Within the first quarter of his final term, Barack Obama has chalked up two frustrating defeats: the sting of across the board budget cuts, followed by the bite of failed gun sales reform. And, now the specter of a triple faced scandal threatens to engulf his presidency.
It is most unfortunate that it takes a severe crisis to get anything done on Capitol Hill, but we fear that a new one will be required to effect material change.
It's as if the entire economic recovery is going into the pockets of the rich. And that's no accident. Here's why.
Even a minimal "vision" of an America that can still accomplish something would appear to be far more uplifting than the austerity snake oil the current crop of Republican politicians keep pushing.
Why does one governmental agency have 13 different cell phone plans for which it pays varied prices that are higher than commercially available rates? The one take away is that the government clearly is not leveraging its buying power and, as a result, is wasting taxpayer dollars.
Anyone despairing that Congress can't get anything done should note last week's swift vote to get furloughed air traffic controllers back to work. Congress can move very quickly and efficiently when it wants to and when their own comfort and that of constituents well-off enough to fly was affected. Reduced unemployment benefits, children dropped suddenly from Head Start programs, poor mothers and babies losing food supplements, teacher layoffs, and cancelled meal deliveries for seniors didn't move them -- but airport delays as members headed out of town for their April recess were apparently unacceptable.
The sequester is going to be painful but the pain that we will suffer from the type of severe spending cuts that Republicans want will be much worse, and the long-term damage to our economy extreme.
The preposterous legislative sideshow taking place around sequestration gives a pretty clear picture of how little the people who were elected to run the government actually know about it.
When a Laney Walker supermarket closed in Georgia, the store had arranged for a local church to pick up all of the store's food to give to the poor. But when the church never came by, the food was unloaded into the parking lot where hungry people gathered to take it back home to their families.
There is now talk of reducing the Army to 490,000. That would be a bit more than what we had on the eve of 9/11, but it is not in my book anywhere what we need to guarantee our nation's security.
Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio's recent lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration demonstrates that lobbyists today aren't as invested in the details as they used to be.
This downward funding spiral might make sense if there was a consensus that tackling AIDS has become less important, or if PEPFAR was not producing results. But the opposite is true.
Public courage notwithstanding, it is also important to recognize that no tragedy like this could have been addressed or people's lives saved without a massive concerted effort by the first responders: the police, the paramedics, the firemen, the doctors, the nurses, and eventually, the national guard.
I have heard Obama defenders say for years that he's a really smart guy, so they trust him to do what's right -- that he's playing 12-dimensional chess and as the meme has it -- "he's got this." But can't one be a generally smart guy and still ultimately think some really dumb things?
A LIRP is a very powerful yet fairly basic financial planning tool that has been used to solve myriads of financial planning goals for decades. It's kind of like baking soda. Every household in America has one yet uses it a little differently.
It's been said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. While I can't help you avoid physical death, I can help you avoid paying taxes at retirement.