The Dow set a new high on Tuesday, but the larger economy is a different story. What if today's sluggish economic growth turns out to be the new normal? That's the unsettling question asked by some of our most creative economic thinkers.
There's a secret lurking behind all that weeping and wailing over those across-the-board cuts in federal spending now going into effect -- and beginning to filter through the economy:
The screeching you hear in Washington is the sound of politicians slamming their mouths into reverse as they back away from their previous positions on the misnamed "budget sequester." For weeks now, we have been told that an $85 billion reduction in the rate of increase in federal spending -- a 2.4 percent cut -- will have devastating consequences for our nation.
Here we go again. And again. And again. ... For in Washington, every day is Groundhog Day. And now, once again, the country is speeding toward the dreaded ... Fiscal Cliff! Not to mention Catastrophe, Chaos and Collapse. Or maybe Stalemate, Train Wreck, Dysfunction or whatever your favorite clich may be. So quick, get the scare headlines back in type. The Great Tax vs. Spend Debate is on again, if it ever went away. With each side blaming the Coming and Constant Crisis on the other.
Responding to the Obama administration's operatic warnings of catastrophe for Meals on Wheels for the elderly, Head Start, meat inspections, air traffic controllers, and police, fire, and 911 operators if the government reduces the rate of increase of federal spending by 2 percent, radio host Chris Plante offered the following suggestion: "Since this two percent obviously covers all essential government spending, let's cut the other 98 percent!"
When one of Washington's most distinguished journalists -- Bob Woodward -- accuses the White House of rewriting history, even liberals should take note. And when the White House responds by threatening him, you would think the story would become a national scandal. What makes the story even more important is that it deals with an issue that has dominated the news in recent weeks: the Draconian budget cuts that will take effect on March 1 unless a last-minute deal is reached in Congress.
When Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., met with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board last week, she said reasonable people could pass a bill to apply $85 billion in sequester cuts more surgically. Too bad she's a member of Congress.
Representative Maxine Waters told a press conference that "over 170 million jobs will be lost". There are 134 million people currently working in America.
With the March 1st deadline for the sequester looming, the chorus of politicians and pundits decrying its passage in apocalyptic terms has reached a fevered pitch.
Grover Cleveland says “yes.” Calvin Coolidge says “yes.” Chris Edwards says “yes.”
At the end of 1995 and stretching into January 1996, the federal government "shut down" because of an impasse between President Bill Clinton and House Republicans led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.