All is quiet on the Washington front. But don’t let the lull in partisan warfare fool you. In two weeks Congress returns from its summer recess, after hearing from constituents who hold the institution in lower esteem than used car salesmen, and view eating Brussels sprouts, enduring traffic jams, and having colonoscopies less daunting prospects than continuing to watch this Congress in action. Nevertheless, few members of this despised institution are likely to lose their seats in November. Turn the rascals out, but not my rascal, seems to be the prevailing view.
Tokyo Whether by design or inadvertence, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans for reviving Japan’s economy after two decades of stagnation differ sharply from the stimulus and austerity policies pursued by the United States and the European Union to recover from the deep recession of 2008-2009. These differences augur well for Japan’s prospects.
Student loan debt runs to about $30,000 per graduate of the class of 2013, as Phil Izzo writes in the Wall Street Journal. And the total amount of student loans outstanding runs to almost a trillion dollars: more than either credit card balances or automobile loans. More than any form of consumer debt other than home mortgages.
In his weekly radio address, President Obama explained the budget he'll rollout next week, and said, "the truth is, our deficits are already shrinking."
"My budget will reduce our deficits not with aimless, reckless spending cuts that hurt students and seniors and middle-class families – but through the balanced approach that the American people prefer, and the investments that a growing economy demands," said Obama.
The Democratic budget, released yesterday by Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, passed out of committee this evening on a party line vote, 12-10. In response, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, released this blistering statement:
This week Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee is set to release its fiscal year 2014 budget, which promises to balance Uncle Sam’s books in 10 years. Ryan’s offering will elicit lamentations from the usual quarters of the mainstream media: House Republicans have lurched sharply to the right, they have abandoned the pragmatic principles of their forebears, they are now totally unfit to govern.
When it comes to deficit reduction, President Obama and the mainstream press seem to have a fascination with the figure of $4 trillion. During last year’s first presidential debate, Obama falsely claimed, “I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan,” even though he’d done nothing of the sort.