Top Story/Politics & The Economy
Even the scandal surrounding randy representative Anthony Weiner—and increasing calls for his resignation--was not distracting enough to draw attention away from a flailing economy and the implications for the Obama Presidency. The post-Inauguration numbers cited by David Gregory of Meet the Press were sobering: unemployment up 25%; debt up 35% to over $14 trillion; gasoline prices up 100%; and the disapproval rate on Obama’s handling of the economy up to almost 60%.
Meet the Press
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus said Obama has been a disaster for the economy. “He's on pace to accumulate more debt on his watch than every single president before him combined,” Preibus said.
“As the top Republican in the party,” Gregory asked him, “is there something that Republicans who control the House can do to accelerate job creation now, through tax policy, through other kinds of policies…?”
The best Preibus could come up with was cutting taxes on small business.
That brought scorn from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We’ve done that,” she said. “…seventeen times.”
When the discussion turned to the debate in New Hampshire on Monday among Republicans running for the Presidential nomination, Mitt Romney’s record on job creation came up.
Implicitly acknowledging that Obama has an economy problem, Wasserman Schultz said: “Well, Mitt Romney is pretty darned vulnerable on the economy himself. …We're talking about somebody that never created and recovered the amount of jobs lost in Massachusetts from the 2001 recession when he was governor.”
This Week with Christiane Amanapour
Conservative Columnist George Will said: “In the first quarter, housing values in this country went down 4 percent. Another 10 percent decline on housing values will mean that one-third of all the Americans with mortgages will be underwater, that is, they will owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. That is terrifying to people. You add that to the jobs numbers and Goliath, as The Economist calls the president, Goliath is very vulnerable.”
Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace
Wallace asked GOP Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty what his economic plan would do to the economy and the national debt. As described by Wallace, the plan would: “…Take the top corporate rate from 35 percent all the way down to 15 percent, “ substantially lower individual rates, and cut spending from 24 percent of GDP to 18 percent.
“The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says if we follow your plan, that it would result in $11.6 trillion less revenue for the country over the next 10 years,” Wallace said. “Your own campaign says it would mean $2 trillion less in revenue. Question: doesn't your plan blow a hole in the national deficit?”
“First of all, those numbers, where they use the liberal think tank numbers that you cited or our numbers assume static scoring…if you look at the tax cut part of it, there may be a small impact negatively on the deficit,” said the former Minnesota governor. “That assumes no growth, assumes static scoring, which there will be growth because of this plan. But it forgets the other half of the plan. We are not proposing to cut taxes and raise spending—as [has] happened in the past. We are proposing to cut taxes and dramatically cut spending as well. And when you do that over 10 years, this plan more than balances, has a positive impact on economic growth….”
Wallace and Pawlenty then sparred over whether the candidate’s reliance on the assumption of 5% economic growth to make his plan work was realistic.
Face the Nation
“President Obama inherited a tough problem. No two ways about it,” Representative Paul Ryan said. “What I am saying is I think what he’s done since then is to make matters worse not better. I think that the economic policies that the President has pushed through Congress into law have made this recovery harder to sustain itself. …And I think that is why we have very anemic economic growth.”
Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who joined the gaggle of Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination last week, said he would repeal Obamacare and would consider raising the Social Security retirement age.
When asked by Gregory of Meet the Press why American corporations sitting on a ton of cash need additional tax breaks, Santorum said: “Well, one tax break they need is they have about a trillion dollars sitting overseas right now that they don't bring back because they have to the top corporate rate on it. We need to slash that that rate down so that that trillion dollars come back.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Face the Nation that it’s “wholesale slaughter” in Syria now. “The reason we went in to Libya is to protect the Libyan people…when they protested [and] Qaddafi started killing them in the streets. He took his army, turned them on his own people. That’s exactly what’s happening in Syria. If we could have a power change, a regime change in Syria that breaks Syria from Iran, the world would be a much better place….”
War on Terror
Top al Qaeda leader Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who was behind the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was shot and killed in Mogadishu by Somali security forces.
The Weiner Scandal
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said on This Week with Chistiane Amanapour: “I think all of these stories as they come along--it feels like every six months now--have a feel about them of almost end-of-Roman Empire decadence. And they're no good. They don't make America look good in the world.”