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Social Security financial lifespan shortened three years

By David Jackson, USA Today

The lifespan of Social Security trust fund has been shortened three years because of high energy prices and a slow economy, trustees said Monday.

Social Security benefits will now run out in 2033, said its trustees in an annual report released today.

The Medicare fund for seniors’ health care is scheduled to run dry in 2024, which is unchanged from last year, largely because of a 2 percentage point cut enacted by Congress last year.

Read the full article in USA Today HERE.


Just how fast can the U.S. economy grow?

By James Pethokoukis

What’s a reasonable expectation for future U.S. economic growth? It’s an important question. Higher growth is critical to avoiding a debt crisis, not to mention improving the American standard of living. Advances in genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology could bring about another Industrial Revolution. Innovation expert and computer scientist Irving Wladawsky-Berger think the simultaneous advance of information technology and globalization and entrepreneurial capitalism worldwide is ushering in a “golden age of innovation.” And the faster the world grows, the faster American will grow. And vice versa.

Read the full article and check out the graph on the American Enterprise Institute HERE.


Monday Map: Tax Freedom Day by State

By Nick Kasprak

Today [April 2] we released this year’s annual Tax Freedom Day report – a calendar based look at the cost of government. 2012’s National Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 17th, but we also calculate a separate Tax Freedom Day for each state. Because taxes in the U.S. are generally progressive, higher income states tend to have later Tax Freedom Days, and lower income states have earlier Tax Freedom Days. Today’s Monday Map shows the Tax Freedom Day for each state.

Read the full article and check out the graph on the Tax Foundation HERE.


Obama’s auto-bailout fiction

By Kevin A. Hassett | National Review

As the president has ramped up into campaign mode, he has studiously avoided mentioning most of his signature accomplishments. One can see why. The health care legislation is unpopular, as is the stimulus. The one thing President Obama always seems to mention is the auto bailout. Given that automakers are profitable now, he asserts, his actions, which were purportedly opposed by Republicans, have been proven wise.

There is much about this line of argument that is objectionable. The auto bailout began in earnest when President Bush, in 2008, allocated part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the automotive industry. That decision was not without controversy in Republican circles, since there was arguably no legal basis for this use of the funds designated to help financial firms. But Obama’s assertions about widespread Republican recalcitrance are incorrect.

Read the full article on the American Enterprise Institute HERE.


Side Effects: Obamacare Adds $17 Trillion to Long-Term Unfunded Government Spending

By Alyene Senger

Last week, the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff released a report revealing that, over the next 75 years, Obamacare will add an additional $17 trillion in unfunded obligations—i.e., the benefits promised by the federal government that haven’t yet been paid for.

Before Obamacare, federal programs were already responsible for racking up 75-year unfunded obligations of an astounding $65 trillion. According to the report, Medicare accounted for $38 trillion, Medicaid was responsible for over $20 trillion, and Social Security added $7 trillion.

Read the full article on the Heritage Network HERE.


The Worst Economic Recovery in History

Since the second half of 2009, the U.S. economy has grown at a rate of 2.4%, a full percentage point below average long-term growth.


How many times have we heard that this was the worst recession since the Great Depression? That may be true—although the double-dip recession of the early 1980s was about comparable. Less publicized is that our current recovery pales in comparison with most other recoveries, including the one following the Great Depression.

The Great Depression started with major economic contractions in 1930, ’31, ’32 and ’33. In the three following years, the economy rebounded strongly with growth rates of 11%, 9% and 13%, respectively.

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal HERE.


How Tax Expenditures Hurt the Economy—and What to Do About It

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

As we approach the deadline for filing income-tax returns, a renewed focus has emerged on “tax expenditures.” These are reductions in taxes owed, which occur when taxpayers avail themselves of provisions in the tax code such as the deductions for mortgage interest, state and local income and property taxes, and charitable contributions. Such aspects of the tax code have come under attack for disproportionately benefiting upper-income earners. Indeed, in a March 13 New York Times article, Eduardo Porter writes that “the $1 trillion in tax breaks mostly benefits those higher up the income ladder.”

There is much to question about the assumptions underlying this perspective. It is crucial to keep in mind that, in fiscal year 2009, the top half of earners paid 97.8 percent of federal income taxes, the top 10 percent paid 70.5 percent, and the top 1 percent paid 36.7 percent. That is why upper-income earners get more benefits from tax expenditures. If the tax system were not as progressive as it is, upper-income taxpayers would not benefit from tax expenditures.

Read the full article on the Manhattan Institute for Political Research HERE.


Spring 2012 Edition: Who Really Owns the U.S. National Debt?

By Political Calculations

The U.S. Treasury has revised its data indicating which nation’s institutions through the end of the U.S. government’s 2011 Fiscal Year, which ended on 30 September 2011. With that revision, we’ve updated our chart revealing who the biggest holders of all the U.S. government’s public debt outstanding were as of 30 September 2011.

Read the full article on Political Calculations HERE.


U.S. oil resources: President Obama’s ‘non sequitur facts’

By Glenn Kessler – The Washington Post

The data on proven reserves is collected by the Energy Information Administration, derived from a survey of private companies. EIA data shows that proven U.S. reserves hit a peak of nearly 40 billion barrels in 1970 — after the Prudhoe Bay oil field was found in Alaska — and now stand at about 22 billion barrels. But here’s the strange thing: the United States also had proven oil reserves of 22 billion barrels through much of the 1940s.

Read the full article from The Washington Post HERE.


California officials highly polarized

STUDY: Split along ideological lines is growing nationwide.

By Yousur Alhlou, California News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – What do Democrat Judy Chu and House Republican whip Republican Kevin McCarthy have in common?

Both California representatives rank among the most ideological members of their party according to a newly released report by the National Journal, a nonpartisan Washington publication.

The rankings highlight the divisive politics gripping Washington, where the ideological overlap between the two largest parties is increasingly diminishing.

Few places are as polarized as California, where 26 Democrats are listed among the chamber’s 100 most liberal members, and six Republicans are listed among the 100 most conservative.

Los Angeles area lawmakers are among the nation’s most liberal with 11 Democrats ranked in the top 100. Only nine of the state’s 53 representatives – six Republicans and three Democrats – are regarded as centrists, a breed of politician that is increasingly rare.

Read the full article on Los Angeles Daily News HERE.


Scarce Oil? U.S. Has 60 Times More Than Obama Claims


The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world’s proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves “are a small subset of recoverable resources,” because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields.

Read the full article from the Investor’s Business Daily HERE.


Consumer Prices in U.S. Rose in February as Gasoline Jumped

By Alex Kowalski

The cost of living in the U.S. rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline that failed to spread to other goods and services.

Read the full article from Bloomberg HERE.


Govt. sets record deficit in February

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times

The federal government recorded its worst monthly deficit in history in February, according to a preliminary report Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office that said the deficit in fiscal year 2012 is already more than half a trillion dollars.

The CBO’s figures show that despite repeated efforts to trim spending, the government has borrowed 42 cents of every dollar it spent during the first five months of this fiscal year.

Read the full article from The Washington Times HERE.


Regulation Nation: New study finds Obama’s regs cost $46 billion a year

By Paul Bedard – The Washington Examiner

Some 10,215 new federal regulations from the Obama administration are costing consumers, businesses and the economy overall $46 billion annually, more than five times the regulatory price tag of former President Bush in his first three years in office. Worse: just implementing those regulations had a one-time additional cost of $11 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis provided to Washington Secrets.

Read the full article from The Washington Examiner HERE.




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