Morning Political Note: Jan. 24

If you have the time and the inclination, the Washington Post breaks down the budget: ( ).

Al Hunt's Wall Street Journal column is intended to stiffen the spine of Democrats who are afraid to take the Republicans on on the tax cut issue: "The White House and Republicans are winning this tax fight in the short term. The Kennedy proposals scare more than few Democrats: The president is not going to capitulate, so why draw the issue, the Nervous Nellies proclaim."

"So, why? Simple: because it's right and ultimately good politics. In this week's Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll, the public, by a decisive margin, would rather delay tax cuts for the wealthy than reduce domestic spending."

And Hunt suggests Greenspan get asked today whether he still supports triggers for future tax cuts to peg them to surpluses.

The Economy

Bob Novak chastizes the White House for appointing too many accomodationists to the board that just voted to give United Airlines machinists a big raise, and sees in this deed potential doom for the the airline industry, as well as signs that the Administration's domestic policy operation is soft and incompetent — to the point that Novak suggests he and other conservatives are nostalgic for the way Clinton buddy Bruce Lindsey handled airline matters. ( )

Today's New York Times story on the economy is upbeat, with consumer spending, mortgage rates, and tax cuts giving cause for optimism, and maybe tamping down demand for a stimulus bill from Washington. ( )

The Wall Street Journal front-pages the news that gas prices are becoming more unstable, which means price increases are distinctly possible in an election year.

Bleak's in the house: the Wall Street Journal blares: "The growing number of unemployment compensation claims is threatening to fully deplete state unemployment trust funds for the first time in nearly a decade."

Legislative Agenda

The Wall Street Journal says Speaker Hastert assumes that campaign finance reformers are going to get the signatures necessary to force a floor vote in the House and "[i]n preparation for the floor fight ahead, the House GOP is expected to devote a portion of the party's coming annual retreat to strategizing on how to defeat the reform bill in today's Enron environment."

USA Today has a good story on the various hot-button environmental issues likely to pop up in the next few months, complete with a nifty chart that shows up well online. ( )

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