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Political Economy: July 25, 2010 - July 31, 2010

Warren Buffett's likely successor: Chinese Tiananmen protestor, hedge fund manager

Who will succeed billionaire super-investor Warren Buffett when the 79-year-old Oracle of Omaha finally retires as chairman of his Berkshire Hathaway holding company? Perhaps no question in global finance has preoccupied investors like this one in recent years. The answer,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  July 30, 2010; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  China , Corporations , Personalities  
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Econosphere: 'We haven't seen a recession this deep since the 1940s'

By Dylan Mathews Big week for business/economic news. First the Wyly brothers, huge GOP donors, were charged with fraud. Then the SEC settled with Citigroup for $75 million. This morning, the government GDP numbers came out for Q2 and...

By Dylan Mathews  |  July 30, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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July consumer confidence takes sharp dive

By Sonja Ryst U.S. consumers are increasingly worried about their current job and earnings prospects, and they're more pessimistic about the future than they have been in more than a year. Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan said in a report Friday...

By Sonja Ryst  |  July 30, 2010; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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The closer you look at the GDP report, the uglier it gets

By Neil Irwin A few more thoughts about this morning's GDP report before I buckle down to write my story for tomorrow's paper. As I've considered the data and talked to some smart economists, here are the conclusions I've reached....

By Neil Irwin  |  July 30, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Last few years were even worse than you thought

By Neil Irwin News coverage of the second quarter GDP report (including my own) will focus mainly on what it tells us about how the recovery is shaping up in 2010. But this report also included revisions to components of...

By Neil Irwin  |  July 30, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Economic growth slows to 2.4 percent in 2Q

The pace of economic growth slowed this spring, according to new government data, as Americans remained reluctant to consume and imports soared. The gross domestic product rose at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the April-through-June quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday, down from a revised 3.7 percent in the first quarter. The downshift in second-quarter growth shows an economic recovery that, one year in, seems to be settling into a middling pace. The 2.4 percent, while roughly in line with analysts' expectations, is slightly below what the nation is capable of growing in the longer run, meaning it is not fast enough to drive down the jobless rate.

By Neil Irwin  |  July 30, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Housing , U.S. Economy , Unemployment  
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Economic agenda: Friday, July 30, 2010

By Mike Shepard At 8:30 a.m. -- The Commerce Department publishes its first estimate of economic growth in the second quarter. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are predicting that the gross domestic product will have expanded at an annual rate of...

By Mike Shepard  |  July 30, 2010; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Is an Internet sales tax coming?

UPDATE: Adds opposing resolution from Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D-N.H.) By Ylan Q. Mui A movement is slowly building in Washington to banish one of the biggest perks of shopping online: not paying sales tax. That's because the perk has...

By Ylan Q. Mui  |  July 29, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Regulation  
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Online poker gambling creeping toward legalization?

By Sonja Ryst Congress is thinking about making it legal to play online gambling games like poker. The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill on Wednesday under which Internet gambling operators could get licenses authorizing them to take bets...

By Sonja Ryst  |  July 29, 2010; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congress  
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FTC cracks down on debt-relief companies

By Ylan Q. Mui The Federal Trade Commission Thursday outlined strict new regulations on debt-relief companies that promise to slash the amount of money consumers owe on their credit cards. Under the new regulations, the companies cannot charge any fees...

By Ylan Q. Mui  |  July 29, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Regulation  
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Fed's Bullard raises specter of Japanese-style deflation

A top Federal Reserve official has published an important new paper in which he raises the specter of a Japan-style period of extended deflation. James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, argues that new, large-scale quantitative easing -- or purchases of government bonds and other assets -- would be a policy tool to prevent that possibility, though he doesn't specifically endorse such a policy explicitly.

By Neil Irwin  |  July 29, 2010; 1:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Diversions: Goldman Sachs says no more s***** expletives in emails

By Sakina Rangwala 1. 34,000 Goldman Sachs employees are now banned from using an array of curse words on email. Under the new directive, typing out "s------ deal"--the phrase used to describe a now infamous mortgage deal that came up...

By Sakina Rangwala  |  July 29, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  *Diversions  
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Foreclosure activity continues to increase

By Dina ElBoghdady Foreclosure activity climbed in three-quarters of the nation's largest metro areas in the first half of the year compared to the same time a year ago, but declined in some of the hardest hit regions, RealtyTrac reported...

By Dina ElBoghdady  |  July 29, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Housing  
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IMF issues rare public report on Chinese economy

The International Monetary Fund released its first detailed assessment of the Chinese economy in four years, a document less interesting in its details than for the fact that it was made public at all.

