Capital Commerce


January 2007


Is the Unemployment Rate About to Collapse?

Know what's really impressive about today's boffo 3.5 percent GDP growth number for the fourth quarter? It wasn't so long ago that Wall Street economists were wondering if the number would be a "one-handle"–meaning growth between 1.0 and 1.9 percent. And instead of a "hard or "soft" landing,

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TAGS:
economy
unemployment

Behind Closed Doors at the Treasury Department

So just what happened at yesterday's closed-door roundtable meeting between Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and a group of prominent Wall Street economists? To find out, I rang two of the participants, both of whom did not want their names used. "I think Paulson just wanted to see how Wall Street ...

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TAGS:
Paulson, Henry
economy

Is Income Inequality Hammering Wal-Mart?

To its many critics, Wal-Mart symbolizes every ruthless company that sticks it to workers with low wages and lousy benefits. The ginormous retailer is sure to be a frequent target for Democrats during the 2008 presidential election. (Back in November, Barack Obama and John Edwards took part in a ...

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TAGS:
Walmart
economy
income

Can We Outgrow Our Social Security Problem?

Are slashing benefits or raising taxes really the only ways to keep Social Security in the black in the 21st century? During a recent appearance before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that stronger economic growth won't do the trick. As Bernanke put it then:

To some ...

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The War Over Healthcare Begins

Last night, President Bush proposed to start taxing healthcare benefits but also to create a new $15,000 standard deduction, $7,500 for single people, for all taxpayers who obtain qualifying health insurance. If turned into law, the plan could accomplish a number of things.

An analysis from the ...

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Hillary Clinton the Candidate: Which Clinton Is She?

As a fictional version of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton exasperatedly shouted on Saturday Night Live last weekend, "Is there anyone in the [expletive] country who didn't know I was running for president?" The genuine article finally told America, "I'm in," on Saturday via a video on the new ...

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Can the "Seattle Democrats" Save Globalization?

What a missed opportunity. Democrats recently chose Denver over New York as the site of their 2008 national convention. They should have picked Seattle; it would have been an apt symbolic choice. Back in 1999, the Emerald City was the site of massive antiglobalization riots outside a meeting of ...

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Economy Keeps Rising From the Mat

Call it the Rocky Economy–as in Rocky Balboa. During 2006, the U.S. economy took a beating (a 38 percent rise in gasoline prices, 100 basis points in Fed rate hikes, the end of the housing bubble) and got knocked hard to the mat (gross domestic product growth fell from 5.6 percent in the first ...

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Why Tauscher Is a Target

Hockey fans used to joke that Wayne "the Great One" Gretzky won so many MVP awards (nine overall) that the National Hockey League should have changed the award's name from the Art Ross Trophy to the Wayne Gretzky Trophy–and given it to the second-most-valuable player each year.

Likewise, perhaps ...

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Vilsack Talks Trade

Chatted about globalization and trade with Tom Vilsack, the outgoing two-term governor of Iowa and aspiring candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The issues played big with voters in 2006, to the benefit of Democrats. Now whenever I talk with Democrats about globalization and ...

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Nixing a Social Security Compromise

Don't bet on some grand compromise between President Bush and Congress to reform Social Security. There's been plenty of conjecture of late that Bush might agree to a plan that would raise the payroll-tax income limits as one way of returning the social insurance program to long-term solvency. Any ...

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The Fed Looks to Stay Frozen

Friday's great payroll and wage numbers–the economy added a better-than-expected 167,000 jobs last month as earnings rose 0.5 percent–marked a real blow to the "hard landing" economic scenario that sees the economy slowing to near-recession levels because of the housing downturn. As long as this ...

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Betting on a Liberalized China

Investment firm Goldman Sachs recently sent out a self-congratulatory report marking the fifth anniversary of "our launch of the BRICs concept."

BRICs, for non-Wall Street types, is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, and China and is now a popular emerging-markets investment theme. Goldman Sachs ...

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