Jan 10, 2011
»click here to see the latest top stories from CNBC.com
Personal Finance Daily
JANUARY 10, 2011
Monday's Personal Finance stories
- Where the jobs are in 2011
- American Airlines feud bad news for consumers
- Reverse mortgages get a makeover
- Fund investors, watch your wallets
- The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
As Ruth Mantell writes in her story today, the industries and job types on which job seekers should focus include financial services and information technology. That seemingly perennial growth industry — health care — is on the list, too.
Read Ruth's story today for more on where the jobs will and won't be in 2011, and don't miss Jennifer Waters's look at what American Airlines's feud with travel-booking sites means for consumers.
Of course, it's not much use knowing which industries are poised for growth if your skills and expertise are in a completely different area. That said, figuring out how to translate what you know so that it's of use to an employer in an entirely different industry is a key skill that career counselors say is essential to survive these times. (For more on that strategy, read our story, from 2007, on switching to a new career. And check out these six mistakes job seekers make, in our story from 2009.)
— Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
Where the jobs are in 2011
A good job is still hard to find, though recent labor-market data indicate the employment situation is slowly improving.
Read more: Where the jobs are in 2011.
Landing the boss's job
While working as a spa coordinator at a luxury resort in Stowe, Vt., Laura Crandall got a sense that her boss was unhappy and thinking of moving on. So Ms. Crandall trained for her boss's job by volunteering for more work, pursuing mentorships and attending management seminars.
Read more: Landing the boss's job.
The reverse mortgage gets a makeover
A reverse mortgage has long been considered a loan of last resort because of its high fees. Now, a new type of reverse mortgage is attracting the attention of more-affluent borrowers eager to extract cash from their homes. But older homeowners—and the adult children who advise them—need to be aware of the new trade-offs.
Read more: The reverse mortgage gets a makeover.
Still renting after all these years
Mortgage rates are near historic lows and homes are more affordable than they have been in memory. Yet some five years after the housing bust began, many people who could easily afford to buy are still choosing to rent.
Read more: Still renting after all these years.
American Airlines feud: bad news for consumers
If American Airlines succeeds in changing how its airfares are bought online, consumers seeking to book travel could face higher costs — and bigger headaches.
Read more: American Airlines feud: bad news for consumers.
Freezing rain in Atlanta disrupts flights
Freezing rain and sleet disrupted flights for a number of airlines on Monday, including Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways.
Read more: Freezing rain in Atlanta disrupts flights.
Sticking my nose into friend's business
For months now I've been struggling to find the right way to talk to one of my closest friends about money.
Read more: Sticking my nose into friend's business.
Fund investors, watch your wallets
When a mutual fund company cuts management expenses on a stock fund, it really has something to crow about.
Read more: Fund investors, watch your wallets.
Meet the managers behind top funds
Mutual-fund managers have seen better days. More than a quarter of actively managed stock funds trailed the indexes they're measured against by five percentage points or more in the first nine months of 2010 — their worst performance since 1998, according to J.P. Morgan.
Read more: Meet the managers behind top funds.
Insider trading in Google alleged in latest SEC fund suit
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged several more people as part of its ongoing hedge-fund insider trading case, alleging insider dealing in companies including Google.
Read more: Insider trading in Google alleged in latest SEC fund suit.
IPhone rush at Verizon may be more gradual
With Apple expected to finally add Verizon as its second U.S. carrier for the iPhone, are expectations getting a bit out of hand?
Read more: IPhone rush at Verizon may be more gradual.
Obama leads moment of silence Monday
The U.S. observes a moment of silence to honor the victims of the weekend mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., while lawmakers discuss tighter security.
Read more: Obama leads moment of silence Monday.
Tucson bloodbath and media responsibility
The assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, resulting in her critical injuries and the murders of six people, might have been prevented by the American media, writes Jon Friedman.
Read more: Tucson bloodbath and media responsibility.
No change in Giffords's condition, doctor says
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona remained in intensive care Monday after being shot in the head Saturday, and one of her doctors said her continued ability to respond to questions was a positive sign.
Read more: No change in Giffords's condition, doctor says.
California budget to leave many displeased
With California teetering on the brink of financial ruin, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday offered a state spending plan that he says is sure to be painful, and that is almost certain to please no one.
Read more: California budget to leave many displeased.
Auto Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Auto Review: The 2011 Grand Cherokee combines new levels of luxury with Jeep's legendary rock-climbing ability into one of the best-ever SUVs.
Read more: Auto Review: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Porsche is back in Detroit, Nissan to follow
German auto maker re-establishes a presence at the big auto show as Japan's Nissan commits to returning next year after a three-year absence.
Read more: Porsche is back in Detroit, Nissan to follow.
