We have been getting significant positive economic news of late, but here is one you may have missed because for some reason it has not generated much media coverage. Our nation's current account deficit -- the trade deficit -- in the last quarter of 2013 was the lowest it has been in 14 years.
This isn't to suggest that all Republicans are easily-misled simpletons. They're not. Yet their party consistently panders to its easily-misled simpleton base with the most egregiously dishonest ideas in American politics.
While news outlets don't just invent numbers on the budget, it would not be much of a change for the worse if they did. The news stories that we saw following the release of President Obama's budget followed the same practice we have seen in budget stories for decades. They threw very large numbers at readers that no one understands.
The president wants to provide pre-kindergarten to every student and expand the existing Head Start program, which provides early childhood education to low-income families. The budget proposal would dedicate $66 billion over 10 years to this initiative.
The devil is in the details, as the saying goes. We've seen many plans shared by the current administration that went wrong. And, those plans had far more supporting documentation than this deficit elimination plan.
President Obama's new budget is a solid blueprint that would reduce deficits, alleviate poverty, and boost investment in areas needed for future economic growth, such as infrastructure, education, and research.
The Department of Defense recognizes that it has a Hispanic retention problem. As any business operator knows, that's expensive. Losing a trained employee means they have to start over teaching a new one.
Now the ball is in Obama's court. Is he going to present a big plan that tries to tackle the serious long-term fiscal problems the nation faces?
This was a week of expansion and contraction. Equal rights were allowed to continue expanding in Arizona, where Governor Jan Brewer vetoed an anti-gay bill masquerading as a "religious freedom" bill, and in Texas, where a federal judge ruled the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department announced that the deficit had shrunk to its smallest level since 2008 -- although the victory here is less clear, since the byproduct of deficit cutting in the middle of an ongoing recession has been prolonged unemployment and slow growth. The idea that government spending should contract at the same time the overall economy does is an American Hustle not worthy of an award. More entertaining will be seeing whether the cinematic American Hustle will triumph tonight -- or whether the Best Picture Oscar will go to fellow front-runners Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. My own prediction for a big win: Ellen.
On revenue neutrality, the plan uses revenue-raising provisions whose savings taper off or disappear after the first decade, and it includes a major tax cut whose full costs don't appear in the first decade.
The gears of government are grinding slower than usual because of a deficit in Washington. Yet even though budgetary squawking continues nonstop in the Capitol, it's not the financial deficit that appears at fault.
Republicans want a strong, upwardly mobile middle class and a weak government, but the two cannot coexist. Given the party's obsession with cutting government spending, "mobility" will remain a hollow mantra, nothing more.
Democrats and Republicans are blitzing us with propaganda about the national debt. My purpose here is not to side with either political party, but to add understating to the subject.
Yes, as widely reported, CBO estimates that a minimum wage hike to $10.10 would mean the loss of 500,000 jobs, and some business owners and shareholders would have lower profits. But, even after factoring in those costs, the wage hike would lift 900,000 people out of poverty.
Has Christie crossed a line that's presidentially disqualifying and O'Reilly misused a sporting event to peddle crackpot conspiracies? And if conservatives like choice for markets and schools, why not for balancing health care, work and family?
The president did not start his speech with the usual "The state of our union is strong," presumably because that would be a lie.