Fudging by the White House. “The net impact on the deficit is savings of roughly $600 billion over a decade, far less than the $1.8 trillion the White House claimed. By contrast, the budget that Republicans pushed through the House last month leaves across-the-board cuts in place, reduces spending by an additional $5.6 trillion over a decade and shows a balanced budget without raising taxes.”
Frightening. “As for North Korea’s latest barrage of threats to irradiate Americans and South Koreans, North Korea’s novice tyrant Kim Jong Un –- whatever his exact role or intentions in this drama — has so far reaped a bonanza. Two years ago, almost no one outside of North Korea-watching circles had heard of him. Now he has become a household name around the globe. North Korea is being discussed hither and yon as a nuclear power — bizarre and opaque, to be sure — but a force to be reckoned with. Tehran, with its bomb program, is surely studying the scene.”
Finding another reason to support immigration reform. “Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum and former head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concludes that immigration reform ‘would raise the pace of economic growth by nearly a percentage point over the near term, raise GDP per capita by over $1,500 and reduce the cumulative federal deficit by over $2.5 trillion.’ Basing his analysis on data from the U.S. Census and the nonpartisan CBO, Holtz-Eakin notes that with immigration reform, ‘the pace of overall population growth will raise the number of workers, and thus raise GDP.’ This economic growth will cause higher quality capital goods — tools, machines, etc. — to replace worn out goods. This will raise worker productivity and the standard of living as measured as GDP per capita.”
Freaking out immigration-reform opponents, no doubt. ” A bipartisan group of senators has largely agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be in place before illegal immigrants could take the first steps to become American citizens, according to several people familiar with drafts of the legislation.”
Figuring out the illegal taping suspect? “The FBI swept Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) campaign office on Wednesday morning and, according to the senator’s campaign manager, found ‘good leads’ in its investigation into leaked recordings that revealed aides to the GOP senator discussing ways to attack actress Ashley Judd.” This could get interesting.
Forgetting the one element that might actually do some good. “The only mental health legislation with much steam right now would mostly just reauthorize existing programs, not embark on major expansions. And it’s still unclear whether even that version will be tacked on to a possible gun bill, or whether mental health legislation would have a better chance of passage on its own.”
Forgoing despair is a good idea. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on his disappointment in knowing what could have been: The hard part is “knowing what we were going to do in the first 200 days, how we were going to tackle the entitlement problems, the debt crisis, tax reform, energy exploration, all the things we said were going to do, we were going to do. And we were really getting down to the specifics. Losing the election and now seeing where the country is headed in this kind of level of detail . . . [holding up a summary of President Obama’s budget proposal, unveiled today] . . . Very few people have such a clear view of the whole alteration of trajectory that has occurred. And that’s obviously . . . I won’t say it’s despairing, it’s distressing, I’m distressed. I gave up despair for Lent this year.”