CBO Growing economy to help budget deficit shrink to lowest level since

by Stephen OhlemacHer, The Associated Press Posted Jan 26, 2015 2:18 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CBO: Growing economy to help budget deficit shrink to lowest level since Obama took office FILE – In this March 4, 2014 file photo, copies of President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget are set out for distribution on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Congressional Budget Office says the federal budget deficit will shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office. CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That’s slightly less than last year’s $483 billion deficit. As a share of the economy, CBO says this year’s deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) WASHINGTON – Solid economic growth will help the federal budget deficit shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office, according to congressional estimates released Monday.The Congressional Budget Office also projects a 14 per cent drop in the number of U.S. residents without health insurance, largely because of Obama’s health law.In a report released Monday, CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That’s slightly less than last year’s $483 billion deficit.The official scorekeeper of Congress projects solid economic growth for the next few years, with unemployment dropping slightly.“In CBO’s estimation, increases in consumer spending, business investment and residential investment will drive the economic expansion this year and over the next few years,” the report said.CBO also cited wage increases, rising wealth and the recent decline in oil prices.For future years however, CBO issued a warning: Beyond 2018, deficits will start rising again as more baby boomers retire and enrol in Social Security and Medicare. By 2025, annual budget deficits could once again top $1 trillion, unless Congress acts.At that point, Social Security benefits would account for one-quarter of all federal spending, said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf.“The underlying point is that we have a handful of very large federal programs that provide benefits to older Americans,” Elmendorf said. “And with the rising number of older Americans and a rising cost of health care, those programs get much more expensive.”CBO says the number of U.S. residents without health insurance will drop from 42 million last year to 36 million this year, largely because of Obama’s health law. These numbers don’t include people who are in the U.S. illegally, who are ineligible for subsidies under the health law.The report says 19 million people will have health insurance because of the law, which could make it harder for congressional Republicans to make good on promises to repeal it.Obama inherited an economy in recession when he took office. The annual deficit topped $1 trillion for each of his first four years in office, including a record $1.4 trillion in 2009.As a share of the economy, CBO says this year’s deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years.The federal budget deficit became a big issue during Obama’s early years in office. In 2011, Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal that resulted in significant spending cuts at many government agencies. At the start of 2013, Obama persuaded Congress to further address the deficit by raising taxes on top earners.The White House said Monday that Congress still has more to do. “CBO’s longer-term budget and economic projections confirm the need for Congress to act to strengthen our economy for the middle class while putting our debt and deficits on a sustainable trajectory, including by making the investments that will accelerate economic growth and generate good new jobs for our workers to fill,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said in a statement.Declining budget deficits, however, could reduce pressure on Congress to continue addressing the government’s finances.“Over the last few years as deficits have fallen, so too has the effectiveness of Republican rhetoric about a ‘big government’ boogeyman,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Now is the time for Republicans to join with Democrats to invest in constructive programs that help middle-class Americans climb the ladder and achieve the American dream.”Republicans, however, signalled that they aren’t done cutting spending.“Thanks to Republicans’ efforts to cut spending this year’s deficit is projected to be smaller, but in order to balance the budget we must address the true drivers of our debt,” said Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Real, robust economic growth won’t occur until we solve our government’s spending problem.”CBO projects that the economy will grow at an annual rate of 3 per cent in both 2015 and 2016. In later years, however, CBO projects slower economic growth as more baby boomers retire and the labour force grows more slowly than it did in the 1980s and 1990s.CBO projects the unemployment rate will gradually decrease to 5.3 per cent in 2017. It is now 5.6 per cent.“CBO’s report is important, but it only tells us part of the story,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee. “What we must never forget is that tens of millions of Americans today are struggling to keep their heads above water economically while the disparity between the rich and everyone else is growing wider every day.”The budget agency bases its budget projections on current law, assuming that temporary provisions will be allowed to expire. However, many temporary laws are routinely extended, including dozens of temporary tax breaks and a provision that prevents steep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.Future budget deficits would be higher if those provisions are continued. For example, if dozens of temporary tax breaks are extended, they would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.___Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap read more

