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Political Economy: October 10, 2010 - October 16, 2010

Greek official: Financial restructuring on track

By Howard Schneider It has been a curious evolution in Europe, with socialist parties in places like Greece and Spain emerging as the arch-defenders of fiscal prudence and budget cutting. But as Greek education minister Anna Diamantopolou notes, there was...

By Washington Post Editor  | October 15, 2010; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Bernanke on unemployment and structural change

His speech this morning that has gotten big headlines for what it says about the economy and prospects for new policy action, but Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke also waded into a debate that has occupied the economics blogosphere of late.

By Washington Post staff  | October 15, 2010; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Federal Reserve, U.S. Economy, U.S. Labor Department, Unemployment  
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Do you have foreclosure documents or depositions related to 'robo-signers'?

A number of employees of mortgage servicers who signed documents indicating that they had reviewed the accuracy of thousands of foreclosure proceedings have testified in sworn depositions that they didn't actually perform at least some of the reviews. If you...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 15, 2010; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Housing  
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Economic agenda: Friday, Oct. 15, 2010

At 8:15 a.m. -- Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke speaks. At 8:30 a.m. - The Labor Department issues data on inflation for September. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expect an increase from August of 0.2 percent and a year-over-year increase...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 15, 2010; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Economic agenda: Friday, Oct. 15, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer price index for September released by the Labor Department. At 8:30 a.m. -- Retail sales for September released by the Commerce Department. At 10 a.m. -- Conference Board consumer sentiment for October....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 15, 2010; 6:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Foreclosure issues catch Wall Street's attention

On the Company Beat, Jia Lynn Yang notes that shares of Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all dropped sharply more than 4 percent today. But why now? She writes, "a realization is sinking in that this could go...

By Washington Post staff  | October 14, 2010; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Housing  
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Boston policy conference: clues to what's coming from the Fed?

BOSTON -- Once in a while, there is an academic gathering that, thanks to a combination of topic and timing, has importance far beyond the ivory tower. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston monetary policy conference that begins in a couple of hours has the feel of such a moment. The topic, planned long ago, is "Monetary Policy in a Low Inflation Environment." It comes less than three weeks before Fed policymakers to make a crucial decision on what monetary policy should be in this particular low inflation environment. There is now every reason to expect that the Fed will pull out new, unconventional tools to try to boost the economy and push inflation up a bit at its Nov 2-3 meeting, all the more so after disappointing data on international trade and initial jobless claims Thursday morning.

By Neil Irwin  | October 14, 2010; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Federal Reserve, U.S. Economy  
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Chinese imports widen U.S. trade gap

The U.S. trade deficit surged in August as a jump in imports from China overwhelmed a meager rise in American exports. The deficit with China rose from $25.9 billion to just above $28 billlion.

By Howard Schneider  | October 14, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  China, International Economics, Trade, U.S. Economy  
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Economic agenda: Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Weekly jobless claims released by the Labor Department. At 8:30 a.m. -- Trade balance for August released by the Commerce Department. At 8:30 a.m. -- Producer price index for September released by the Labor Department....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 14, 2010; 6:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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J.P. Morgan expands foreclosure review to home loans in 41 states

J.P. Morgan said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday that it plans to review roughly 115,000 home loans in 41 states, saying it had "identified issues" in foreclosure documents.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 13, 2010; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Housing  
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Economic agenda: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Import prices for September released. Some time during the day -- The EPA is expected to announce the approval of higher ethanol blends in motor vehicle fuel. At noon -- Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski discusses...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 13, 2010; 8:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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White House: Administration will 'get to the bottom' of foreclosure problem

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the administration supports a multi-state investigation into the mortgage lenders about foreclosures, even though it is against a national moratorium. "We want to take the just and necessary steps to ensure that...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 12, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Ally Financial's GMAC mortgage unit reviewing foreclosures in all 50 states

Ally Financial said Tuesday that its GMAC mortgage unit has hired legal and accounting firms to conduct independent reviews of its foreclosure procedures in all 50 states.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 12, 2010; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Housing  
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Florida attorney general: Moratorium may be 'counterproductive'

The attorney general of Florida -- the state most affected by the foreclosure crisis -- finally weighed in Tuesday on the questions about improperly prepared foreclosure documents. In a letter to Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and other lenders, Bill McCollum said he's "distressed" about reports that the companies "may have engaged in filing faulty affidavits in foreclosure cases." These actions "have affected the integrity of title to real property for Florida's homeowners as well as the foreclosure process in Florida," he wrote.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 12, 2010; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Housing  
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Fed leaders inclined toward new action, wanted more time to decide how

Many Federal Reserve officials were inclined toward new action to boost the economy at their last meeting three weeks ago, but thought it best to wait to act to gather more information about the state of the economy and do more careful analysis of what form new action should take, according to minutes of the meeting. The minutes of the Sept. 21 policy meeting, released Tuesday, offer a portrait of a monetary policy committee with significant divisions, but one which seems to be leaning toward new steps to try to strengthen a faltering economy and increase inflation above its current rock-bottom levels.

By Neil  | October 12, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Economic agenda: Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010

At 10 a.m -- The Supreme Court hears arguments in a case over whether federal law grants drug manufacturers blanket immunity from claims by people who say they've been harmed by faulty vaccines. At 2 p.m. -- The Federal...

By Mike Shepard  | October 12, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Wall Street: Foreclosure moratorium would be 'catastrophic'

The Securities Industry and Financial Association said Monday that a "systemwide moratorium on all foreclosures" would be "catastrophic." "It must be recognized that the mortgage market, investors and the health of the economy are all inter-related," Tim Ryan, president and...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 11, 2010; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Housing  
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Were Obama's own mortgage documents signed by a 'robo-signer'?

A consumer advocacy Web site has obtained some mortgage paperwork for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama's home in Chicago. The documents, which show that the couple's mortgage of $210,000 was fully paid on May 10, 2005, are signed by a Chase Home Finance vice president Marshe Craine. The interesting thing about the documents is that Craine's signature on court documents related to other people's homes looks radically different from the version on the Obamas' paperwork. In other, unrelated cases, attorneys for homeowners have accused loan processing companies of allowing employees to forge other people's signatures. Did a Chase employee do so in Obama's case?

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 11, 2010; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Housing  
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Three academics, including Fed nominee, awarded Nobel for employment theories

The Nobel prize in economics was awarded Monday to three economists who did pioneering research on unemployment that led ro better understanding of the factors that can keep people out of work. Peter Diamond, one of the recipients of the prize, was nominated by President Obama earlier this year to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, but the Senate has not held a vote to confirm him. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), is holding up the nomination, arguing that Diamond may be unqualified to serve at the Fed given that his background is not in monetary policy.

By Neil Irwin  | October 11, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Federal Reserve, International Economics, U.S. Economy, Unemployment  
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Senior White House official: 'Not sure' about a national foreclosure moratorium

White House senior adviser David Axelrod signaled Sunday that the Obama administration is opposed to a national moratorium on foreclosures, even as pressure from Congress, labor unions and consumer groups mounts for the federal government to take action. Calling the growing evidence that lenders have used inaccurately prepared and even fraudulent documents to foreclose on homes a "serious problem," Axelrod said it had already "thrown a lot of uncertainty into the housing market that is already fragile." The foreclosure mess has become a hot-button political issue with mid-term elections coming up. A large number of influential Democrats -- including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- have called on the federal government to take more aggressive action.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 10, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Housing  
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