We can only begin to imagine the depth of the political fissures once Congress seriously addresses our budget challenges as opposed to punting tough compromises down the road with last-minute, stop-gap spending bills. Just consider the intensity of the heat generated today over the Republicans’ continued resolve to cut “only” $100 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget for this year, which still would leave a massive deficit in excess of $1.4 trillion. Ultimately, Americans must consider a painful, indelicate balance of much larger spending cuts along with tax increases, coupled with the need for crucial investments in our nation’s future. In confronting these agonizing political choices, both parties, and the electorate, would benefit from advice from “Ike.” Such advice can be found in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memorable (though little remembered) radio and television address on taxes in 1954. The address was delivered on March 15, which was Tax Day back then. Its value lies not in its details but in what he said about the government’s role domestically, about sound budgeting, and about being a “good American.” These words, from a Republican, challenged listeners then regardless of party, as they will challenge listeners today. Mount Holyoke College tax-policy scholar John O. Fox gives us Ike's four critical pieces of advice.
Bronx Zoo cobra run amok? The Bronx Zoo insists its missing Egyptian cobra is probably hiding on zoo property. But the Twitter account @BronxZoosCobra suggests that the Bronx Zoo cobra is involved in a little Big Apple high jinks. Here are the four funniest tweets.
Reports from Libya are a constant flurry of cities gained and lost by Muammar Qaddafi's forces and rebel troops, and it's hard to keep track if you don't know where these cities are or why they matter. Here's an quick explanation, with cities listed west to east.
After more than a week of debate about who should have what role in the international intervention in Libya, NATO is set to assume full command. The roles of other nations involved in Libya’s conflict are likely to change as well. What were those roles, and what will they be now?
The devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become the latest poster child for long-standing issues surrounding nuclear energy – issues that need to be resolved to reduce the risk of a similar nuclear crisis in the United States. These range from the seemingly eternal conundrum over dealing with highly radioactive spent fuel, to fire hazards, plant design, and emergency plans, say nuclear engineers and nuclear-safety watchdogs.
The finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award – sponsored by the Three Percent weblog – were announced last week. The winning works of fiction selected were translated from German, Spanish, Afrikaans, Czech, French and Swedish. To read these books is to travel the globe in extraordinary style.
Every marriage is a little business. "Economics is about how to allocate scarce resources," says Paula Szuchman, coauthor with Jenny Anderson of "Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes." "That's what married people are trying to do, given that they have limited resources – time, money, patience." Marriage experts and even economists aren't ready to replace Dear Abby with Adam Smith. "Marriage is more than an economic transaction." says Raymond Fisman, a Columbia University economist. Still, he's a fan of the book. Test these four economic principles on your marriage:
Tax filing is never fun, especially for the unemployed, whose income plunged but who still owe taxes. The Internal Revenue Service tried to ease things a bit last year by not fully taxing the unemployment benefits. That offer has expired. Still, there are ways that the unemployed, and newly employed, can lower their taxes this tax-filing season. Here are five of them:
The bulls were in charge last week, taking advantage of a big drop in volatility to stealthily sprint ahead. Stocks will try to keep the momentum going Monday, despite geopolitical risk and more potentially horrid housing data. Here are the Top 5 business news events we're watching for on Monday:
Arizona dismissed Duke Thursday night, making the Blue Devils the second No. 1 seed sent home in this year's NCAA Tournament. In tonight's Sweet 16 action, four teams from the bottom half of the seeding try to continue their improbable runs and the two remaining No. 1 seeds try and hang on.
Nonprofit group TED asks some of the world's most fascinating thinkers to share both ideas and reading lists. Here's a list of the nine books recommended by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.
It’s the nature of the NCAA tournament beast. Of the 11 Big East Conference teams that made the tournament field, two remain (Connecticut and Marquette). That’s the same number of Mountain West Conference teams still competing in the round of 16 (BYU and San Diego State). The field has already lost a No. 1 seed (Pittsburgh), and sees four teams from the bottom half of the seeding still breathing (No. 12 Richmond, two No. 11 seeds: Virginia Commonwealth and Marquette, and No. 10 Florida State). Oh, and Butler’s back. Here’s our rundown of Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups. YOUR PICKS: Who do you have moving into the Elite Eight?
