In the wake of last week's extortion-related attack that killed more than 50 gamblers and employees in a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, President Felipe Calderon said the United States must do more to cut both the country's demand for drugs and its gun smuggling to drug cartels.
"Part of the tragedy that Mexicans are living has to do with the fact that we are alongside the biggest consumer of drugs in the world, and at the same time, the biggest vendor of weapons in the world," he said.
At the meeting of central bankers Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, "... the country would be well served by a better process for making fiscal decisions. The negotiations that took place over the summer disrupted financial markets and probably the economy as well, and similar events in the future could, over time, seriously jeopardize the willingness of investors around the world to hold U.S. financial assets or to make direct investments in job-creating U.S. businesses."
He called for a better budget process. But, he said, "formal budget goals and mechanisms do not replace the need for fiscal policymakers to make the difficult choices that are needed to put the country's fiscal house in order, which means that public understanding of and support for the goals of fiscal policy are crucial."
Bernanke didn't announce any new Fed efforts to boost the economy.
International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde told the bankers' group on Saturday that risks to the global economy "have been aggravated further by a deterioration in confidence and a growing sense that policymakers do not have the conviction, or simply are not willing, to take the decisions that are needed."
The must-do task for Congress each year is passing the 12 bills appropriating money for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. But of course, that must-do usually doesn't get done, and a string of giant continuing resolutions usually are needed to keep the government from shutting down.
But in the debt limit bill, Congress allotted $1.043 trillion for spending on federal agencies and national security in 2012, and leaders hope that since the figure is already agreed on there will be little to fight over.
But, The Washington Post says, "It is not yet clear if rank-and-file members, many of whom were elected in 2010 promising never to back down from an opportunity to cut spending, will sign on."
Half of American adults will be obese by 2030 unless the government changes food policy, according to a report on what's being called the international obesity crisis.
The changes include making healthy foods cheaper and taxing unhealthy foods, says the report in the British medical journal the Lancet.
Changes over the past century in the way food is made and marketed have contributed to the creation of an “obesogenic” environment where personal willpower and efforts to maintain a healthy weight are largely impossible, the report says.