We're not getting any room to breathe between budget battles.
After narrowly avoiding a government shutdown, which would have been precipitated by a stalemate over spending for the current fiscal year, new standoffs surrounding the nation's long-term debt are already on the horizon.
Cuomo was really one of earliest to start looking at mortgage securities. He subpoenaed all of the banks and rating agencies back in the summer of 2007, before people really realized we were having crisis. There was all this information about how they were packing loans into mortgage bonds, but that's something he never brought a case in. He had all that information showing just how much banks knew about how crummy those loans were.
— Louise Story, New York Times Wall Street and Financial reporter, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
In a primary bid, Santorum probably has as much working against him as for him amongst Republicans—it depends on how far to the right you like your presidential candidates.
To those people paying the bill, those people under 55, we say, 'You don't get Medicare. You get something less generous, but we don't have any choice.' I think it's deeply unfair to make that big divide and say, 'I've got this great plan, it's really great, it won't harm you, it will save vast amounts of money—but don't worry: so long as you're 55, you won't have to be any part of it.'
— David Leonhardt, writer of the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, discussing Paul Ryan's budget on The Brian Lehrer Show.
— Dr. Gregory Kroger, a professor of political science at the University of Miami.
In his 2012 budget proposal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) lays out a plan to lower the top individual and corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent. This much cutting should mean big revenue losses for the federal government, which already gave up a chunk of its income when officials extended the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets last December. However, Ryan asserts that he can make his cuts revenue neutral by nixing tax expenditures—loopholes, breaks and preferences in the the tax code—simultaneously.
There's just one problem: Ryan has yet to say what those expenditures are.
Do we begin the process of getting government in balance? Only if there's shared sacrifices. The things we didn't like in the 2011 reconciliation was nothing was done in the defense budget. Only a small portion was cut, and yet we continue the process of giving tax cuts to those wealthiest Americans. We're going to change that when we get to the bigger debate.
It feels a little like watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve—only, everyone's dreading midnight. The government shutdown is mere hours away. Those hardest hit will be federal employees, who won't see their paychecks for a while. For the rest of us, here are ten things that will experience turbulence if and when the government shuts down.
At 8:45 pm Wednesday night, President Obama will sit down with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try and hammer out a last-minute budget compromise before the government shuts down on Friday.
A shutdown would mean furloughing thousands of government employees, delaying Social Security payments to seniors, and closing national parks, among other things. Freezing federal business is also more expensive than business as usual. With all these negative consequences looming beyond this Friday's budget deadline, nobody wants a government shutdown...or do they?
You need to take on entitlements, but you also need to deal with the revenue side of picture. The fact that [Rep. Paul Ryan] left the Bush tax cuts intact certainly skews the program such that people who come out better are people who are richer, and people being asked to shoulder the burden are those on the lower end of the income scale.
— John Heileman, national affairs editor for New York magazine, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
Last week, we looked at the bureaucratic intricacies faced by same sex couples every April. Tina Salandra, a CPA with experience filing tax returns for LGBT families, was on the Brian Lehrer Show answering callers' questions. We extended that offer to our It's a Free Country readers as well, allowing them to drop their questions about same sex filing in the comments section of the article. Salandra was kind enough to give some answers again this week.
We're spending almost $800 billion every single year on the Pentagon, on our security. That's more money than every other country on the planet combined spends. That's not a sustainable thing, neither are the now three combat actions around the world. If we're going to be serious about long term sustainability, we're going to have to do, frankly, what [Defense] Secretary Gates proposed, which is $130 billion in cuts to the defense apparatus.
For me, the issue is less whether the top one percent are doing well, but why we can't help the broad middle do better. I think we can. It starts with an improved education system, one with much more support for training for individuals between jobs, and it starts with a system that's less biased against saving and investment that could lead to more capital and higher productivity.
— Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School, offering a different take on the question of wealth inquality on The Brian Lehrer Show
For city-dwellers, hearing the term "black flight" probably rings gentrification alarms. The borough of Brooklyn, especially, has a reputation for younger white populations pushing African American New Yorkers out of historically black neighborhoods. Indeed, census data maps lend some credence to this belief; booming neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Park Slope, and even the edges of Bed-Stuy show signs of whitewash.
Correlation, however, does not equal causation.
—Rima Cohen, counselor for health policy to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, speaking on The Brian Lehrer Show.
Following the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libya by the UN Security Council, President Barack Obama gave a speech Friday outlining what the United States will and will not do to counter Moammar Gadhafi's brutal regime, and the factors influencing his administration's decision.
—Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) talking about his "no" vote on the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for three more weeks on the Brian Lehrer Show.