Today’s Headlines

October 25, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Who’s In the News

The military can do more with less (Sen. Lindsey Graham, Politico)

As a member of Congress, I have strived to be a strong supporter of a robust national defense and a good steward of taxpayer dollars. But increasing budgetary pressures now are forcing us to ask whether the military can do more with less, and if so, how?  I believe we can reduce defense spending in a responsible manner through reform and efficiencies. America is on an unsustainable spending path that represents a real threat to our way of life, including our national security. So in these fiscally challenging times, we don’t have any other option than to put the defense budget on the table.

Smart Power

White House to Congress: Don’t cut any more than necessary (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

The White House laid out a detailed list of programs that it does not want Congress to cut, and threatened to veto any spending bills that slashed investment to programs it favors. “If the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical domestic priorities or national security through funding levels or language restrictions, contains earmarks, or fails to make the tough choices to cut where needed while maintaining what we need to spur long-term job creation and win the future, the President will veto the bill,” Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jack Lew wrote in an Oct. 19 letter to the leaders of the appropriations committees, obtained by The Cable.

Senators Outraged U.S. Borrowing Big From China While Also Giving It Aid (Jim Angle, Fox News)

China is one of the biggest economies in the world and grew at more than 9 percent over the last year. It also has loaned more than $1 trillion to the U.S. to fund its deficit-spending.  But at the same time, the U.S. sends foreign aid to China, which lawmakers of all stripes say is just plain nuts.”Why in the world would we be borrowing money and then turn around and giving it back to the countries that we’re borrowing it from?” Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said. “If they have enough of a surplus to loan us money, they have enough of a surplus to take care of their own needs.”

Lorne Gunter: Much foreign aid is useless, the rest is a scam (Lorne Gunter, National Post)

What is the goal of foreign aid? Oh sure, we say it is about emergency relief from natural disasters, such as tsunamis and droughts. Or we claim it’s about helping the world’s poor lift themselves out of poverty and despair. But as often as not, I think it is about assuaging our Western guilt…It makes it possible for us to turn on the TV, see reports from disaster areas or squalid shantytowns and give ourselves permission not to mourn because we’ve done our bit.  But more often than not, we are merely tossing hard-earned tax dollars into a swirling, downward drain. Our aid does little good because it goes to the wrong people or the wrong solutions.

Change Sought in Scope of Contingency Fund (Emily Cadei, CQ)

The State Department, in addition to its core budget request for fiscal 2012, also sought funding for a separate war-related account to cover what Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton described as “our extraordinary, temporary costs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”Senate appropriators, however, want to use the account to also fund operations taking place far beyond those three countries, including in Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Indonesia and Colombia.

Politics/Foreign Policy

My Tax and Spending Reform Plan (Rick Perry, Wall Street Journal)

The folks in Washington might not like to hear it, but the plain truth is the U.S. government spends too much. Taxes are too high, too complex, and too riddled with special interest loopholes. And our expensive entitlement system is unsustainable in the long run.  Without significant change quickly, our nation will go the way of some in Europe: mired in debt and unable to pay our bills.

Moderate Islamist Party Heads Toward Victory in Tunisia (David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times)

Tunisia’s moderate Islamist political party emerged Monday as the acknowledged leader in elections for a constitutional assembly and began talks to form a unity government with a coalition of liberals in a rare alliance that party leaders hailed as an inclusive model for countries emerging from the tumult of the Arab Spring.  By Monday afternoon, Tunisian liberal parties said they were entering discussions to form a government led by their Islamist rival, Ennahda, after it swept to a plurality of about 40 percent in preliminary vote.