Spending Daily January 2, 2013

Spending Daily January 2, 2013

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Spending Daily | January 2, 2013

New Campaign: Talk is Cheap, Overspending is Not
Bankrupting America, a project of Public Notice, announced today a new campaign, “Talk is Cheap, Overspending is Not,” holding Washington lawmakers accountable for promises to cut wasteful spending and get America’s debt and deficits under control.  The campaign features advertising at Capitol South and Union Station metro stops in Washington, D.C., as well as online advertising.  Bankrupting America uses quotes from the current and former presidents and key members of Congress to remind them in their own words of the importance of reducing the deficit and reining in government spending. Click here to view a sample of the ads.

Fiscal Cliff Deal “will do little to address the nation’s long-term debt problem”
The Washington Post editorializes, “The compromise bill passed by Congress to avert the worst effects of the ‘fiscal cliff’ is a small, imperfect package that will do too little to address the nation’s long-term debt problem. But for all its weaknesses, the bill’s enactment is far better than a failure by this Congress to act before it adjourns Thursday. Most important, the deal will delay the ill-targeted and unwise spending cuts known as sequestration and cancel sharp tax increases for most Americans. … Yet despite these desirable structural changes, the deal will not reduce future deficits much, even though Congress engineered the fiscal cliff to force ambitious budget reform.”

“Analysis: 77% of Households to See Tax Increase”
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The fiscal cliff bill’s impact would be far-reaching for American taxpayers, and particularly painful for very high-income households, according to a new analysis. About 77% of American households would see a tax increase compared to their 2012 tax levels, according to the analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. The biggest impact for most households comes from the expiration of a two-percentage-point payroll-tax break that existed for 2011 and 2012. It basically hits all working people.”

“112th Congress legacy: Unfinished business”
Jonathan Allen writes in Politico, “The 112th Congress came in with a bang, but it is crawling out with the soft whimper of failure. For two years, President Barack Obama and Congress ignored virtually every other pressing matter to engage in an ideological war over the size of government and who should foot the bill for it. They racked up more processes than policies: a blue-ribbon White House commission, Vice President Joe Biden’s working group, bilateral talks between Obama and Speaker John Boehner, a ‘supercommittee,’ a ‘Gang of Six’ that became a ‘Gang of Eight’ and, finally, Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) coming to a deal that leaves open as many politically thorny issues as it solves. They didn’t even hit their deadline. … The deal also sets up yet another budgetary Armageddon in March, when Congress and the president will have to deal with raising the debt ceiling, the hanging sword of sequestration cuts and the expiration of federal spending authority.”

California to Give Away Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Free Cell Phones
The Washington Guardian reports, “California is becoming the latest state to participate in a federal program that gives away hundreds of millions of dollars of free cell phones with prepaid service to indigent and homeless residents. After four years of navigating bureaucratic red tape, California recently hired a vendor to take on the job of offering the pre-paid cell phones to an estimated 4.6 million eligible residents. At an average cost of $100 per phone, the tab in the Golden State alone could eventually reach $460 million annually.”

AP: Economists Disappointed Deal Fails To Reduce The Deficit
The Associated Press reports, “A last-minute deal will keep the U.S. from driving off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ but higher taxes and continued political fighting in Washington threaten to shake the fragile economy well into 2013. … Many economists were disappointed that Congress and the White House couldn’t reach agreement on a broader deal to significantly reduce the deficit over the next 10 years. That could have boosted business and consumer confidence and accelerated growth. ‘Nothing really has been fixed,’ said Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank. … Lawmakers postponed tough decisions on government spending, giving themselves a reprieve from cuts that were scheduled to start taking effect automatically Jan. 1.”

Gallup: Americans Believe 2013 Will Be A “Year Of Economic Difficulty” By 2-1 Margin
According to Gallup, Americans “Americans believe by almost a 2-1 margin that 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty rather than a year of prosperity. … The 65% of Americans who predict 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty is one of the more negative responses to this question since Gallup first asked it in 1965. There has been, however, a great deal of fluctuation over that time period, from a high of 65% who said 1965 would be a year of prosperity, to a low of 7% who predicted 1974 would be a year of prosperity.”

Samuelson: Fiscal Cliff “a massive failure of presidential leadership”
Robert J. Samuelson editorializes in The Washington Post, “The ‘fiscal cliff’ is a massive failure of presidential leadership. The tedious and technical negotiations are but a subplot in a larger drama. Government can no longer fulfill all the promises it has made to various constituencies. Some promises will be reduced or disavowed. Which ones? Why? Only the president can pose these questions in a way that starts a national conversation over the choices to be made, but doing so requires the president to tell people things they don’t want to hear. That’s his job: to help Americans face unavoidable, if unpleasant, realities. Barack Obama has refused to play this role.”

“Nothing Is Certain Except More Debt and Taxes”
David Malpass editorializes in The Wall Street Journal, “Whatever ultimately emerges from the fiscal-cliff negotiations over the past 48 hours, the country will survive. But the damage can’t be undone. Taxes are going up for all working Americans. And so is the size of government. Businesses have been waiting to see whether a second Obama administration will encourage the economy. During the fiscal-cliff negotiations, however, the president made clear that his goal isn’t to get business going again but instead to expand government and redistribute income. He offered no real spending cuts and instead used the year-end deadline to divide America into classes—to the point of campaigning on New Year’s Eve against higher earners.”

“Obama insisted on sequester buy down in final fiscal cliff deal”
CNN reports, “Fiscal cliff negotiations between the White House and Congressional leaders involved late-night discussions in the Oval Office and an ultimate hardline from President Barack Obama, according to a source familiar with the process. … The source said it was the president who insisted the final deal include a pay down on the sequester, and a tax increase that hit individuals making at least $400,000 a year and $450,000 for households. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell started negotiations at $750,000, and then moved to $550,000 before giving in and agreeing to $450,000 for households.”

“House pulls plug on Sandy aid bill”
Politico reports, “House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The decision is a stunning reversal since just hours before New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate Wednesday as outlined under a strategy promoted by no less than Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). … Absent a change of heart, the upshot now is that the Senate bill will die with this Congress on Thursday at noon.”

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