It’s hard not to get swept up in the election. With all the polls, speeches, ads, the ups, the downs, there’s so much to talk about.
We get it.
But we shouldn’t forget there are other political stories that deserve our attention.
What’s Congress doing, what’s the Supreme Court been up to, how about that global warming thing? All good questions.
Remember, the elections aren’t going anywhere, so let’s take a step back and look at some of the big political stories that we’ve forgotten about.
It was not too long ago that the president pledged to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent down to 28 per cent and reformulate the tax code to eliminate costly tax loopholes. Obama has already asked Congress to take up the measure, but don't hold your breath. While the bill may not be voted on this year, it's still interesting to take a look at all the commentary and criticism the move will likely generate.
Source: The New York Times
Sure, we hear a lot about Obamacare on the campaign trail, but we might have overlooked the fact that the Supreme Court will be taking up arguments on the healthcare bill come March. Beginning March 26, the Court will spend three days hearing arguments to make an ultimate ruling on the constitutionality of the healthcare law.
The Court will spend 90 minutes on the Anti-Injunction Act, 120 minutes on the law's individual mandate, 90 minutes on whether parts of the act can be invalidated and others left to stand, and an hour on the Medicaid expansion set by the law.
Source: CBS News
The Supreme Court will also hear arguments on a controversial affirmative action case that could dramatically change the college admissions process. The Court will decide whether affirmative action policies held by many universities and colleges is a violation of civil rights. Being the first affirmative action case since 2003, all eyes should be on the Court when they make their decision sometime in the fall.
Source: CBS News
With all the talk of gas prices and the Keystone Pipeline, the fact that Congress released an updated version of the Clean Energy Standard Act Thursday may have been overlooked. The new bill, a successor of past clean energy bills shot down in the Senate, will attempt to set new energy standards and incentivise the development of alternative energy. Given that the Congressional landscape has not changed, the fate of this bill is not certain. But it's still worth keeping an eye on.
What happened to these guys?
Since bursting onto the scene late last year, Occupy Wall Street and its variants have since died down. But in recent days, the movement has attempted to get back into the limelight with new rounds of protests. On Monday, hundreds of Occupiers gathered in cities across the country, in what they called their largest protest all year.
They're still worth our attention if for no other reason than to once and for all determine how much of an impact they had.
Source: The Huffington Post
Syria and Iran have gotten the brunt of our attention lately, but don't forget about Egypt and Libya.
The transitional government in Egypt is still having problems after taking control of the country from ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, not the least of which includes the recent fight with the U.S. over detained American non-profit workers. Meanwhile, fighting still continues in Libya, despite the death of Muammar Qaddafi, as the provisional government attempts to restore order in the country.
If you weren't paying attention, you might have missed that on Wednesday, North Korea agreed that it would suspend its nuclear and uranium enriching program. The move brings about at least some tempered optimism about improved relations with the isolated and politically volatile country. It's worth seeing how this continues to play out and how the new leader, Kim Jong Un will handle his responsibilities.
Source: The New York Times
And in other news out of the Korean peninsula, the free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States is expected to take effect on March 15, 2012. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the reduction of tariffs will add $10 to $12 billion to annual U.S. GDP and around $10 billion to annual merchandise exports to Korea. Being the most commercially significant trade agreement in 16 years, its worth staying tuned to the potential benefits.
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