Toyota showcases Prius future
Rivals have stolen some of Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid thunder in recent years, but the auto maker isn't about to let the still-powerful Prius gather any rust.
Read more: Toyota showcases Prius future.
China's trade surplus unexpectedly shrinks
China's trade surplus is 40% smaller than expected in December, as exports ease while imports expand faster than expected, potentially easing some of the trade tensions between China and the U.S.
Read more: China's trade surplus unexpectedly shrinks.
Bailout expectations wrack Portuguese debt
Portugal remained in the spotlight Monday as Lisbon fought intensifying speculation that it would be forced to become the third euro-zone nation to seek a fiscal bailout due to rising borrowing costs.
Read more: Bailout expectations wrack Portuguese debt.
|New York Market Close Jan 10/11 05:20 PM EST|
| Metals || Bid || Ask || Change || Low || High |
By GRAHAM BOWLEY
The traders are buying hundreds of billions of dollars of United States Treasury securities on the open market in a controversial attempt to keep interest rates low and revive the economy.
The deal would create the country's largest utility, with $22.7 billion in revenue and more than 7 million customers.
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED
The latest charges, against two hedge fund executives, a tech company executive and a marketing firm employee, expand the agency's insider trading case to 27 defendants.
By TANYA MOHN
Two hotel chains are designating allergy-friendly rooms, with things like medical-grade air purifiers and chemical- and fragrance-free bath products.
By NICK BUNKLEY
The increase came after Fiat got permission to build a four-cylinder engine for the Fiat 500, one of three milestones in the partnership agreement.
Wall Street dips, tossed by earnings, Portugal fears | Financial & Forex Info News | Reuters daily Investor Update
Financial & Forex Info News
|Wall Street dips, tossed by earnings, Portugal fears|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks recovered most of their early losses in light volume and ended slightly lower on Monday as prospects for strong earnings helped counter fears Portugal would be forced into a bailout. | Full Article|
|Alcoa fourth-quarter profit rises on higher demand|
|January 10, 2011 04:30 PM ET|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc reported a jump in fourth-quarter profit on Monday, beating Wall Street estimates as aluminum prices and demand rose after two years in the doldrums. | Full Article|
|SEC sues ex-Trivium fund manager in Galleon case|
|January 10, 2011 02:54 PM ET|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - The co-founder of a one-time $900 million hedge fund was accused of insider trading by U.S. securities regulators, an offshoot of the long-running Galleon hedge fund probe. | Full Article|
|Morgan Stanley to spin off prop trading unit|
|January 10, 2011 02:19 PM ET|
|CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley will spin off its proprietary trading business into an independent firm in 2012, joining a host of Wall Street banks scrambling to comply with new rules that bar making market bets with their own capital. | Full Article|
|Duke Energy to buy Progress Energy for $13.7 billion|
|January 10, 2011 04:15 PM ET|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - Duke Energy's planned $13.7 billion purchase of Progress Energy Inc is the biggest test yet of whether regulators will allow utilities to merge and fortify their finances for huge new investments. | Full Article|
S&P's Webcast: Will 2011 Be The Dawn Of The Latin American Decade? Join us on January 11, 2011. Click here to register.As growth in the developed countries remains sluggish, we see investment increasing in fast-growing emerging markets, including those in Latin America. According to our analysts, the region grew an estimated 6% in 2010, and tens of millions of people have moved from poverty into the lower middle class during the last decade.
Standard & Poor's asigna calificación ‘raAA-c (Nuevo)' al fondo Compass Ahorro Fondo Común de InversiónBuenos Aires, 27 de diciembre de 2010 – Standard & Poor's asignó hoy la calificación ‘raAA-c (Nuevo)' al fondo Compass Ahorro Fondo Común de Inversión administrado por Investis Asset Management S.A.S.G.F.C.I y con Banco de Valores S.A. como sociedad depositaria.
Research Update: CLISA Ratings Raised To 'B', Taken Off CreditWatch, After Sovereign Upgrade On Republic Of ArgentinaOn Dec. 28, 2010, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it raised its ratings on CLISA-Compañía Latinoamericana de Infraestructura & Servicios S.A. to 'B' from 'B-' and removed them from CreditWatch with positive implications, were we had placed them on Sept. 15, 2010.
Perspectiva dos ratings do Banco Daycoval S.A. alterada para positiva com base na qualidade de sua carteira de crédito; Ratings reafirmadosEm 30 de dezembro de 2010, a Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services reafirmou os ratings atribuídos ao Banco Daycoval S.A. (“Daycoval”), incluindo seus ratings de crédito de contraparte de longo e curto prazos ‘BB/B’ na escala global e ‘brAA-/brA-1’ na Escala Nacional Brasil.
