Perhaps afraid of tarnishing their hard-earned obstructionist cred, congressional Republicans look like they're heating up for another big fight over the budget. Tea Party legislators are pushing a plan that would cap agency appropriations at almost $20 billion below the $1.047 trillion limit agreed to last August as part of the Budget Control Act. This cap is already substantial and will force cuts or freeze spending in many government agencies—imagining Congress trying to agree on where to shave off an additional $20 billion the federal budget is headache-inducing.
All eyes were on the Last Frontier last night for the results of the crucial Alaska caucuses—widely regarded as make-or-break for, depending on whom you asked, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, or Newt Gingrich. After Romney managed to squeak past Rick Santorum late in the night with a three-point lead, there can no longer be a doubt that he has the nomination in the bag. No president since 1960 has ever won a general election without votes from Alaska, so Romney’s surprise win could truly be a game-changer.
This week's a big one for the future of Europe, as Germany debates supporting the fiscal pact agreed to in Brussels on March 2 and investors sign onto a Greek bond swap that could write off half of the country's €177 billion debt.
Wages and salaries rose in January by 0.4 percent—up 5 percent from last year—but that extra money has yet to leave consumers' pockets and get back into the economy. Other good economic news was released yesterday, too: Filings for unemployment benefits are at a four-year low. Usually, when wages rise, consumer confidence also goes up, giving the economy a big boost. That hasn't happened yet this time.