Posted by orrinj at 3:38 PM
WHICH IS ALSO KNOWN AS A GOOD START:
The Commerce Department said the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent mainly because companies restocked at a slower rate and the government slashed defense spending. [...]
Congressional Republicans seem determined to permit deep cuts to defense and domestic programs to kick in as scheduled March 1. And Americans are coming to grips with an increase in Social Security taxes that has begun to leave them with less take-home pay.
Government spending cuts and slower company restocking, which can fluctuate sharply, subtracted a combined 2.6 percentage points from GDP. Those two factors offset a 2.2 percent increase in consumer spending. And business spending on equipment and software rose after shrinking over the summer.
There are a lot more cuts coming.
White House press secretary Jay Carney laid the blame for a surprise economic contraction squarely at the feet of congressional Republicans Wednesday, saying economic threats during the "fiscal cliff" negotiations had prevented important defense spending.
Posted by orrinj at 3:27 PM
SIMPLE HUMAN DECENCY ISN'T THE ONLY THING THAT MOVES PEOPLE:
Perhaps the most significant and broadest shift has been in the class of conservative commentators.
* Sean Hannity said after the November election: "We've got to get rid of the immigration issue altogether. It's simple to me to fix it. I think you control the border first. You create a pathway for those people that are here. You don't say you've got to go home. And that is a position that I've evolved on. Because, you know what, it's got to be resolved."
* Around the same time, columnist Charles Krauthammer said much the same thing: "I've always been of the 'enforcement first' school, with the subsequent promise of legalization. I still think it's the better policy. But many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front. Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle."
* Mark Levin has been more hesitant. He said around the same time that the GOP's move toward immigration reform amounted to "race pandering" and that the party had "surrendered to the left's arguments and their agenda." But after interviewing Rubio last week, he sounded moved: "This is very fascinating to me," he said. "I still have a number of questions, but that's for another day."
* Rush Limbaugh took a similar tack Tuesday, toning down his strident criticism of comprehensive reform during an interview with Rubio. "You're meeting everybody honestly, forthrightly. You're meeting everyone halfway," Limbaugh told Rubio. But then he added: "Obama is seeking political victory. Obama doesn't care about enforcing existing law, so people say, why would he enforce anything new?"
* Hugh Hewitt, who opposed the 2007 comprehensive bill, said in a recent column that people should follow Rubio's lead. "Marco Rubio has credibility and the gift to cut through the noise and get regularization done. Listen to him. Do what he says. It isn't that complicated."