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Tag: federal deficit


Congressional hard-liners paving the road to Athens

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

It’s still only May, and the nation’s economic interests have already taken a back seat to the November elections.

House Speaker John Boehner is dropping dark hints about forcing another debt-limit showdown, the first of which – last summer – shook the financial markets and led to a downgrade of America’s credit rating.

After a testy exchange Wednesday with President Barack Obama, Boehner had an aide tell the public that the House wouldn’t approve any increase in the debt limit “without doing something about the debt.”

Obama’s press secretary countered with a presidential vow to reject “an approach that asks the middle class and senior citizens to make sacrifices without asking for anything more from millionaires and billionaires.”

That’s pretty much sums up the competing political pitches of Republicans and Democrats: For public consumption at least, Republicans insist America’s $15.7 trillion national debt can be handled with spending cuts alone.
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Read somebody’s lips – the VAT tax is on the table

For months now, the Obama administration has been floating – somewhat at arm’s length – the idea of a European-style value-added tax.

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, an Appropriations Committee chairman and major power in Congress, was in for a visit yesterday. He brought up the VAT entirely on his own – which suggests he’s getting invested in the idea. He sees it as a short-term tax dedicated exclusively to paying down the federal deficit.

And he sounded exasperated at his Republican colleagues’ “read my lips” opposition to any conceivable new taxes. “What if some modest adjustment is what it

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