In Germany for the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Joe Biden sounded relieved. "It’s a delight to be back in Germany," he said. "I -- the President, since I’m the Vice President, sends me mostly to Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s a pleasure to be back in Germany. And it’s a pleasure to see you again."
In the short welcoming remarks, Biden briefly brought up Iraq--and America's "so-called fiscal crisis."
"We have a great deal to talk about," said Biden. "I have been spending a good deal of time meeting with (inaudible) Iraq. I know we have a keen mutual interest. But also I’m anxious to tell you how we’re going to -- why I think we’re in the very good shape in terms of our so-called fiscal crisis, as it’s always characterized. I think it’s less of a crisis than people think."
Biden reiterated his relief to be in Germany with retelling an anecdote as he concluded his remarks. "One of my grown sons and his spouse are with me on this trip. And as we were getting off the plane, he looked at me and he said, Dad, it’s great to be back in Berlin. He said, you remember the first time you took me here? And I hadn’t remembered. He said, I was 15 years old, and you took me through Checkpoint Charlie. And (inaudible) since then, so this magnificent sight and this reunited country with such power and influence is -- it’s a delight to be here again, and particularly to be with you, Chancellor," said the vice president.
"President Obama's 'Plan' Adds $8.6 Trillion to the Debt," the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee contends. Here's a chart put together by the Republicans on the committee to explain how Obama's plan adds to the debt:
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell blasted President Barack Obama from the Senate floor this morning for not offering any specifics on spending cuts.
"With the Fiscal Cliff fast-approaching, I feel the need to point out something this morning that’s perfectly obvious to most Americans, but which Democrats in Washington still don’t seem to grasp. I’m referring to the fact that any solution to our spending and debt problem has to involve cuts to out-of-control Washington spending," said McConnell.
The robocalls have stopped. Television ads have gone from attacks on candidates to the usual pitches for medications and exercises that will enable you to live forever. Political post-mortems are under way. And the 2016 wannabees are lining up financing and staffs for their runs at the Democratic and Republican nominations.
President Barack Obama used his new political politician coming off his reelection win to assert his political position ahead of fiscal negotiations with Congress.
"On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach," Obama said in a statement delivered this afternoon in the White House. "And that includes Democrats, independents, and a lot of Republicans across the country, as well as independent economists and budget experts."
One thing is certain in these waning hours of the presidential and congressional election campaigns: it is Barack Obama and the current members of Congress who will have to make the initial decision on what to do about what we have come to call the fiscal cliff.
By the end of this year, the federal debt is expected to be $16.2 trillion, which is $6.2 trillion more than when President Obama first came into office four years ago. Moreover, new analysis by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee finds that, over the next 4 years, if Barack Obama remains president and his budget is enacted, $4.4 trillion will be added to the federal debt.
Some perspective on the state of the current presidential campaign: This past week, when the national political debate wasn’t focused on the origins of U.S. Olympic uniforms, it was dominated by questions about the date of Mitt Romney’s retirement. Barack Obama’s campaign says it was a decade ago; Romney says it was 13 years ago.
A report issued last week by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) finds that the average tax burden on income in the United States has been declining in recent years, in sharp contrast to the trend in the other OECD countries.