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CBO Report shows exploding federal debt by maintaining Bush tax cuts

Factoring for current healthcare spending growth, CBO shows U.S. topping Greece in debt as a percent of GDP.

The Congressional Budget Office has released a new report forecasting future U.S. debt if current federal and private sector conditions don’t change. Principally, the report looks at healthcare and the upcoming expiration of the Bush tax cuts. On one hand Democrats have pushed hard for a repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts seeing them as a backdoor to “raising” taxes on the wealthiest earners in the country, whom the tax cuts principally benefit. Republicans defend this by saying that the economic recovery will be weakened by such substantial and sudden changes to the tax code.

The CBO that by allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire in December, the U.S. government will dramatically lower its deficit, from 73 percent to 53 percent in 25 years. If the expiration doesn’t take place, and is compounded by further spiraling healthcare costs, U.S. debt could hit 200 percent in the same timeframe. To put that number in perspective, Greece’s debt load is in the neighborhood of 160 percent and has sparked one of the worst financial crises in Europe in the last 100 years. To understand healthcare’s rising cost in this staggering debt explosion; if there is no fundamental policy changes to healthcare, costs to the government could rise to 10 percent of GDP within the same time period. These are some dire predictions, and both sides are likely to point to them as further evidence of their own political agenda.

Wisconsin recalls a referendum, but it's not what you think

The Republicans call it a crushing defeat to organized labor and Dems, but if anything, it's a crushing defeat of the democratic process.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s six-point win in a special recall election has been called both a stunning defeat for Democrats and organized labor, and a referendum on the Republican agenda nationwide. Of course, in any catalytic political event, such as the Wisconsin recalls, both sides are going to attempt to use it to promote their own agenda. Of course, in this case Republicans are much better positioned to do so. However, more so than a referendum on either Democratic pro-labor or Republican libertarianism, the Wisconsin recall was a forecast of what’s going to happen nationwide as the presidential election picks up speed; it’s a referendum of SuperPACs and the new age of unfettered, unaccountable campaign spending.

Morning-after pills may shake up abortion debate

New revelations concerning some old research assumptions is bringing to light that ‘morning-after’ pills may not actually cause abortions at all.  Previous labeling procedures have required that these types of contraceptives advertise that they “may” cause the abortion of a fertilized egg.  Scientists are saying, however, that they actually prevent the fertilization of the egg via methods such as delaying ovulation or preventing sperm from getting where they need to go.  Though research is still ongoing, and the possibility of the pills working in all the above-mentioned ways still exists, if the prevention of fertilization theory can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it could have many important results.

Target incites the ire of anti-gay marriage fronts

In a rare instance of a large company putting its money where its mouth is, Target has joined in the fight against a Minnesota state gay marriage ban constitutional amendment.  To support those working against the discriminatory law, they will be selling t-shirts and donating all the proceeds to the Family Equality Council.  They expect sales of the shirts to total more than $100,000 - a healthy chunk of change to the normally cash-strapped groups that head these efforts.

This is a bold move on the part of Target and has already produced some serious reactions from those who continue to fight against the LGBT community’s civil rights.  One organization, Minnesota for Marriage was even so bold as to state “It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers.”

GOP opposes public information and "beneficial government programs"

It seems that congressional Republicans prefer to pursue ignorance over information, and any form of government at all.

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t’s not often that there is dissension among the conservative right. There has been such consolidation and group-think among the new radicalized center of the post-2008 Republican Party that it’s highly unusual for elements of that party, even conservative elements outside of actual politics, to disagree. However, in the oft-conservative Wall Street Journal editors criticized the latest target of the party’s entrenched ideologues; the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a long-form version of the census but it’s administered annually using a much smaller population sample. Despite the merits of the survey, which has been used since 1850, the Republican-controlled House voted earlier this month to discontinue it.

Though the census is actually provided for in the Constitution (something many opponents seem to forget), the ACS replaced the traditional long-form census sample in 2005 to make the data-gathering more efficient and statistically representative. However, to partially fund the program, which is an enormous logistical effort, and to ensure compliance, there is a fine levied against citizens that do not respond within a certain timeframe. Of course, the alternative to this fine would be simply increasing taxes on everyone. Either way, the money needs to fund the program so that we can continue to compile valuable data on ourselves. This data is used for policy analysis, and is made public for anyone, private or public, that would like to access it; data that is perfectly valid regardless of ideology or political bias.

Memorial Day and Vietnam Vets

"May we never again fail to honor those who served our nation."

This Memorial Day reminded me that it was 50 years ago we officially entered Vietnam.  Those who served in that conflict may have questioned the merits and wisdom of the United States entering the conflict.  Some may have even protested our involvement.  Yet, they still served with honor and distinction. And, while they might not have supported the war, they did support their brothers in arms.

Lowest federal spending growth in 60 years under Obama

A recent MarketWatch report shows that spending growth has actually dropped to a 60-year low.

Looking for truth in politics can be a frustrating search through a haystack of half-truths and misleading information for that proverbial needle. This is particularly true in the era of “say it loud enough and often enough and it becomes true” political strategy. One of the greatest (and loudest) of these has been the allegation that Obama’s tenure has seen the greatest spending spree in recent memory. Whether it’s one of Mitt Romney’s questionable graphs (showing Obama’s spending starting during Bush Jr’s administration), or Speaker Boehner’s assertion that Obama has been spending at a rate “unprecedented in history,” it’s just not true.

South Korea opts for stronger trade and military relations with China

Usually, when the news mentions anything about China dealing with Korea, it’s the North that tends to get brought up.  Now, it looks like South Korea and China may be strengthening their ties in the near future.  This new cooperation has the potential to create some very interesting effects on the balance of power within the East Asian region.

For one, North Korea will not be happy if their long-time ally of China decides to shift its focus to the southern neighbor.  China, if its economic interests lie in the South, will be forced to make decisions that conflict with either one half of the peninsula or the other.  Given the DPRK’s track record of being unreliable trade partners and slightly psychotic leaders on the international scene, China may finally decide that doing business with the South is just the smarter thing to do.

Dick Cheney fights on

Mr. Cheney continues to serve

Dick Cheney has worked hard and fought harder throughout his life and career for his personal beliefs. Plagued with heart problems from middle age, Mr. Cheney has never slowed down or shirked his duty. Instead, he has always grabbed the ball and run with it.

There’s a reason why he has had a long successful run in business and government service. There’s a reason why he was drafted to run as Vice President and why he did what the administration believed was necessary in the wake of the worst attack on this country; an attack targeting civilians.

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