The US budget deficit for the current year will be about four times that of last year, reflecting government spending to ease the deep recession. The huge increase could hinder US President Barack Obama’s hopes of reforming health care, energy and education.
The deficit reflects government spending to bail out Wall Street and the banks, as well as Obama’s economic stimulus bill.
Obama, while acknowledging his reforms will cost large chunks of money, defends the deficit on the grounds that he inherited a massive amount of red ink from the previous administration.
The deficit is now forecast to climb by US$89 billion to US$1.84 trillion in the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, meaning the government will be borrowing US$0.46 for every US$1 needed to run the government under the Obama administration’s plan.
In one of the few positive signs to emerge in the period of deep global recession, the actual 2009 deficit was likely to be US$250 billion less than predicted because Congress is unlikely to provide another US$250 billion in financial bailout money.
Meanwhile, the White House proposed on Monday to raise nearly US$60 billion by closing tax loopholes including those related to the estate tax. It also revived a bid to cap deductions wealthy individuals can claim.
Funds raised from the estate tax and other changes would beef up a reserve fund of US$634 billion that Obama wants to use to revamp health care and expand insurance to tens of millions of Americans who lack it.
The proposals “take on what we believe are a series of unjustifiable loopholes, unjustifiable tax breaks that we simply can not afford,” said a senior administration official who could not be identified under the ground rules of a briefing for reporters.
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest