Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. The Wall Street Journal reports: “A third rating agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. government’s credit status if Congress failed to increase the nation’s borrowing limit by early August, increasing pressure on lawmakers and the Obama administration to reach a deficit-reduction deal.”
2. Five US Senators are reportedly close to offering up a deficit reduction package plan that would “achieve” as much as $6 trillion in savings over 10 years. Whether the plan will go anywhere is another question.
3. According to a new CBS News poll, roughly 70 per cent of all Americans believe that the debt ceiling should not be raised. About one-quarter think it should be raised.
4. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration floated a second stimulus trial balloon after the markets closed yesterday. Bloomberg reports that a payroll tax cut is under consideration as a means to jump-start hiring.
5. Yesterday’s OPEC meeting failed to produce agreement on raising production quotas amid rising prices and tight supplies. The meeting was a setback for Saudi Arabia and a win for its arch enemy, Iran.
6. The New York Times reports: “Iran declared Wednesday that it planned this year to triple production of its most concentrated form of nuclear fuel, expanding its manufacturing efforts to a mountainous, once secret nuclear site buried deep underground.”
7. Saudi cash has brought peace to the kingdom, for now. The Saudi royal family is spending $130 billion to effectively neutralize any opposition, with a good chunk going to religious “organisations.” All that cash is having its intended effect.
8. The cost of America’s intervention in Libya is running way over budget, to the consternation of Secretary Gates and others at the Pentagon. Meanwhile, America’s “secret” intervention in Yemen has ramped up dramatically, as the Saleh regime crumbles and tribal/civil war looms.
9. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is reportedly set to jump into the 2012 GOP presidential campaign. We’ll believe it when we see it. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry is “warming” to the idea of running for the GOP nomination. He’s been warming to it for about a decade.
10. GOP front-runner Mitt Romney is coming under attack from the right for his stance on the issue of “global warming.” He thinks it’s a serious problem. They don’t.
11. Democrats stepped up pressure on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to resign. He said he would not. As we noted a few days ago, one solution to the Weiner mess is for Albany legislators to make his Congressional District disappear through redistricting.
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