President Obama walks to the White House after a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce on Feburary 7 in Washington. (AFP/Getty/Tim Sloan)
–Our colleague Tony Karon writes Egypt’s democracy movement is in a holding pattern as the regime digs in and the Obama administration lines up behind Omar Suleiman.
–More (likely) details from Obama’s upcoming budget trickle out: The administration wants to widen the pool of wages on which companies must pay unemployments taxes on to ease the burden of overladen state budgets.
–Senators Durbin, Conrad, Warner, Chambliss, Coburn and Crapo hope to revive some form of the Simpson-Bowles deficit proposal.
–Florida governor Rick Scott rolls out his Tea Party budget at a Tea Party rally. The numbers are eye-popping: 6,700 state-worker layoffs, $3.3 billion in cuts to education, and, budget shortfalls aside, $1 billion in property tax cuts and $1.5 billion in corporate tax cuts over two years. There’s more.
–Eric Ostermeier on unemployment and reelection:
The deciding factor of the electorate may not be the unemployment rate per se, but the trajectory and pace of its decline.
For example, Ronald Reagan got reelected in a landslide in 1984 with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, while George H.W. Bush was defeated in 1992 with a nearly identical 7.4 percent rate. Rates were also declining for both presidents.
The difference, of course, was that unemployment had peaked in December of 1982 in Reagan’s first term – or 23 months before Election Day.
The recession under Bush Sr. saw the jobless rate peak in June of 1992 – or just five months before the election.
–Jim Jones, speaking freely in Israel, sets some divine expectations for Obama:
“I’m of the belief that had God appeared in front of President Obama in 2009 and said if he could do one thing on the face of the planet, and one thing only, to make the world a better place and give people more hope and opportunity for the future, I would venture that it would have something to do with finding the two-state solution to the Middle East,” Jones said.
–How to make $18.5 million in two years: “relationship banking.”
–And not an Onion headline: Detroit mayor says no plans for RoboCop statue.