---- — US budget deficit tops $1 trillion for a fourth straight year
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has now spent $1 trillion more than it’s taken in for four straight years.
The Treasury Department confirmed yesterday what was widely expected: The deficit for the just-ended 2012 budget year — the gap between the government’s tax revenue and its spending — totaled $1.1 trillion. Put simply, that’s how much the government had to borrow.
It wasn’t quite as ugly as last year.
Tax revenue rose 6.4 percent from 2011 to $2.45 trillion. And spending fell 1.7 percent to $3.5 trillion. As a result, the deficit shrank 16 percent, or $207 billion.
A stronger economy meant more people had jobs and income that generated tax revenue. Corporations also contributed more to federal revenue than in 2011.
Justice Dept. to let recognized tribes possess eagle feathers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department said yesterday it is going to allow members of federally recognized Indian tribes to possess eagle feathers, although that’s a federal crime.
This is a significant religious and cultural issue for many tribes, who were consulted in advance about the policy the department announced.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and other federal wildlife laws criminalize the killing of eagles, which are listed as either endangered or threatened, and possession of feathers and bird parts, but the Constitution and federal laws also give tribes local sovereignty for self-government.
Under the new Justice Department policy, tribal members will not be prosecuted for wearing or carrying federally protected birds, bird feathers or parts. They also may pick up feathers found in the wild as long as they do not disturb federally protected birds or nests. Giving, lending or trading feathers or bird parts among tribe members, without any other compensation, also will be allowed.
Reports: Apple to reveal smaller iPad on Oct. 23
Apple Inc. is set to reveal a smaller, cheaper version of the iPad at an event on Oct. 23, according to several reports published yesterday.
The reports from Bloomberg News, Reuters and the AllThingsD blog are based on unnamed sources “familiar with the plans.”
Apple Inc. hasn’t said anything about a smaller tablet, a concept company founder Steve Jobs derided two years ago. But company-watchers have assumed for months that an “iPad mini” will appear before the holiday season.
The screen is reportedly about half the size of the iPad’s, which measures 9.7 inches diagonally. Analysts speculate the starting price of the device could be about $299.
Letters show Ryan asking for fed funds
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is a fiscal conservative, champion of small government and critic of federal handouts. But as a congressman in Wisconsin, Ryan lobbied for tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his constituents for the kinds of largess he’s now campaigning against, according to an Associated Press review of 8,900 pages of correspondence between Ryan’s office and more than 70 executive branch agencies.
For 12 years in the House, Ryan wrote to federal agencies supporting expansion of food stamps in his Wisconsin district. He supported city officials and everyday constituents who sought stimulus grants, federally guaranteed business loans, grants to invest in green technology and money under the health care law he opposes.
On the campaign trail, Ryan has called those kinds of handouts big-government overreaching. He tells crowds he supports smaller government and rails against what he calls President Barack Obama’s wasteful spending, including the president’s $800 billion stimulus program. Ryan renewed his criticism about stimulus spending in Thursday night’s vice presidential debate.