Crisis Averted, Obama Says Americans ‘Completely Fed Up’ With Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama scolded congressional Republicans on Thursday, hours after a fiscal crisis was narrowly averted and called on his opponents to help repair the economic damage caused by a 16-day U.S. government shutdown and a close brush with a debt default.

Obama stressed that he is willing to work with lawmakers wherever they can agree, but the tone he struck amounted to a rebuke of Republicans, whom Americans largely blame for pushing the United States to the brink of an economic calamity.

“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” said Obama in a White House speech attended by many of the aides who worked day and night through the various stages of the latest fiscal stalemate.

“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” said Obama in a White House speech attended by many of the aides who worked day and night through the various stages of the latest fiscal stalemate.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-obama-20130915,0,5894864.story#ixzz2i0gCYjlb
Follow us: @mcall on Twitter | mcall.lv on Facebook

Pentagon Ordered To Expand Syria Target List

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that President Bashar Assad’s government has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

Mr. Obama, officials said, is determined to put more emphasis on the “degrade” part of what the administration has said is the goal of a military strike against Syria — to “deter and degrade” Mr. Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.  That means expanding beyond the 50 or so major sites that were part of the target list developed with French forces before Mr. Obama delayed action Saturday to seek congressional approval.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/pentagon-ordered-to-expand-syria-target-list-702239/#ixzz2e93qQvkl

Russia May Send Lawmakers To US To Discuss Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin hopes to send a delegation of Russian lawmakers to the United States to discuss the situation in Syria with members of Congress, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.

Russian legislators Valentina Matvienko and Sergei Naryshkin proposed that to Putin, saying polls have shown little support among Americans for armed intervention in Syria to punish its regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack.

The lawmakers said maybe U.S. legislators can be persuaded to take a “balanced stance” on the issue. Putin supported the initiative, which would require formal approval by the Foreign Ministry.

Russia has sent legislators to the U.S. before to try to persuade Congress about pending legislation.  But sending a delegation to Washington to discuss Syria’s civil war could be seen as a publicity stunt, given the strong positions Moscow already has taken as a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s regime.  The U.S. has accused Russia of providing military support to Assad that has allowed Assad to cling to power during Syria’s civil war.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_RUSSIA_SYRIA?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Federal Budget Cuts Will Affect More Than Federal Programs, Officials In Scranton Say

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (...

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration will hurt everything from the local barbershop to the largest manufacturers in Northeast Pennsylvania, said members of a panel at Sen. Bob Casey’s office Friday in downtown Scranton.

With no deal between Congress and the White House in sight and just hours before sequestration kicked in at midnight, the Democratic senator and a cross-section of local civic leaders struck a dire tone.

“We don’t have a full sense of what will happen,” Mr. Casey said.  “If this goes a day or week, it will have an impact.  If it goes six months, the effect will be devastating.”

As the furloughs and cuts begin, sequestration will have an immediate impact not just on the government employees, but on contractors, and the communities where they live and spend.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/federal-budget-cuts-will-affect-more-than-federal-programs-officials-in-scranton-say-1.1452684

Families In Berks County Now Must Learn To Manage A Tax Hike

The U.S. economy survived the plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff only to find itself in hot water.

A last-minute tax hike rescue by a reluctant Congress meant there was no room in the legislative lifeboat for addressing the debt-ceiling fix, spending cuts or the deficit.

An increase in wage taxes was ballast for the end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

The biggest hit to Berks County residents and small-business owners comes in the form of the 2 percent wage-tax hike, which translates to a cost of about $1,000 for the average family.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=441562

Senate Approves “Fiscal Cliff” Deal, Crisis Eased

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.

In a rare New Year’s session at around 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT), senators voted 89-8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while making permanent low tax rates on the middle class that have been in place for a decade.

But the measure did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.

The agreement came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year’s Eve for passing laws to halt $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which strictly speaking came into force on Tuesday.

Read more:  http://www.nbr.com/news/story?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C0000%3Anewsml_BRE8A80WV#.UOMJA-TAdcz

Progress Seen In Last-Minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

English: President Barack Obama addresses a jo...

English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.

Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.

Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.

At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes.  They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=439707

U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.7 Percent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.

The Labor Department‘s report today offered a mixed picture of the economy.

Hiring remained steady during the storm and in the face of looming tax increases. But the government said employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than it initially estimated.

And the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=433757

Economy Remains Issue That Will Occupy U.S. Lawmakers, Several Observers Note

A nasty election season that ends with close results is not going to clear the muddy waters of American political discourse.

Many people likely thought that on Wednesday as the nation once again focused on serious yet divisive problems like the national debt and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The election gave President Barack Obama a second term but left control of the Senate and the House divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“The public re-upped on divided government,” said Glenn W. Richardson Jr., an associate professor of political science at Kutztown University.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=426030

A More Simplified Way Of Explaining The U.S. Economy/Debt‏

Editor’s note:  This came in my email today and I liked the comparison between the home budget versus the national budget.  I don’t know anybody who would run their household budget the way our government runs the national budget.  I think this applies across the aisle!

This rather brilliantly cuts thru all the political doublespeak we get.  It puts it into a much better perspective.

Lesson # 1:
* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $3.85

Got It ?????

OK, now Lesson # 2:

Here’s another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let’s say, you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood….and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do ……

Raise the ceilings, or pump out the crap?

Tomorrow Is Election Day In Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 is election day in Pennsylvania.  There are many important races.  We are electing a new governor and a new U.S. Senator.  Other races include U.S. congressional seats.

Get out and vote!  Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Pottstown Polling Places:

http://www.pottstown.org/about_voting.htm

Big Jon Runyan Considers Run For Congress

Former Philadelphia Eagle Big Jon Runyan is being wooed by the Burlington County NJ Republican Party to run for a seat in New Jersey’s 3rd US Congressional District.  The district includes most of Ocean County and Burlington County, NJ. 

Jon would be taking on Democratic incumbent John Adler.  Runyan is not affiliated with either major party.  The 3rd District hasn’t had a Democratic Congressman in over 100 years until Adler defeated Republican Chris Meyers last November.

If Arnold can be the govenator, we can have a former Philadelphia Eagle in the US Congress.