Economy & Budget

US must decline impossibly broad defense missions

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it” famously prefaced each of the mind-boggling tasks given to the Mission Impossible hero Jim Phelps. He, of course, always succeeded in his barely-possible work. Not to be outdone, a panel of defense experts will use a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday to assign the Pentagon a truly impossible mission set without even giving the American people a choice about accepting it.

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Who owns the economy?

Who is to blame for the state of our national economy is a political football. 

No one can argue that the recession that started prior to the Obama administration was owned by the former administration. President Bush responded with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that was projected to be a $700 billion effort to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the banking industry. It is now projected to have done its job for less than $100 billion as many of the loans have and are being repaid with interest.

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Rail and ports are key to exports; exports are key to the economy (Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray)

The economy in our home state of Washington relies heavily on exports. Success of this vital economic driver depends on products moving efficiently from farms and factories in Midwestern, Mountain and Western states over various transportation modes to our ports and to markets abroad. One job in three in Washington depends on trade. And in 2009, we exported over $51 billion worth of goods — making us fourth in the nation for exports and first in the nation for exports per capita.

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Truth in Spending Act would force Congress to live by financial forecasts (Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Charles K. Djou)

It was Ronald Reagan who famously said, “I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”

That may have been the case in 1981 when Reagan took office. But today, the deficit is so bloated —more than five times what it was at the beginning of Reagan’s presidency — that it is far too corpulent to care for itself.

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Beware the deficit peacock

The president’s nominee for Office of Management and Budget director, Jack Lew, faces a daunting task. Lew must take the reins of a budget that has been horribly battered from the effects of the Great Recession and nearly a decade of mismanagement. And that budget is about to suffer the onslaught of twin tsunamis: an aging population and our uniquely inefficient healthcare system. Yet these obstacles may not be the biggest barriers to getting a handle on the federal balance sheet. No, that dubious dishonor goes to the Peacock Caucus.

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Warren would protect consumers, not the banks

The controversy over whether Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren should lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which she conceived and persuaded Congress to create, should not obscure a broader issue: What role should those being regulated — in this case, financial institutions — play in selecting their regulator.

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Make it in America

Rosie the Riveter defiantly rolls up her blue work shirt to show off a brawny bicep. She’s a symbol of American strength.

She worked in a manufacturing job, one of millions that constructed the defense machine that won World War II for the Allies. She said, “We can do it.” And America did.

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Six week vacation (Rep. Paul Broun)

Americans across the country continue to ask the same question: How does Washington plan to address the ailing economy? During a tele-town hall I held last night, job creation and the weak economy remained the No. 1 concern for Northeast Georgians. One lady from the southern portion of my district noted that Washington’s agenda fails to reflect this realty. Americans are speaking out. Unfortunately, Washington is not listening. Instead, Congress is heading home for the next six weeks without considering legislation to prevent a $3.8 trillion tax increase that is scheduled to occur at the end of the year.

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Unemployment extension should have been paid for (Sen. Mike Johanns)

With our national debt at $13.2 trillion and climbing, the Senate last week inflated that number even further by refusing to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits. I voted against the bill because I will not contribute further to the runaway train of federal spending that has been tearing through Washington. Let me be clear: I know people are out of work, and I don't know a single senator in Washington who didn't want to see these benefits extended. But unless we get serious about reining in our spending, our short-term unemployment problem will be just a fraction of a long-term financial nightmare.

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Democrats' way forward for the economy (Rep. Steny Hoyer)

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) delivered a speech today on Democrats’ record on job creation and economic recovery, and how Republicans would take us back to the same failed Bush policies that led to the recession in the first place. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

America has faced its share of trying times — times when not just our economy, but our nation, seemed in decline. But each time, with ingenuity, hard work and our distinctly American optimism, we have built our way out, and we’ve emerged stronger.

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