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Political rift was tipping point in S&P warning

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For the past 928 days, Standard & Poor’s has tracked the relentless deterioration of government finances. On Monday, it made a move that could turn out to be one of its boldest calls yet. That’s when S&P announced that it was revising the credit outlook for…

Obama off to ‘friend’ Facebook in person

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama heads to Facebook’s headquarters on Wednesday to tout his budget cuts to followers of the social media powerhouse, which he also hopes to use to help get reelected. Obama, whose audacious 2008 White House bid leaned heavily on social networking sites, will hype his “Shared…

Debt warning rocks US economy

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has cut the outlook on US sovereign debt to “negative”, raising doubts about Washington’s ability to tackle its huge debt and fiscal deficits. The move, the first time S&P has ever placed such a warning on the US’s gold-standard AAA rating, raised…

Live mic catches Obama’s candor: Paul Ryan is ‘not on the level’

In what he reportedly thought was a private conversation at a fundraiser Thursday night, President Barack Obama called into question the fiscal seriousness of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the GOP’s budget plan that dramatically cuts government spending under the guise of deficit reduction. “When…

CBO: Budget deal cuts 2011 deficit by $352 million, not $38 billion promised

‘Budget cuts’ may even amount to $3.3 billion increase WASHINGTON – The budget deal struck last Friday to avert a government shutdown cuts the fiscal 2011 deficit by just $352 million, not the $38 billion touted by both parties, according to the Congressional Budget Office. A CBO analysis found Wednesday…

Obama proposes $4 trillion in deficit cuts

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama has unveiled a $4 trillion deficit reduction drive and savaged Republican plans that he said would reward the rich and fracture America’s social compact. Obama laid out his vision in a speech at George Washington University, aiming to prepare the ground for short-term…

China posts first quarterly trade deficit in 7 years

SHANGHAI – China said it had posted its first quarterly trade deficit in seven years, despite a narrow surplus in March, as rising commodity prices pushed manufacturers’ costs higher. China recorded a small trade deficit of $1.02 billion for the first quarter, its first since the beginning of 2004. But…

Exclusive: Grayson says GOP ‘taking the whole country hostage’

WASHINGTON – With a government shutdown less than 12 hours away, progressive firebrand and former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on Friday afternoon compared the budget negotiations to the showdown that occurred last December over tax cuts. “Once again, the Republican Party leadership in Washington is taking the whole country hostage,”…

US trade gap hits seven-month high

WASHINGTON – The US trade deficit struck a seven-month high in January as imports from China surged and oil prices rose, overwhelming a solid gain in exports, official data showed Thursday. The United States started 2011 with a 15.1 percent jump in its trade gap to $46.3 billion, the highest…

Schumer: Cantor ‘flat-out wrong’ for pushing Social Security cuts

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tore into House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Wednesday for suggesting that Social Security needs to be cut in order to balance the budget. “Rep. Cantor’s claim that we need to cut seniors’ Social Security checks today to balance the budget is flat-out…

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