Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:1. The Washington Post reports: “A U.S. debt default could rock the global economy at a dangerously vulnerable time, with growth already slowing in the Asian juggernauts of China and India even as signs emerge that Europe is failing to prevent its own debt crisis from spreading into its biggest economies.”
2. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Financial markets on Monday began taking seriously the prospect of a downgrade of the U.S.’s triple-A credit rating, which it has held for nearly a century.”
3. In a nationally-televised address last night, President Obama said that if Congress does not agree to a long-term debt-ceiling increase, the country risks “sparking a deep economic crisis.”
4. In his speech, the president endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s one-step proposal for lowering the deficit and raising the debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner, in a speech following President Obama’s, offered a two-step approach.
5. Washington’s inability to get anything done should not come as a surprise. Gerald Seib says that it is the direct result of “an unresolved debate over the size of government and the growing hyper-partisanship of Congress, particularly the House of Representatives.”
6. New York Times columnist David Brooks, ever the optimist, thinks that President Obama’s ill-tempered performance on Friday caused the Congressional leadership to take charge of the negotiations and that they will work something out now that the White House is out of the picture.
7. President Obama’s job approval rating continues its grim slide. The Gallup Poll shows last week’s average at 43% approval, tied for the lowest weekly average approval rating of his presidency so far.
8. The Washington Post reports: “Tens of thousands (of Somalis), mostly women and children, are on the move, amid the worst famine in a generation. Somalis have endured two decades of civil war and two consecutive seasons of failed rains. Now, after their livestock and crops have died, and with their babies suffering from malnutrition and food prices skyrocketing, they have given up any pretense that they can survive on their own.”
9. Rick Perry’s seeming endorsement of New York State’s new gay marriage law is causing some consternation among social conservatives around the country. Mr. Perry is widely expected to announce his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination in the latter half of August.
10. Veteran Texas journalist Paul Burka has written an open letter to the New York/DC Media establishment providing some tips to understanding Texas Governor Rick Perry. It’s well worth reading.
11. The Republican Party’s 2012 presidential primary and caucus calendar remains in flux, as some states try to move up the batting order to enhance their influence over the eventual choice. The fluctuations are giving party leaders headaches.
12. The wealth gap between whites and minorities has risen to a historic high, according to new census data analysed by the Pew Research centre. Falling home prices more acutely affected the net worth of African American and Hispanic households.
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