A new Gallup survey found that 71 percent of Americans think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be ashamed of the way the United States has turned out. Even so, most Americans have a positive view of the red, white and blue. An overwhelming 85 percent of respondents said they are “extremely” or “very” proud to be an American. See the poll here
JUNE JOBS NUMBERS SUGGEST STEADY GROWTH
The U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs in June, about 30,000 more than economists had been expecting, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report released this morning.
The report also showed that employment gains in the last two months were much better than expected. April payrolls rose from 149,000 to 199,000 and the economy added 195,000 jobs in May, compared to the 175,000 previously reported.
The positive data reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its monetary stimulus program as early as September. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced two weeks ago that the Fed could slow its $85 billion a month in bond purchases with an eye toward stopping its “quantitative easing” altogether by mid-2014 if the economy continues to improve. Read more here and see the full jobs report here.
AMERICANS SPEND FOURTH OF JULY PROTESTING PRISM More than 100 rallies were held across the country Thursday to protest recent disclosures about the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs. Members of the movement, dubbed “Restore the Fourth,” say the government spy programs violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and want the data collection stopped. "It's important that we speak up and let our elected officials know that our rights are being violated," said Kyle Smeallie, a protester in San Francisco. Read more at CNN
IRS SCRUTINY WENT BEYOND POLITICAL IDEOLOGY The Internal Revenue Service has been embroiled in controversy for targeting groups based on their political leanings, but new information shows that the agency’s scrutiny had little to do with political ideology. Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times writes, “a closer look at the I.R.S. operation suggests that the problem was less about ideology and more about how a process instructing reviewers to ‘be on the lookout’ for selected terms was applied to any group that mentioned certain words in its application.” - Read more at The New York Times
WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE OBAMACARE DELAY The White House announced earlier this week that it will postpone for one year the mandate that businesses with 50 or more employees offer health care insurance to full-time workers, or pay a $2,000 penalty per employee. The delay raises “new questions about the fate of Obamacare that could define the 2014 mid-term elections,” write The Fiscal Times’s David Francis, Eric Pianin and Josh Boak, who analyze what the move means for Obama, Republicans and the economy. See more here