A thriving, sex-and-gossip newspaper has been shuttered, big shots in media, politics and law enforcement have resigned, and arrests have been made. It has resulted in a lot of headlines, but considering how old the real news is, I wonder what all the fuss is about.
When George W. Bush took up residence in the White House in January 2001, total U.S. debt stood at $5.95 trillion. Last week it was $14.3 trillion, with $2.4 trillion more freshly authorized by Congress.
At a Washington event in the early 1990s, I happened to find myself seated beside an official fairly high in the White House of George H.W. Bush. We got to chatting, and he waxed poetic about a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance its annual budget.
Here’s the general theory of legislative failure: Political polarization leads to congressional gridlock, and congressional gridlock leads to legislative inaction. If Congress can’t get its act together, then the worst that happens is nothing gets done.
About five miles south of Groupon Inc.’s headquarters, at U.S. Cellular Field, there’s a veteran baseball player for the Chicago White Sox named Adam Dunn who is having a remarkable season. All he needs is a little help putting his numbers in the best possible light.
Every Latin American country has fostered, to some degree, a “Cult of the Hero,” but only Venezuela has raised its founding father, Simon Bolivar, to the extreme of deification.
The credit rating on U.S. bonds may survive the debt-ceiling fiasco, but the president and speaker of the House, the two most powerful figures in American government, have already been downgraded.
Debt crises make great drama. The big shots attend meetings, look terribly worried, then stomp out, accusing each other of bad faith. Finally, at the witching hour, they reach agreement and tell us all is fine, for now.
By Meghan O’Sullivan Aug 2, 2011 Comments
Even last week’s swearing in of Ryan Crocker -- one of the most talented U.S. diplomats -- as ambassador to Kabul seems unable to stanch the perception that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan are waning. Most Americans take solace in the notion that, in President Barack Obama’s words, “the tide of wars is receding,” regardless of whether the administration can tie its disengagement to success.
By Bill Bradley, Tom Ridge and David Walker Aug 2, 2011 Comments
The U.S.’s national transportation program is broke. We borrow about $12 billion from the Treasury annually for the Highway Trust Fund. But our real annual transportation deficit is more than $100 billion when you include interest, deferred maintenance and other spending.
By Peter Allen, Barry Eichengreen and Gary Evans
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