Driving the conversation: CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller marked a grim milestone for President Obama in a post on the network’s website last night. “The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion,” Knoller writes. “It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.”
Byron York takes on a bit of conservative conventional wisdom on the budget in his Tuesday column. “Spending, not entitlements, created huge deficit”, the headline states.
The bottom line is that with baby boomers aging, entitlements will one day be a major budget problem. But today’s deficit crisis is not one of entitlements. It was created by out-of-control spending on everything other than entitlements. The recent debt-ceiling agreement is supposed to put the brakes on that kind of spending, but leaders have so far been maddeningly vague on how they’ll do it.
Disarray in Tripoli: Saif Al-Islam, the son of ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, strolled defiantly through the lobby of a Tripoli hotel Tuesday morning, despite widespread reports that he had been captured. The Transitional National Council, Libya’s interim rebel government, had claimed they had Al-Islam in their custody, which the International Criminal Court confirmed.
No, I don’t think you do: Vice President Joe Biden told Chinese students that he “fully understand[s]” the country’s one-child policy. During a Monday speech at Sichuan University, Biden said:
Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.
China has often engaged in forced abortions and forced sterilization as part of its one-child policy. It has also led to a critical, potentially catastrophic, gender imbalance in the country.
Big Labor’s new super PAC: After pushing back against the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the AFL-CIO has apparently decided that it will partake in the new, less restrictive campaign finance regime. It announced Monday that it will create a new super PAC, which will be able to raise unlimited amounts of money to bolster Big Labor’s favorite candidates in the run-up to 2012.
It’s about time: The Federal Communications Commission officially expunged the Fairness Doctrine from the Federal Register on Monday. The regulation, which mandated equal broadcast time for all political views, has been on the books for 80 years, but has not been enforced since 1987. “The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago,” said FCC commissioner Julius Genachoski. “I am pleased we are removing these and  other obsolete rules from our books.”