During the economic recession in 2009, the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), better known as "cash for clunkers," was billed as a way to both stimulate the economy and help the environment by encouraging Americans to trade in their older vehicles for a new, more fuel efficient vehicle. Writing for E Magazine, Jennifer Santisi, a freelance science and environmental writer, concludes, though, that the program did more harm than good for the environment.
Under the program, consumers who traded in an older vehicle were provided a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher toward the purchase of a new vehicle. About 690,000 vehicles were traded in under the program for a total cost of almost $3 billion.
One of the main problems Santisi pointed to was the engines and drive trains had to be destroyed, and could not be recycled, under the program's requirements. Guarding against potential fraud, the government did not want the vehicles that were traded in under the program to find their way back onto the streets. more >>
The law passed by Congress to avoid the "fiscal cliff" represents the beginning of a decline for liberalism in America, conservative Washington Post columnist George Will believes.
"I think people will look back on this deal as where liberalism passed an apogee and went into decline," Will said Sunday in a panel discussion on ABC's "This Week."
The reason, Will explained, is that Democrats supported making the Bush-era tax cuts in the fiscal cliff bill for all but the wealthiest Americans, but liberalism requires high taxes on the middle class in order to have the expensive government programs that liberals prefer. more >>
The "fiscal cliff" bill, or the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012," increased taxes, President Barack Obama says. Many Republicans say the bill lowered taxes. As a corollary, Obama says the bill will lower budget deficits. But the Congressional Budget Office says the bill will require even more government borrowing. Who is right?
In a video posted to his campaign website Wednesday, Obama said, "the agreement we reached this week will reduce the deficit even more by asking the wealthiest two percent of Americans to pay higher taxes for the first time in two decades. So that's progress."
The fiscal cliff law "further reduces the deficit by $737 billion," Obama claimed in his weekly radio address Saturday, "making it one of the largest deficit reduction bills passed by Congress in over a decade." more >>
Americans are split over the "fiscal cliff" agreement reached by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, with 43 percent saying they approve and 45 percent saying they disapprove, according to a Gallup poll.
Among Republican participants, 27 percent said they approve of the deal, and 65 percent said they disapprove. Among Democrats, 67 percent approve, and 23 percent disapprove, shows the one-day poll of 1,026 national adults conducted Thursday, two days after the agreement, which raised taxes on wealthy Americans while preserving middle-class rates.
Among independents, 39 percent said they approve of the measure, and 46 percent said they disapprove. more >>
Congress and President Barack Obama have prevented a potential recession with the "fiscal cliff" bill, but in doing so put off, yet again, many difficult decisions necessary to get the nation's fiscal house in order. In a couple of months, three more fiscal cliff battles lie ahead -- sequestration, the debt ceiling, and a new federal budget.
As part of the Budget Control Act (2011), about $1 trillion of automatic spending cuts were supposed to begin going into effect in 2013 if Congress did not replace them with an equivalent amount of deficit reduction. About half of those cuts are in defense and the other half are in other discretionary spending. more >>
When the dust settled after the House and Senate voted on the fiscal cliff bill, Democrats supplied the overwhelming majority of the votes. But what may yet prove to be the bigger issue was how the issue split Republicans in both chambers. It may well set the stage for how Congress and the GOP will function in the coming year.
In the final 36 hours there seemed little chance to salvage a deal. Growing frustrated when Senate Democrats stopped negotiating, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on his long-time friend, Vice President Joe Biden, to sit down and see if they could hammer out a couple of final points to win passage in the upper chamber.
Both men cut their political teeth on back-room deals so the announcement of a compromise surprised few within earshot of Capitol Hill. more >>