By Howard Schneider  |  July 29, 2010; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  China  
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Morning briefing: euro rises against dollar as U.S. recovery slows

* The euro strengthened against the dollar to its highest level since the region's $1 trillion bailout was announced on May 10. While the U.S. is worried about an economic slowdown, the recovery appears to be accelerating in some...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 29, 2010; 9:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Thursday, July 29, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Labor Dept. issues weekly jobless claims. At 9 a.m. -- The IMF staff report of the fund's review of Chinese currency policy is released. At 10 a.m. -- House Financial Services holds hearing on "Alternatives...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 29, 2010; 6:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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GOP appointees to oversight panel praise Elizabeth Warren's work

Consumer advocates, labor unions, liberal groups, scores of Democratic lawmakers, even the National Organization of Women, have urged President Obama to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

By Brady Dennis  |  July 28, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , U.S. Treasury  
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Study argues stimulus, other action averted second Great Depression; others disagree

Did President Obama's $787 billion stimulus and the Fed's aggressive policies avert a second Great Depression? A big study out Wednesday says so, but some other economists disagree. According to Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi and Princeton economist Alan Blinder, the suite of emergency solutions put forth by the Bush and Obama administrations combined to stave off a serious downturn.

By Frank Ahrens  |  July 28, 2010; 3:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Wyden, Snowe and others call for investigation of Chinese paper industry subsidies

By Ariana Eunjung Cha More than 100 lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to investigate Chinese subsidies to its paper industry that they say give China's companies an artificial boost over their U.S. competitors. The damage from the subsidies...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 28, 2010; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  China  
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Beige book: Recovery continues, but unevenly

The economic expansion has proceeded unevenly this summer, according to a new Federal Reserve report, with new pockets of weakness emerging in parts of the country.

By Neil Irwin  |  July 28, 2010; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Federal Reserve , U.S. Economy  
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Orszag warns against slashing deficit too quickly

Peter Orszag, giving his last speech as White House budget director on Wednesday, defended the administration's economic policies and said it would be "foolish" to try to slash the deficit before the recovery takes hold. Orszag, who is leaving his post at the end of the week, said the measures taken to try to stem the worst recession in more than 70 years, including the $862 billion stimulus, helped boost U.S. economic growth and reduced job losses.

By Bloomberg  |  July 28, 2010; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Budget and fiscal policy , U.S. Economy  
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Morning briefing: Talks between Greece, striking fuel-tanker drivers collapse

Good morning! Here's what happened overnight in Europe and Asia: *Striking fuel drivers in Greece said negotiations with the government have collapsed. The drivers are protesting an overhaul in licensing rules that are among the measures the government agreed to...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 28, 2010; 8:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic Agenda: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

By Mike Shepard At 8:30 a.m. -- The Commerce Department releases data on durable goods orders for June. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are predicting a 1 percent increase from May. At 9:30 a.m. -- The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 28, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Brookings study: U.S. cities need growth in exports

By Howard Schneider What can the Obama administration do to boost U.S. exports? Plenty, according to a Brookings Institution panel discussion Tuesday that raised complaints about tax policy, the slow pace of approval for loan guarantees, and competition with China....

By Howard Schneider  |  July 27, 2010; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  China , Trade  
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Christina Romer for San Francisco Fed chief? Just maybe

By Neil Irwin Once Janet Yellen is confirmed to be vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve--she glided through her confirmation hearing two weeks ago and seems on track for easy confirmation, though with the U.S. Senate you never know--another of the...

By Neil Irwin  |  July 27, 2010; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Top Barney Frank aide heading to Treasury

By Zach Goldfarb The top spokesman for Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is leaving Congress to help run public affairs for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Steven Adamske, who has served as Frank's communications director through the...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 27, 2010; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  U.S. Treasury  
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Economic Agenda: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

At 9 a.m. -- The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index is released. At 9:30 a.m. -- Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro participates in a discussion on implementing new financial regulations. At 10 a.m. -- A House Energy and...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 27, 2010; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Gibbs calls Warren 'terrific candidate' to run consumer protection agency

By Brady Dennis Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren would be a "terrific candidate" to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the new financial overhaul bill, a White House spokesman said Monday. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also insisted...

By Mike Shepard  |  July 26, 2010; 7:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Why Bernanke isn't advocating fiscal stimulus

By Neil Irwin Ezra Klein challenges me to explain why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke isn't beating the drum for more fiscal stimulus. It could, Ezra notes, reduce some of the pressure on the Fed to undertake unconventional monetary policy...

By Neil Irwin  |  July 26, 2010; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Budget and fiscal policy , Federal Reserve  
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SEC pays $1 million to woman who ratted on her ex

By Zach Goldfarb With powerful senators watching with a close eye, federal investigators search and search for evidence of insider trading in shares of Microsoft. One of Wall Street's best-known hedge fund managers is targeted, but the feds can't find...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 26, 2010; 5:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Treasury's international policy chief on Chinese currency and U.S. financial reform

In a lunchtime speech by Lael Brainard, the Treasury Department's head of international policy, some of the most intriguing comments were about the still unfinished business of financial reform.

By Howard Schneider  |  July 26, 2010; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  U.S. Treasury  
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Diversions: UAE declares BlackBerrys a national security threat and more

Diversions: UAE declares BlackBerrys a national security threat and more

By Sakina Rangwala  |  July 26, 2010; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Week ahead: Lots of economic data out this week, including Q2 GDP

By Neil Irwin Lots of data this week, with the highlight Friday when figures are released estimating the size of the gross domestic product in the second quarter. Monday The week begins with home sales numbers for last month, which...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 26, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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