Signs of pessimism in Washington, over Congress’ inability to reach a deficit reduction agreement in the next seven days, includes this from Politico.com:
Supercommittee co-chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), speaking bluntly to a closed House Republican meeting Tuesday said any deal that the panel produces will either be an “abject [failure] or a ‘kiss your sister agreement.’”
One assumes that [failure] is something unprintable. On the other hand, green sprigs of hope include the decision by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to release a 37-page report this week critical of government subsidies for wealthy Americans.
He called it “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous.” From the Associated Press:
The report found that in an average year, those earning $1 million or more each year benefit from tax breaks and federal grant programs totaling $30 billion. His report noted that in tax year 2009, nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax.
Among the government subsidies cited in the report are unemployment checks, farm subsidies and funds for the preservation of ranches and estates.
Read the report here. The best line from a section on mortgage deductions for second and third homes:
Even a yacht can be considered a second residence, as long as the luxury boat has a sleeping, cooking and toilet facility and an individual lives in it for at least two weeks a year.
On a similar note, Bloomberg/Business Week reports that the European turmoil over Greece and Italy, has some Republicans in Washington rethinking their opposition to tax increases as part of a deficit-reduction deal. The piece ends with this:
Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, said his party’s lawmakers should consider bigger tax increases if it would lead to a larger debt-reduction deal, because the political price they would pay will essentially be the same.
“You’re going to be criticized by the same people irrespective of what the number is,” said Chambliss.
Now that he has been restored to the top tier of GOP candidates for president, it’s no surprise that the scrutiny of former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has resumed. From the Washington Post:
Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.
Previous reports had put the cash at a single payment of $300,000.
A look by OpenSecrets.org at the wealth of members of Congress says U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, may be among the poorest of its 535 members – and could be as much as $430,000 in debt. The same report says that nearly half of Congress – 47 percent — are millionaires. In that category, among Georgia members, U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, edged out U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Darrell “No Relation” Galloway, chairman of the 14th District GOP, reports this morning that Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson and Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker have renounced their Democratic affiliation and joined the Republican camp. Their defection was put together by Walker GOP chairman Nathan Smith. State GOP chairman Sue Everhart attended the Tuesday evening festivities.
First thing this morning, to show that he’s a polite winner, Gov. Nathan Deal issued a press release pledging that he and U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson would “support efforts to deepen not only the Port of Savannah but also the Port of Charleston.”
On Tuesday, after a tour of the Port of Savannah with Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave a much-needed thumbs-up to federal funding for a dredging of the Savannah River channel.
South Carolina and Georgia have been competing for the same federal cash. The difference, according to a report by Orlando Montoya of Georgia Public Broadcasting, is the power of The Ask.
In other words, that odd-couple trip to Washington by Deal, a Republican, and Reed, a Democrat, paid off:
As to why Savannah’s project merits funding over similar ones nationwide, LaHood says, Deal and Reed reached out.
“What I’m saying is that these guys called me, they came to see me, they talked to me about this port,” LaHood says. “When people come and see me, we funded 13 ports. We haven’t been ignoring ports.”
We’ll close this morning with a bit of weirdness – an email from an enterprising publicist:
”I was wondering if you would be interested in speaking to legendary mentalist The Amazing Kreskin about an offer that he’s extending to Herman Cain and his accusers. The world renowned mind reader has offered to meet with each accuser separately for 10 or 15 minutes and, by asking only a few questions and listening to their verbal responses and thoughts, will announce who is lying and who is telling the truth.”
Or, we could make a reservation for January and turn Kreskin — “‘Zing” to his friends? — loose on the General Assembly.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider