• Bottom Line

    The March 1st deadline for the automatic, across the board spending cuts—referred to in Washington as the sequester—to go into effect is quickly approaching. With Congress out on recess this week and no deal in sight that would prevent the cuts from going into place, it looks increasingly likely that the sequester will kick in at the end of next week. Many of you had questions about the specifics of these spending cuts and what they might mean for you.

    Erik Reynolds wrote in asking: How much closer to zero debt will the sequester bring us to?

    Harrine Freeman tweeted: How will the cuts affect medicare, social security, unemployment benefits, social service programs and financial aid?

    And Andrea Nunnally asked: If they invented the sequester, why can’t they “un-invent” it? Is it now a matter of principle?

    Thank you for the great questions and please continue to keep them coming on Facebook and on Twitter. Be sure to tune in to “Good Morning America” tomorrow morning and

    Read More »from Looming spending cuts: Longer airport lines and cuts to food safety
  • And the Oscar goes to…Washington!

    Top Line

    'Washington is Hollywood for ugly people,' so the saying goes. By that standard, the nation's capital should look a bit prettier come Sunday's Oscars. This is a bumper year for Washington, with a trio of movies that have the capital at their core: "Argo", "Zero Dark Thirty", and "Lincoln." And of course it wouldn't be Washington if there weren't a bit of controversy around these films.

    Each has been criticized for its accuracy. In "Argo," there is a climactic chase scene that never happened; "Zero Dark Thirty" portrays torture as a useful tool in the hunt for bin Laden, contradicting the Senate; and in "Lincoln," the Connecticut delegation votes against abolishing slavery, which was not the case.

    But the controversy around "Zero Dark Thirty" is the most serious, it has the most policy implications. The movie seems to take a side on the raging debate over torture techniques that were outlawed by President Obama. Despite what the filmmakers say, it is clear that the narrative

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  • The band is back: Alan “this is madness” Simpson & Erskine “stupid…spending cuts” Bowles

    Politics Confidential

    The deficit reduction mavericks are back. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles failed to get Washington to accept their original deficit reduction plan at the end of 2010; but this bipartisan duo is rolling out a revamped plan– and more tough talk aimed at both Congress and the President.

    "They haven't done any of the tough stuff, any of the important stuff, they haven't reformed the tax code...they haven't done anything to slow the rate of health care to the rate of growth of the economy, they haven't made Social Security sustainably solvent. There's about $2.4 trillion more of hard work we've gotta do," former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles tells Politics Confidential.

    In their new plan, Simpson and Bowles call for a variety of measures that would shrink the nation's deficit, ranging from decreasing discretionary spending to reforming government programs to make them more sustainable. Simpson gets particularly passionate when talking about

    Read More »from The band is back: Alan “this is madness” Simpson & Erskine “stupid…spending cuts” Bowles

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