Ratings da Companhia de Telecomunicações do Brasil Central - CTBC elevados para ‘brA+’; perspectiva estável28 de dezembro de 2010, a Standard & Poor’s Rating Services elevou, em sua Escala Nacional Brasil, os ratings atribuídos à Companhia de Telecomunicações do Brasil Central (“CTBC”), incluindo seu rating de crédito corporativo, de ‘brA’ para ‘brA+’.
Standard & Poor's asigna calificación de 'B' a emisión de bonos de Cemex; confirma calificaciones de riesgo crediticioMéxico, D.F., 4 de enero de 2011.- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services asignó hoy su calificación de deuda senior garantizada en escala global de ‘B' a una emisión propuesta de Cemex S.A.B. de C.V. (Cemex) hasta por US$1,000 millones en bonos de largo plazo con vencimiento en 2018.
S&P confirma calificaciones de Corporación Geo; revisa perspectiva a estable de negativa; desempeño en línea con expectativasMéxico, D.F., 27 de diciembre de 2010.- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revisó hoy su perspectiva de la constructora mexicana, Corporación Geo, S.A.B. de C.V. (Geo) a estable de negativa.
Standard & Poor's baja calificaciones de cinco series de RMBS mexicanos debido a la baja de calificación de MBIAMéxico, D.F., 28 de diciembre de 2010.- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services bajó hoy sus calificaciones de cinco series de cuatro transacciones de instrumentos respaldados con créditos hipotecarios (RMBS, por sus siglas en inglés) originados por Hipotecaria Su Casita S.A. de C.V. SOFOM E.N.R. (Su Casita) y por GMAC Financiera S.A. de C.V., S.F.O.M., E.N.R. (GMAC Financiera)
Rising tide sweeps away lives in SE Queensland | Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle
Financial & Forex Info News
|Rising tide sweeps away lives in SE Queensland|
|Eight people have been confirmed dead and many more are missing as floods continue to inundate south east Queensland.|
The death toll in the catastrophic floods has risen from four overnight.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has confirmed this morning that eight people are now dead and another 11 are confirmed as missing.
She described the disaster as the "darkest hour of the last fortnight. Mother Nature has unleashed something shocking out of the Toowoomba region," she said. (more about the 'Biblical disaster' from the Courier-Mail here).
And as Jamie Walker reports, the deaths "capped a day of horror and chaos as Queensland's flood crisis engulfed the state's thickly populated southeast. Emergency crews were scrambling to find three children reported to have been swept away by the wall of water that smashed through the central business district of Toowoomba without warning. Police urged up to 5000 people to flee their homes last night, warning of a "7m wall of water" as the flood surged into the Lockyer Valley, east of Toowoomba.''
Talking pictures: how the flood hit. And there are more images here.
How the flooding turned deadly - inside story: For more than a month, Queenslanders have been battling floods. In most cases, the water has been slow-rising, allowing authorities plenty of time to issue detailed warnings to residents and business owners. But no one came close to predicting the wall of water that swept through Toowoomba just after lunchtime yesterday. (more from Michael McKenna and Amanda Gearing).
Clean up: the financial toll of the Queensland floods -- predicted to cost $6 billion and leave a $5bn clean-up bill -- is expecte
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) captivated many countries around the world, dominating the Sunday newspaper front pages and creating a buzz on social media sites, with commenters saying the attack confirmed their image of the United States as a deeply polarized nation brimming w...
2) Right Turn
The horrific shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the death of six (including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge) and the injuring of a total of 14 revealed the best and the worst in American politics.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says of the suspect in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords: "He's a very troubled individual."
One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War began, we're still fighting it - or at least fighting over its history. I've polled thousands of high school history teachers and spoken about the war to audiences across the country, and there is little agreement even on why the South seceded. Was it...
KABUL - Vice President Biden flew into Kabul on Monday night for a round of high-level meetings as the Obama administration seeks assurance that its Afghanistan strategy is taking hold.
Efforts to drain the rhetorical swamps should be as nonpartisan as she has been.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday afternoon and evening for our eastern suburbs, which includes Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Howard, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary's counties.
Facebook is not shutting down on March 15 or any other date in the foreseeable future.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's doctor said the congresswoman was "holding her own" at a hospital in Tucson early Monday morning, with CT scans showing that the swelling in her brain is not getting any worse.
On Saturday night, hours after a shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head and 19 others wounded or dead, Keith Olbermann weighed in.
By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as Europe’s debt troubles came back into play on renewed bailout talk involving Portugal.
“European debt refinancing concerns resurfaced overnight in global bond and equity markets. Portugal appears to be the problem as that country deals with a major debt refinancing later this week,” Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Cos., wrote in a note.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,603, -72.01, -0.62%) fell 46.36 points to 11,626.47, with 20 of its 30 components sliding.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,265, -6.46, -0.51%) declined 3.86 points to 1,267.64.
