The One O’Clock Review Of The News

political-newsKey news articles, opinion pieces, and reports to improve our understanding of the political landscape:

New Jersey: Booker Says Lautenberg Has ‘Got a Decision to Make’

Newark Mayor Cory Booker said Monday morning that Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg has “got a decision to make” on whether to retire.

The comment, made on CNN’s “Starting Point,” is acknowledgment that the Senate field is far more complicated than he projected during his Senate exploratory announcement. Booker’s candidacy as it stands is a primary challenge of a longtime Democratic incumbent. Lautenberg has yet to announce his retirement, and few in New Jersey have any idea on what he will do.

“I want to give him the space to make his own decision,” Booker said. “I’ve announced my intention to run, but the reality is we’ve got a good Senator. He’s been loyal. He’s been there for a long time. And I think he’s got a decision to make.”  Click here to continue reading this story.

New Jersey Solar Sector Stalls and Falls

New Jersey’s solar sector is slowing to a crawl.

In December, preliminary figures from the state Office of Clean Energy indicate that just nine megawatts of new arrays were installed in New Jersey that month, a significant drop-off from the rapid pace of previous months, when 42 megawatts were developed in October 2011 alone.

The decline reflects a steep drop in the prices that owners of solar systems earn for the electricity their arrays produce, which have fallen from a high in the mid-$600 range 18 months ago to as low as $70 in recent days. That collapse has dried up investment in New Jersey’s solar market, once second behind only California in the number of solar installations.  Click here to continue reading this story.

Just 8% Now Say They Are Tea Party Members

Views of the Tea Party movement are at their lowest point ever, with voters for the first time evenly divided when asked to match the views of the average Tea Party member against those of the average member of Congress.  Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.   Click here to continue reading this story.

13 Tax Increases in 2013

New Year’s Day was tough for taxpayers. Thirteen tax increases kicked in.

The deal that Congress and President Obama struck that finally—but only partially—avoided the fiscal cliff resulted in seven tax increases.

Those hikes combined with six tax increases from Obamacare that also began on New Year’s Day.

13 Tax Increases That Started January 1, 2013 Click here to continue reading this story.

The ‘hell no’ caucus

Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, a veteran of two wars and with a pair of Harvard degrees, got a pleasant surprise last year that helped him win a very competitive Republican primary — and then a very easy general election. It was a FedEx envelope full of checks that he didn’t ask for, from a group he hardly knew — the Club for Growth.

Tucked inside that envelope and several to come were $300,000 in checks from Club members, enough to help lift the 35-year-old former Army captain from obscurity — and 47 percentage points down in his first internal poll — to the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building. The Republican’s district, the Arkansas 4th, is home to 33 rural counties — and a conservative America that the media and much of the Republican establishment are struggling to comprehend.  Click here to continue reading this story.

The Slow Dismantling of Obamacare

Things aren’t going so well for Obamacare.

Even Democrats in Congress aren’t huge fans any more. It seems after passing the law and finding out what’s in it, the allure has faded—so much so that Congress actually repealed part of Obamacare in the fiscal cliff deal last week.

That’s right—part of Obamacare has been completely undone. It was the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, essentially a new entitlement program for long-term care. But this new government program for people who end up needing assisted living or other long-term services was poorly designed and bound to fail,  as Heritage’s Alyene Senger explains.

“CLASS was a bad deal for both taxpayers (who would likely have had to bail out the program) and beneficiaries (who would be better served by choosing among private options),” Senger wrote.  Click here to continue reading this story.

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