FBI releases CCTV footage of Navy Yard shooter

first_imgTHE FBI has released footage from the shooting at the Washington DC Navy Yard which left 13 people – including the shooter – dead.The video from the morning of 16 September shows 34-year-old Aaron Alexis driving into the Navy Yard and then walking into the building armed with a shotgun. Alexis was able to enter the building as he was working as a contractor and had a valid pass.The FBI said today there are “multiple indicators” that Alexis believed he was being controlled by low-frequency electromagnetic waves and was prepared to die in the attack.A message found in his bag said: “Ultra low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this.”He had carved messages saying “End to the torment!”, “Not what yall say!” and “Better off this way!” on the weapon he used. The FBI said that he had bought a shotgun, ammunition and a hacksaw two days before the shooting.The 34-year-old was a former reservist in the Navy who was working as a defence contract employee.(Video: FBI/YouTube)Alexis shot 12 people dead in the space of just over an hour before he was killed by police at the scene. The mass shooting was the deadliest on a military installation in the US since the Fort Hood shooting in Texas in 2009.President Barack Obama said the shooting was a “cowardly act” and said military troops should not have to confront danger at home.Around 3,000 people work at the sprawling complex, which oversees the building and buying of warships and combat systems for the US. The US Navy said on Monday that it wants more rigorous background checks to be carried out on all employees in future.Timeline released by the FBI into the shooting on 16 September: 7:53 am – Alexis’ rental car, a blue Toyota Prius with New York licence plates, entered Parking Garage number 28 at the Washington Navy Yard, located directly across from Building 197.8:08 am – Alexis exited Parking Garage number 28 on foot carrying a backpack. Alexis entered Building 197 and proceeded to the lift.8:09 am – Alexis exited the lift on the fourth floor and entered the men’s bathroom carrying a bag and a clipboard.8:15 am – Alexis crossed the hallway into the 4 West area of Building 197 with shotgun, but without the bag or a clipboard.8:16 am – Alexis shot the first victim in the 4 West area of Building 197.8:17 am – First 911 call is received from the fourth floor of Building 197.8:20 am – Alexis left the fourth floor using the stairs and entered the third floor.8:28 am – Alexis appeared on the first floor.8:57 am – Alexis returned to the third floor.9:25 am- Police officers shoot and kill Alexis on the third floor.Aaron Alexis entered Navy Yard with a shotgun > More details of ‘horrific’ Washington Navy Yard shooting emerge > Washington Navy Yard shooter was former serviceman, police confirm >last_img read more

The Garth Brooks ship leaves tonight but city manager wont budge on

first_imgUpdated 22.45pmTHERE IS STILL no sign that the Dublin city manager will renege on his decision not to grant a license for two out of five Garth Brooks concerts.However, councillors this evening still voted narrowly in favour of all five concerts going ahead.Speaking at the start of the council’s meeting, Owen Keegan again stressed “an event licence decision made under the Planning & Development Act cannot be amended or appealed”.“Dublin City Council hopes that Garth Brooks will avail of the licence that has been granted and plays the three shows,” he said.“Of course the City Council has sympathy for those ticket holders who purchased tickets for the shows on Monday and Tuesday and would hope that these two shows could be facilitated at some stage in the future.”Lord Mayor Christy Burke noted that “the ship leaves tonight with the material for the stage”, but if all five nights are not going ahead, Garth Brooks will stick to his guns and pull out of the remaining three nights.Burke stressed that he had attempted to find another venue for the concerts, but that it is not possible for ‘logistical reasons’, and that he worked over the weekend “not whining or moaning” in an attempt to find a resolution to the issue.‘As Lord Mayor, if I sit back and do nothing, I am hung out to dry, if I propose something, I am hung out to dry,’ he said.He said that he raised the issue with the government ministers but that their “hands are tied under law”. Burke speaking this evening. Source: Dublin City CouncilBurke called for a revision of the current planning laws, calling them “old fashioned, outdated, and unfair”, something which the council agreed to be looked at in future.He also handed to Keegan a petition from Ballybough residents who are calling for the gigs to go ahead.Many councillors this evening said that the decision should be upheld.John Lyons of the People Before Profit Alliance pleaded his fellow councillors to get “some perspective”.“We can’t be bullied in any way, shape, or form,” he told the chamber, “and by Garth Brooks? Seriously?”He highlighted that the council has other issues to deal with – “there are six people being made homeless a day in this city”.Labour’s Rebecca Moynihan echoed Lyons’ call for councillors not to be “bullied”, and said that the council had “made a very fair and balanced decision that facilitated both the residents and the promoters”.She claimed there would have been no argument if a similar decision had been made on an act like Swedish House Mafia.“Astronomical” damageHowever, independent Mannix Flynn warned that the damage to Ireland’s reputation could be “astronomical” if the gigs do not go ahead.“For a country that prides itself globally on our love of music, it sends out a detrimental signal,” he said, and while noting that the decision on the gigs will have to be upheld, that the “promoters gambled away the reputation of the country.”This was echoed by Sinn Féin’s Jonathan Dowdall, who said that Ireland’s “international reputation is at stake”. He added that he has been indicated with calls from concerned local businesses who have put extra staff on to accommodated the extra concerts.Fine Gael councillors called on Garth Brooks to “get off his high horse” and to play the three concerts “if he’s serious about his Irish fans”.Earlier today, representatives of Dublin’s hospitality sector today called on the residents of areas around Croke Park to “put their country first” and drop their objections to the five Garth Brooks gigs.Councillors voted on a range of emergency motions on the issue of licensing this evening, including passing one to ask for the conditions of the licensing to be reconsidered.Read: ‘Put your country first, let Garth Brooks play’ >More: Garth Brooks concert debacle has “major impact on Ireland’s reputation” >last_img read more