Obama urges stopgap budget fix
Eager to buy time and avoid economic pain, President Barack Obama urged Congress on Tuesday to pass targeted short-term spending cuts and higher taxes as a way to put off sweeping, automatic cuts that would slice deeply into military and domestic programs starting March 1.
Obama’s appeal came as Congress’ budget office projected a yearly federal deficit under $1 trillion for the first time in his presidency and as Republicans applied political pressure on the president to submit balanced budgets, pushing fiscal issues back to the forefront in Washington after weeks devoted to immigration and guns.
A short-term deficit- trimming measure once again would delay the broad and onerous spending cuts that are unpopular with both political parties, underscoring the government’s difficulty adopting long-term budget policies. Obama conceded the problem, even though he previously has scoffed at temporary budget reprieves.
18 charged in global credit-card fraud
Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation’s largest credit-card fraud rings, a sprawling international scam that duped credit-rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The elaborate scheme involved improving fake cardholders’ credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, investigators said.
“The accused availed themselves of a virtual cafeteria of sophisticated frauds and schemes, whose main menu items were greed and deceit,” said David Velazquez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark field office.
Turbocharged engines questioned
Consumer Reports is warning car buyers that turbocharged engines may not deliver the speed or fuel economy they expect.
The magazine said Tuesday that its tests showed turbocharged models from Ford, Hyundai and Kia are less efficient than competitors. It also said the turbocharged Chevrolet Cruze got little extra power or fuel economy than a non- turbocharged engine.
The magazine did praise a turbocharged four-cylinder from BMW.
Turbochargers pump extra air into engines so more fuel can be added to boost power. Carmakers charge more for them, promising extra power.
Consumer Reports said a new Ford Fusion with an optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine was slower and got lower fuel economy than a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Nissan Altima with regular engines.
Ford said it can’t speak for Consumer Reports’ tests, but its surveys show EcoBoost customers are satisfied with their fuel economy.
A spokeswoman for General Motors Co. says the Cruze turbocharged engine provides more power and better acceleration compared with the non-turbocharged engine.
From wire reports