Leaders Agree to Slash Budgets
Another G-20, another non-binding agreement: World leaders signaled at this weekend's summit in Toronto that yawning budget deficits—and not the continuing effects of the financial crisis—are now the most significant threat to world economies. The group of the world's wealthiest countries left the summit with a non-binding agreement to cut budget deficits in half by 2013, and stabilize the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product by 2016. The agreement is not exactly what President Obama was hoping for: He and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner entered the summit warning that relaxing government spending while economies are still faltering could trigger a double-dip recession. Obama alluded to the disagreement in a statement, saying, "We must recognize that our fiscal health tomorrow will rest in no small measure on our ability to create jobs today." Despite the president's summer of discontent and his sagging poll numbers, Peter Beinart writes that Obama's on an unbelievable winning streak, exceeding in 18 months what Clinton and Carter achieved in a combined 12 years.
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Senator Byrd Dies at 92
For the first time in 50 years, the U.S. Senate will be without Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Byrd, the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, died on Monday at the age of 92. "I am saddened that the family of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., tearfully announces the passing of the longest serving member of Congress in U.S. history," Byrd's office said in a statement. The senator was hospitalized last week for dehydration. Byrd served 50 years in the Senate and held virtually every major leadership post in that time. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and filibustered the civil-rights bill; later, he was one of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq. He had never lost in election since first running for statewide office 1946. Paul Begala remembers the man who rose from rural poverty to the pinnacle of power, and journeyed from racism to racial enlightenment.
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