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December 3, 2012
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National Pulse 
  • Fiscal talks are going "nowhere," Boehner says
      
    Boehner/Reuters
    The deficit-reduction negotiations are going "nowhere," Republican House Speaker John Boehner warned Sunday, as each side sought to blame the other for the continuing deadlock. Republicans accused the White House of intransigence and warned tax increases would hurt businesses, while Democrats said electoral defeat had left the GOP without a clear sense of direction. "They're in a kind of tough position now," said Treasury chief Timothy Geithner. "We might need to give them a little time to figure out where they go next." The Wall Street Journal (12/3) , Politico (Washington, D.C.) (12/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Lawmakers' fiscal fear-mongering is just for show:   As the fiscal negotiations continue, lawmakers from both sides say they'll refuse to compromise even if it means sending the country into economic crisis -- but the truth of the matter is that neither party really intends to do so, writes Ben White. The histrionics and grand-standing is just for show, White argues -- "a largely choreographed drama whose precise end may not be known, but is likely to include a sizable tax hike ... spending cuts ... and a pledge to come back next year and try really, really hard to do fundamental tax and entitlement reform." Politico (Washington, D.C.) (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Reader Polls 
  • This week's poll: The tax pledge
    Since 1986, Americans for Tax Reform, led by Grover Norquist, has asked candidates for federal and state office to sign its pledge against raising taxes. Signers promise to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses" and "oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." In the current Congress, the pledge has been signed by all Republicans except for six in the House and seven in the Senate. Two Democrats in the House and one Democratic senator have also signed. In the current debate over the federal deficit crisis, though, several signers are distancing themselves from this promise. This week's question: How would you react to a candidate who violates this pledge or refuses to sign it? Results will be published Friday.
I would vote against a candidate who refuses to sign the pledge
I would vote against a candidate who signs the pledge, then supports an increase in tax rates
I would vote against a candidate who signs the pledge, then supports a limitation on deductions or credits
I would not vote against a candidate for violating the pledge in the face of a fiscal crisis
I would tend to support a candidate who refuses to sign or violates the pledge in the face of a fiscal crisis
The tax pledge has little or no bearing on my vote
None of the above/Other

Agenda Items 
  • Governments pay billions in incentives to companies
      
    Reuters
    State and local governments are offering companies what amounts to billions of dollars a year in incentives in an effort to encourage them to create jobs, according to an analysis. Tracking the effects of such incentives can be difficult because officials might not know the value of their incentives or how many jobs they help to produce. "How can you even talk about rationalizing what you're doing when you don't even know what you're doing?" economist Timothy Bartik said. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Data Points 
  • Entitlement beneficiaries: Who are they and where do they live?
    Learn : http://smartblogs.com/finance/2012/12/03/entitlement-beneficiaries-who-are-they-where-do-they-live/more about entitlement beneficiaries  
    Click on image for more info.
    Entitlements have been a key part of political discussions during the course of the presidential election and the "fiscal cliff" debate. Some 55.4 million Americans are receiving Social Security benefits, and 8.1 million receive Supplemental Security Income disability payments. Many Americans use these benefits to feed and clothe their families, to pay for health care and just survive. Where do these Americans live? What do we know about them? This type of information can help aid governments and businesses in making decisions such as providing health care facilities, new businesses, as well as community services. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Finance (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

The Conversation 
Daily Chuckle 
  • Political humorists are like pro-sugar dentists, says Calvin Trillin
      
    Reuters
    The Republican presidential primary season was a gift to political humorists, says doggerel-composer Calvin Trillin. Hopefuls such as Donald Trump and Herman Cain would have made terrible presidents, but they were great fodder for late-night comics. "We think of something like that ... the way dentists think of tooth decay. It's a pity, but where would business be without it?" he explains. Comedy Central (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by SmartBrief on Business & Politics readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
SmartQuote 
An empty stomach is not a good political adviser."
--Albert Einstein, German-born American physicist
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