Gun control gets treated as a Second Amendment issue, but it’s also about dollars and cents. Armed guards at schools? The proposal initially floated by the National Rifle Association would involve some serious costs borne by taxpayers. Banning weapons outright would impose costs on manufacturers and retailers, possibly causing job losses. The package of measures announced on Wednesday by President Obama would cost $500 million, according to the Associated Press. Those expenses come in part from putting 1,000 police officers in schools and training health care workers to better address any psychological problems experienced by young people.
Of course, there’s also the mandatory background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Obama can act on his own by signing 23 executive orders, but the big ticket items must survive a skeptical Congress. The controversial proposal faces an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, where the package’s chief opponent, the National Rifle Association, wields powerful influence with the Republican House majority. And while it’s easy to calculate the cost of what Obama has proposed, it’s much, much harder to forecast the price tag of the status quo. - Read more at The Associated Press
FEDERAL RESERVE: ECONOMY ENDS YEAR STRONG The recovering housing market, strengthening auto sales and solid holiday shopping season all gave the economy a nice boost to finish 2012. According to the latest Federal Reserve “Beige Book,” the Fed’s regional banks saw “modest or moderate” growth in the final weeks of last year. According to the survey, consumer spending increased in every district, auto sales were stronger in 10 districts and home sales increased in nine districts. However, it wasn’t all good news as uncertainty over the fiscal cliff spooked businesses and caused employers in some parts of the country to delay hiring. - Read more at the Associated Press
DEBT LIMIT DEBATE (OFFICIALLY) STARTS NEXT WEEK Prepare for battle. The dreaded debt ceiling debate will officially kick off next week with a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday at 1 p.m. "This hearing will examine the role and purpose of the debt limit, review past practices regarding its increase, and explore solutions that ensure responsible management of the government's finances,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp R-MI, said in the hearing announcement.
- See the hearing advisory here