The clash that led Wisconsin to limit the collective-bargaining rights of public-sector unions was fed by a mix of a tea-party-backed Republican resurgence, the fiscal crisis facing state governments, and the unions’ fight to preserve power. Here are seven questions the Wisconsin union protest raised about the role of unions in the US.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
The Arizona Legislature is considering an array of bills that would ease state gun control. The bills have generated controversy, since they were crafted only weeks after the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others. Among the gun-related bills working their way through the Republican-controlled legislature:
The United States has an image problem in the Middle East. Years of supporting regional dictators and occupying Iraq have undermined influence. The current upheaval provides a rare opportunity for the US to reset regional relations. For years, US strategic interests, such as securing access to oil, counting allies in the fight against terror, or countering Iranian influence, trumped anemic calls in Washington for reform. But it is actually a US strategic interest to stand up for democracy, as open countries are inherently more prosperous, capable of upholding rule of law, and stable in the long-term. Initiating military action in Libya makes a transparent vision for engagement in the region imperative. Foreign policy expert Adam Hinds lists six decisive steps President Obama must take.
One year ago, President Barack Obama signed a sweeping health-care law to fulfill a long-standing Democratic pledge to ensure health-care coverage for all Americans. Passage of the law was a major legislative victory for Obama and helped change the political landscape, but not always in the way Democrats had hoped. Republicans strongly opposed the law and successfully worked public skepticism about it into sweeping election victories in November. Here's a look at the uncertain future of the health care law:
Much talent, many marriages, and great beauty. Such is the legend of Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at the age of 79. Taylor – indisputably one of the great actresses of Hollywood's golden era – attracted prodigious amounts of press coverage throughout her lengthy career. Here are a handful of the best books that chronicle her life.
While President Obama predicts US forces could disengage from Libya within the week, Senate hawks who pressed for military intervention watch closely to see that the mission's goals are fulfilled. Critics, including conservatives, say they are leading the nation into endless, costly wars. Here’s how the hawks respond – and what they say should happen next.
Mouthwash. Rice. A handful of quarters. What do these household items have in common? They constitute the perfect emergency-repair kit for gadgets. When device disasters strike and warranties turn their backs on you, it's time to get in touch with your inner MacGyver. So, here are eight low-tech solutions to high-tech disasters.
With Yemen in upheaval, US pundits have peddled inflated fears about the threat it poses. While it’s easy to identify risk factors, circumstances don’t spell the kind of chaos Americans most fear, nor do they validate US support for President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His unpopular government has little moral or logistical ground to stand on. After a violent government crackdown on protesters Friday, three key military leaders have defected to the opposition, in addition to numerous other diplomats and lawmakers. But this doesn’t necessarily spell a victory for democracy. Sheila Carapico, a professor of political science and international relations at The University of Richmond and American University in Cairo debunks six claims about the tumult in Yemen.
On March 17, The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973, an international rebuke of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s regime. But how far does the resolution go? Here are the four ways UN Resolution 1973 changes the conflict in Libya.
When the world’s third-largest economy is hit with its worst earthquake ever, a tsunami, and a subsequent nuclear crisis, the human and physical toll has been enormous. The disaster is also sending ripples through the world economy. Here is a look at four ways the Japanese crisis changes the investment landscape:
In recent weeks, the price of a barrel of oil has stayed at about $100 a barrel, and gasoline prices have been edging closer to $4 a gallon. The costs are apparently due to events half a world away, in the Middle East. Even though plenty of oil is around, there is fear of further disruptions, and consumers, business people, and politicians have all been making adjustments. Here are eight ways that higher energy prices are starting to affect America.
The proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile presents the Obama administration with a major anti-trust dilemma. Federal regulators will consider several factors to determine whether to allow the two telecom competitors to merge: