- -01-12-05 Poll: Public Not Sold on Bush View of Social Security (ABC News)
"As noted, the administration also faces a challenge in simply getting the public to share its sense of urgency about Social Security. Bush declared last week, 'The crisis is now.' In this poll, however, just 25 percent say Social Security is in crisis, actually down from 34 percent in an ABC/Post poll in 1998." 01-05
- -01-19-05 U.S. House Leader: Bush's Social Security Plan a "Dead Horse" (MSNBC News)
"House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation." 1-05
- -01-25-05 A.A.R.P. Against Privatizing Social Security (Christian Science Monitor)
"John Rother, AARP's policy director, said at the breakfast that partial privatization of Social Security would risk a rerun of the nation's experience with 401(k) accounts, where a majority of people take money out prior to retirement."
"Transition costs for partial privatization have been pegged at between $1 trillion and $2 trillion over 10 years, which opponents of personal accounts say is too big a burden given the skyrocketing budget deficit." 1-05
- -02-02-05 Bush Presents State of the Union Speech (MSNBC News)
"With the final phrases still echoing in the House chamber from President Bush’s State of the Union address, the mathematics became more important than the rhetoric."
"After running for president in 2000 and again in 2004 on his call for Social Security redesign, Bush on Wednesday night added some substance to his proposal, although not enough for congressional Democrats." 2-05
- -03-01-05 Americans Unhappy With Jobs (CBS News)
"U.S. workers, pushed to produce more and uneasy about new technology and other changes, are markedly less satisfied with their jobs than a decade ago, a new survey says." 3-05
- -03-04-05 Greenspan Touts Sales Tax (CBS News)
"Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Thursday embraced the notion of overhauling the tax system in the United States and said that some form of a consumption tax — such as a national sales tax — could spur greater economic growth."
"Bush's advisers have spoken favorably of the economic benefits that could be achieved by moving from a system that taxes income to one that taxes consumption. However, Democratic critics contend such a consumption tax would hit low-income Americans the hardest." 3-05
- -04-27-05 Bush Second Term Difficulties (Bloomberg.com)
"President George W. Bush closes out the first 100 days of his second term this weekend with his ambitious agenda weighted down by political diversions and by public and partisan opposition to his signature issue."
"National polls show Bush's support on Social Security has declined since he began promoting the plan. The most recent Gallup Organization survey, conducted April 18-21, found 37 percent of adults named fuel prices or economic concerns as the most important issues facing the country, compared with 7 percent who cited Social Security. In a Zogby International poll released April 26, 53 percent disapproved of Bush's handling of the presidency and 64 percent said they disapproved of how he's dealing with Social Security." 4-05
- -06-07-05 GM to Cut 25,000 Jobs (CBS News)
"General Motors Corp. plans to eliminate 25,000 jobs in the United States in the next few years by closing additional assembly and components plants, part of a plan to revive its struggling North American operations." 6-05
- -08-15-05 Deficit Drops (CBS News)
"The federal budget-deficit picture turned brighter Monday as congressional scorekeepers released new estimates showing the level of red ink for the current fiscal year would drop to $331 billion."
"The new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which does budget analysis for lawmakers in Washington, gave the latest proof that surging revenues and a steadily growing economy are combining to bring the deficit down from a record $412 billion posted last year. CBO predicts a $314 billion deficit for the budget year starting Oct. 1." 8-05
- 01-12-05 U.S. Trade Deficit Jumps (USA Today)
"The trade deficit unexpectedly surged 7.7% to a record in November, as oil imports jumped and exports dropped despite a weaker dollar, which makes American goods cheaper overseas." 1-05
- 1-4-03 Democrats Propose Economic Stimulus (CNN - Loughlin)
" 'Democrats know the key to restarting economic growth: tax relief for middle class families, business incentives to create new jobs, and investments in human talent,' Daschle said, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office." " 'Unfortunately, recent reports suggest that the president's first proposal this new year will do none of those things. Instead, the president's idea of helping the economy seems to have centered around writing a special tax break for corporate dividends.' " 1-03
- Senate Republicans Balk at Bush Plan (CBS News)
"President Bush's quest to rein in congressional spending is losing ground to Senate old-timers in his own party who understand the power of the purse and aren't reluctant to use it." 7-05
- Alternative Proposals for Economic Stimulus (CNN - Jackson)
Five key proposals to stimulate the economy include the following:
1. "Speed up tax cuts. The idea is to move up to 2003 some of the federal income tax cuts already on the books, possibly the across-the-board rate cut now set for 2004...." "But it would benefit upper-income taxpayers most. Taxpayers making $1 million a year would get an average reduction of $19,557" while "taxpayers making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year would get only $146."
