Breakingviews

U.S. payroll tax fight shows faux fiscal restraint

February 14, 2012

Using seized mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fund a short extension of the tax cut was bad enough, but Congress is about to do worse. It’s ready to pay for another 10 months’ worth by adding $100 bln to the deficit. Politics and dogma are foiling needed discipline.

Gridlocked Congress might respond to docked pay

February 16, 2012

California now cuts lawmakers’ income if they don’t pass budgets on time. That could work in Washington, too, where a bill to the same effect was just introduced. As Wall Street knows, financial incentives are powerful. Many politicians would be loath to lose generous perks, too.