Tales from the Trail

Is deficit debate a new political dawn?

RTR2GF2D_Comp1-150x150RTR2GF2D_Comp-150x150Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles think it may be a new day in American politics, one where politicans who hike taxes and alter Social Security stay in office.

Simpson, a former Republican senator, tells MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he sees evidence of change whenever he strolls through an airport: “I can tell you, we used to get lots of signals. I get more thumbs up now than other digits.”

The pair, co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, have proposed cutting the U.S. budget deficit by reducing defense spending, eliminating tax breaks, hiking the gasoline tax and altering Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

HOUSE/Those kinds of measures have been a presciption for political suicide up to now, although the recommendations call for lower tax rates overall.

But with voters agonizing over joblessness, the deficit and growing economic powers like China, Simpson and Bowles believe the public wants to hear straight talk about the country’s problems and the steps needed to set things straight.

Bejeebers! A scary fiscal outlook and Tea Party politics

Tackling huge budget deficits and growing debt is essential for the United States to avoid a financial market crisis that would push interest rates higher and severely damage the U.S. economy, many economists have warned.

Compromise and statesmanship will be needed to cut spending and raise revenues to narrow the budget gap, and that might not be possible inUSA-ELECTIONS/TEAPARTY the current political environment, says at least one experienced budget expert.

“We’re certainly going to have a more fiscally conservative Congress next year,” Rudolph Penner, a former Congressional Budget Office director told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum.  “The Tea Party, if nothing else, has certainly moved both the Republicans and Democratic Party to the right.”

Protest at McCain’s Senate office leads to arrest of dozens

WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police arrested dozens of protesters, many in wheelchairs, at the Senate office of  presidential candidate John McCain on Tuesday while to Arizona Republican was in Florida campaigning about health care as well as raising money.rtr1zyqk.jpg

The activists demanded to talk to McCain about his lack of support for legislation that would help poor handicapped people stay in their homes and out of nursing facilities.

McCain is the only presidential aspirant who has not endorsed the bill, said Bob Kafka, a spokesman for ADAPT, an activist group that staged the protest. Democratic contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support the bill, he said.