.”
Supercommittee’s Failure Results in Cuts to Defense and Domestic Programs
Politico reports, “For all the hysteria in Washington over sequestration, you’d be forgiven for believing it only affects defense. The well-financed, sophisticated lobbying arm of the military industry has mobilized to warn against the looming budget ax. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has become the loudest and most effective opponent of the cuts…But nobody seems to be talking about the other $500 billion in reductions…The limited lobbying and political attention on the domestic end of the sequester reveals the brutal reality of how Washington works when it comes to budgets: Industries with the biggest companies and the most powerful lobbyists still drive the conversation…The truth is that the $1.2 trillion budget pain caused by the sequester will hit domestic and defense spending equally — and the cuts were never supposed to happen. The sequester was meant to be a punishing mechanism designed to force last year’s supercommittee to reach a deficit-reduction deal.”
Postal Service Might Default on Payments to Retirees
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Postal Service repeated on Wednesday that without congressional action, it will default—a first in its long history, a spokesman said—on a legally required annual $5.5 billion payment, due Aug. 1, into a health-benefits fund for future retirees. Action in Congress isn’t likely, as the House prepares to leave for its August recess…Most everyone agrees the Postal Service needs an overhaul. It had a loss of $3.2 billion in the second quarter of this fiscal year; it is to report third-quarter results on Aug. 9. The agency blames factors including declining mail volumes and the unusual 2006 mandate by Congress that it annually set aside billions for future retirees.”