2. "Cut taxes on dividends." "Making corporate dividends tax-free to individuals would pump billions into the economy, and also make it easier for corporations to raise funds to invest and create jobs in the future, experts say." "Taxpayers making $1 million or more would get $27,097, while those making $30,000 to $40,000 would get $42."
3. "Extend unemployment insurance benefits. At the end of December, the struggling economy suffered another setback when almost 800,000 people lost the extended unemployment insurance benefits that Congress had provided as a counter-recession measure." "Renewing those benefits would be -- dollar for dollar -- an even more effective stimulus measure than tax cuts, according to many economists. The reason is that jobless workers tend to spend every dollar of their benefits."
4. "Payroll tax cut. "As an alternative to speeding up cuts for upper-income taxpayers, some have proposed a cut in payroll taxes, which are paid by every worker starting on the first dollar earned. A temporary payroll tax cut could provide a big economic stimulus: just exempting workers from payroll taxes on the first $10,000 of income for one year could pump $100 billion into the economy. For taxpayers making $1 million it would produce a cut of $1,137, while for those making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year it would bring a cut of $788."
5. "Fiscal aid to states. A fiscal crisis at the state level is threatening to drag the economy down." "Economists estimate the combined budget gap of all the states as high as $70 billion. The National Governors Association calls it the worst fiscal crunch since World War II." "Some states are laying off workers, adding to unemployment. Some are raising taxes, partially offsetting the economic benefit of cuts in federal taxes." In summary, the first and second proposals will mainly help the wealthy. The third proposal will mainly help the poor. The fourth proposal will help wealthy, middle-class, and poor in almost equal amounts. The fourth proposal, a payroll tax cut, will also be a strong stimulus to the economy. 1-03
- Bankruptcy Rules Toughen (Christian Science Monitor)
"For better or worse, the use of personal bankruptcy to make a fresh start is about to be sharply curtailed."
"Legislation moving through the Senate this week is, to backers, a long overdue tightening in an era of rising indebtedness and bankruptcy declarations." 3-05
- Editorial: Price Gouging With Gas - Worry Later (Slate.com - Goolsbee)
"If gas prices did not rise across the country now, in fact, the short-term impact would be disastrous. Demand would vastly exceed the current supply. As people continued to buy as much or possibly more gas, stations around the country would run out because wholesalers would refuse to supply them at the lower price. Families who'd driven off on Labor Day trips would still be stuck out on the highway, looking for a place to fill up."
"Somehow, hunts for gas gougers always seem to start at the wrong time." 9-05
- GAO: Tax Expenditures Creating a Financial Disaster (MSNBC News)
"Tax breaks cause nearly $730 billion in revenue losses every year, the GAO said in a report released Friday."
"To put that number in perspective, $730 billion is just slightly less than what the federal government spent in 2004 on all military outlays and on the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly combined."
"In Washington lingo, these tax breaks are called 'tax expenditures.' They 'grant special tax relief for certain kinds of behavior by taxpayers or for taxpayers in special circumstances,' according to the new GAO report released Friday."
"Walker does not have the hurricanes primarily in mind. He’s thinking of the fiscal crisis that will hit the nation during the next 30 years unless Congress changes course."
“ 'We are on an imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path,' he told reporters Friday. 'We were already deeply in the hole before Katrina hit…. We face a large and unprecedented demographic tidal wave, the retirement of the Baby Boom generation. Unlike most tidal waves, the waters of this tidal wave will never recede. It is a permanent change in the demographic landscape of this country, with profound economic, fiscal, budgetary and workforce implications. Unlike natural tidal waves, evacuation is not an option.' ” 9-05