1. How to whip your fall budget into shape

    It’s tie to work on fitting autumn’s most common expenses into your budget

     


  2. The greatest national security threat to this country right now is not a great power war. The big problem these days is international terrorism, and one of the biggest things stoking international terrorism is U.S. overreach itself. To stop terrorism, it helps to stop behaving like Osama bin Laden’s caricature of America, and a smaller military will make is somewhat more difficult to start counterproductive wars of aggression.
     


  3. 140,000
    — 

    The number of low-income families set to lose rental assistance vouchers, thanks to Congress’ sequestration policy. That will save $2 billion, the same amount the government shutdown cost in back pay to federal workers.

    How to stick it to the poor: A comprehensive congressional strategy.

     


  4. Nobody knows who is driving the Republican Party right now, and that in itself is pretty unsettling.
     

  5. Cartoon of the day: Preparing for backlash
    DAYLE CAGLE © 2012 Cagle Cartoons

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    (Source: theweek.com)

     


  6. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is criticizing the House Republican budget for cutting food stamps and other social programs too drastically. Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, says his Catholic faith served as a guide when he wrote the spending plan, and that runaway government debt is what will really damage programs for the poor. But the bishops say making disproportionately large cuts to the food stamp program — $33 billion in reductions over 10 years — fails to meet the church’s “moral criteria” to “serve poor and vulnerable people.” Is slashing spending on food stamps really immoral?

    Yes. We have to help those in need: More Americans than ever are struggling in this sour economy, says Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in The Washington Post, and it’s our “moral responsibility” to help them. “The ‘small government’ or even ‘no government’ folks want to say that the churches should pick up the slack on taking care of the poor instead of us paying taxes for a social safety net.” But churches simply “can’t do it all without the government.”

    More opinion

     

  7. President Obama is taking fire from both sides of the aisle over his 2013 budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the $3.8 trillion spending plan a “nervous breakdown on paper" because it slashes spending too drastically. Republicans, on the other hand, called Obama’s proposal a "gimmick,” saying it aims to please voters by merely pretending to substantially cut the deficit while putting off tough decisions on deficit reduction until after the November election. Here, five other reasons Obama’s budget is making such a splash:

    • Tax hikes make it unpassable: Republicans have stated flatly that Obama’s budget is “dead on arrival,” says Daniel Stone at The Daily Beast. “The reason: Tax increases on virtually every person making more than $250,000 a year, corporations included.” The spending blueprint also lets Bush tax cuts expire, and imposes the so-called Buffett rule on people making $1 million per year, taxing them at a base rate of 30 percent. Obama has been talking for months about cutting deficits by pushing high-bracket tax rates higher. “Republicans, many beholden to an anti-tax-raising pledge, have never shown willingness to play ball,” and there’s no reason to think they’ll change their minds now.
    • Once again, Obama has a $1 trillion deficit: Along with its tax increases, the $3.8 trillion budget includes "less debt reduction than Obama had previously promised," says Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. For the fourth year in a row, the deficit exceeds $1 trillion. Republicans say that makes Obama a “budget buster,” a charge he might have avoided by cutting more spending — although that would have increased the risk of deeper unemployment. Clearly, Obama wants to keep “plugging money into the economy, damn the torpedoes, and hitch his wagon to the country’s continued economic progress.”
    • It’s all about the election: It doesn’t really matter that Obama’s budget won’t pass as is, says Tom Raum at the Associated Press. That’s not the point. Instead, the proposal “showcases the major priorities of his presidency and sets up the top battles that will be waged on both sides in the presidential campaign.” Obama knows that Republicans will use his spending document to “make deficits and mounting debt the theme of their campaign,” and attack what they’ll call his “big government, tax-and-spend ways.” But he’s fine with that, because his aim is to signal to middle-class voters, who like the idea of making the rich pay more taxes, that his priority is creating jobs.

    More talking points

     

  8. Americans have pointedly rejected $1 coins for decades, but that was when they could pay with a greenback instead. Now a new proposal to phase out the dollar bill in favor of a new $1 coin is afoot. The congressional “super committee” charged with slashing the deficit says that such a move would save the government about $5.6 billion over 30 years, citing a Government Accountability Office estimate. Is it really time to kill the bill?