Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.
The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.
Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.
Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.
There was one little-noticed part of this week's announcement about the $25 billion national mortgage settlement. North Carolina's banking commissioner, Joseph Smith Jr., will take over a new role and serve as independent monitor. He'll oversee the five banks which agreed to new mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure standards.
In January of last year, snow blanketed more than 42 percent of the country. Last month, it was just under 13 percent. The warm weather has lowered our heating bills and created a bit of an economic boost.
After two brutally long winters, the temperatures this year have been positively balmy. In the Washington, D.C., area, they've hovered in the 50s for much of the past two and a half months. Area landscapers, whose schedules are usually pretty lean this time of year, are busier. Take Chuck Dod Landscaping, which is building a stone wall in the backyard of a home in Mclean, Va.