Obama's first budget to spend now, cut later; Chinese argue with Christie's auction house about bronzes; Hamas and Fatah seek unity in Egypt; Mexican drug arrests; and more
Top of the Agenda: Previewing Obama’s Budget
President Barack Obama's first budget, which he is scheduled to deliver to Congress today, will provide more details about how the new U.S. administration plans to tackle its ambitious agenda on the economy and foreign policy.
The Washington Post reports the plan, which will call for a budgetary expansion in the near-term but then longer-term cuts, is built on the assumption that Congress can resolve some politically contentious issues. For instance, the Post reports Obama's plan seeks to make permanent the president's tax cuts for the middle-class, and to pay for it using an infusion of cash from a politically controversial cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. The Wall Street Journal looks at another major outlay, for healthcare expansion, and says Obama's budget will propose tax increases on upper-income Americans and cuts in government spending--particularly on the Iraq war--to pay for it. The Post article reports, however, that some of the plans projected savings are based on an unrealistic premise that Washington would otherwise continue to spend $170 billion yearly on the Iraq war.
Reuters reports that overall, Obama will forecast a $1.75 trillion deficit this year--up from about $1.3 trillion last year, and representing over 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, the highest level since World War II. The article notes, however, that Obama has pledged to halve the deficit he inherited from President Bush within four years.
- A new Daily Analysis looks at some of the geopolitical implications of the United States running a large deficit.
PACIFIC RIM: U.S.-North Korea Tests
The director of the U.S. Defense Department's missile defense agency says the United States has successfully passed scenarios (Stratfor) testing its ability to use its missile defense systems to intercept missiles fired from North Korea. The Korea Times reports North Korea, meanwhile, has pressed ahead saying it will soon fire a "satellite" into orbit.
CHINA-U.S.: The BBC reports on a spat between Beijing and Christie's auction house in Paris over the planned sale of two bronze artifacts China says were illegally taken from the country 150 years ago.