Budget and economic news roundup

December 9, 2010

Here’s a roundup of this morning’s must-read budget and economic stories:

According to The Washington Post and Politico the Senate could take up the package to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax laws today. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at who is supporting the package, and who is not, and some things the Senate could add to it. According The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, economist Mark Zandi approves of the tax deal. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) says the package will pass, despite the vocal opposition from many on the Democratic side of the aisle.

Included in the tax package is a plan to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. Do these benefits stimulate the economy? Bloomberg BusinessWeek says yes, while Investor’s Business Daily and The Wall Street Journal say no.

The House narrowly passed a $1.09 trillion omnibus spending package yesterday that will fund the government through fiscal year 2011. Despite the achievement Politico admonished Congress for its budget failures: “[T]he collapse of the process this year has reached a scale not seen before. No budget resolution was even considered on the House or Senate floors last spring, and not one of the dozen annual appropriations bills that fund Cabinet departments has been sent to the president.”

Also yesterday, the Senate voted down a plan to give $250 to each Social Security recipient. The plan was to make up for the fact that beneficiaries will not be receiving a cost-of-living increase this year.

Politico reports that, just a month after running on a platform of cutting government waste and spending, some Republicans are having second thoughts about banning earmarks.

Hoover Institution fellows John Cogan and John Taylor explain in The Wall Street Journal why the 2009 stimulus failed to improve the economy.

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