The Super Committee, the Deficit and the Pentagon
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The so-called Super Committee has just over two weeks to complete a monumental reduction of America's deficit over the next 10 years. Will it achieve the "Grand Bargain" that eluded the President and House Speaker John Boehner? What if it fails? Also, a West Wing shake-up aims to right course ahead of re-election campaign, and YU55, a 1300-foot-long asteroid that will pass closer to Earth than the Moon tonight.
Banner image: (L-R) Naval Chief of Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill November 2, 2011 in Washington, DC about the future of the military services and the possible consequences of a massive cut in defense spending if the Congressional deficit reduction "Super Committee" fails to reach an agreement before November 23. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
West Wing Shake-up Aims to Right Course Ahead of Re-Election Campaign ()
There's been a major shakeup at the Obama White House. Chief of Staff William Daley has shifted day-to-day operations to a veteran Congressional staffer, Pete Rouse. Ezra Klein reports for the Washington Post.
What if the Super Committee Fails? ()
When six members of each party came out from behind closed doors last week, it appeared their Super Committee was deadlocked over spending cuts and taxes. Both sides want to reduce the deficit, but the deadline is just over two weeks away. If the Super Committee fails to make $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving Day, automatic spending cuts will be triggered across the board. Safety-net programs for the very poor will be exempt, though nothing else will be, which has triggered a raging controversy over the Defense Department, which is already planning reductions as Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. Pentagon supporters claim that further cuts would be "devastating." Will that ever be allowed to happen? Was the Super Committee designed to fail, so as to set up a fundamental debate for next year's Presidential campaign?
- Jared Bernstein: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, @econjared
- Stephen Moore: Wall Street Journal
- Max Boot: Council on Foreign Relations, @MaxBoot
- Gordon Adams: American University, @Gadams1941
Huge Asteroid Makes Earth Fly-By ()
About four football fields across, the asteroid YU55 might not be big enough to eliminate civilization, but if it struck Earth it could leave a crater six miles wide, which could turn in to a bubbling cauldron and spew enough dust to cool temperatures for years to come. Astronomers, who've been tracking it for six years, say that won't happen. But tonight, YU55 will pass closer to Earth than the Moon. In any case, its close call will provide a rare opportunity for scientists who study the origin of the Earth. Jon Giorgini is a senior analyst at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Solar System Dynamics Group.
- Jon Giorgini: Solar System Dynamics Group
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