The Nasdaq Composite Index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,692, -11.05, -0.41%) shed 6.87 points to 2,696.30.
For every stock rising nearly two fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where trading volume approached 111 million as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.
Stocks May Open Lower Ahead Of Alcoa's Earnings - U.S. Commentary . | RTTNews Morning market Briefing
|Morning Market Briefing||Mon Jan 10 2011|
Jan 10, 2011 Stocks May Open Lower Ahead Of Alcoa's Earnings - U.S. Commentary Stock futures are pointing to a lower opening on Monday, as traders may be looking to take some cash off the table ahead of the unofficial kick off of earnings season this afternoon. The resurfacing of fresh debt concerns in Europe might also generate selling pressure. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 Limping Job Market, A Sore SpotNotwithstanding the sour unemployment report released last Friday, optimism concerning the economic recovery is ruling high. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 New Zealand Has NZ$186 Million Trade DeficitNew Zealand saw a merchandise trade deficit of 186 million New Zealand dollars in November, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday, or 5.1 percent of the value of exports. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 Australia Retail Sales Add 0.3 Percent In NovemberRetail sales in Australia rose 0.3 percent in November compared to the previous month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, matching analyst expectations. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 China Trade Surplus Slumps To $13.1blnChina's balance of trade surplus eased sharply in December as growth of imports outpaced exports, official figures showed on Monday. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 French Manufacturing Output Picks Up Growth In November French manufacturing output in November rose for the first time in three months, led by a surge in coke and refined petroleum products. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 SMSC to buy Conexant for $284 mln in cash & stockSmart Mixed-Signal Connectivity solutions provider Standard Microsystems Corp. (SMSC), Monday said it had agreed to buy Conexant Systems Inc. (CNXT) for $284 million in a cash and stock transaction that also transfers Conexant's net debt to SMSC. Annualized pre-tax cost synergies of $8 - $10 million are expected by fourth-quarter 2012 with the acquisition being accretive to earnings immediately. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 iGATE to buy majority stake in Patni Computer for $1.22 blniGATE Corp. (IGTE) Monday reported agreeing to acquire a majority stake in Mumbai-based Patni Computer Systems Ltd. (PTI) through its subsidiaries for approximately $1.22 billion. The buy, which may complete by first-half 2011, will be accretive to iGATE's earnings in 2102. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 Duke Energy to Acquire Progress EnergyDuke Energy (DUK) confirmed Monday it will buy Progress Energy (PGN) for $13.7 billion in a stock-for-stock deal. Duke Energy also will assume Progress Energy's debt of $12.2 billion. The merger is expected to close by the end of 2011, with Duke expecting contributions to adjusted earnings in the subsequent year. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 Playboy to Go Private for $6.15/shrPlayboy Enterprises Inc. (PLA) Monday said it would go private, agreeing for a buyout by Icon Acquisition Holdings L.P., a private entity controlled by Hugh Hefner. A price of $6.15 per share will be offered for all Class A and Class B Playboy shares not already owned by Hefner and his affiliates. The deal is expected to close after the first-quarter 2011. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 HudBay to buy Norsemont MiningHudBay Minerals Inc. (HBM, HBM.TO) Monday announced deal to acquire the remaining shares of Norsemont Mining Inc. (NOM.TO) it does not already own. The deal values Norsemont at C$520 million. Norsemont shareholders can elect to receive either a cash consideration of C$4.50 per share, or a cash and stock option subject to net cash aggregate of C$130 million. Full Article
Jan 10, 2011 DuPont to acquire Danisco for $5.8 bln cashScience-based products maker DuPont (DD) Sunday said it will acquire long-term partner Danisco A/S, a Denmark-based enzyme and specialty foods company, for $5.8 billion in cash and will also assume $500 million of Danisco's debt. The company expects earnings contributions from the acquisition in 2012, the first full year after the acquisition, which should complete by second-quarter 2011. Full Article
Broker Ratings Changes
Jan 10, 2011 FBR Capital Markets Cuts RadioShack Corp (RSH) To Market Perform From Outperform With $20 Down From $24 Price Target
Jan 10, 2011 FBR Capital Markets Cuts Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) To Market Perform From Outperform With $31 Price Target
Todays WS Events
Jan 10, 2011 Duke Energy & Progress Energy Joint Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Duke Energy (DUK) & Progress Energy (PGN) Cheif executives Rogers and Johnson will discuss the combination of the two companies in a joint conference call conference call at 10 AM ET on January 10, 2011. To access the audio webcast, log on at w.duke-energy.com/investors The call can also be accessed by dialing 1-800-458-9009 (US) or 1-719-325-2459 (International) with conference access code 3024536. A replay of the call can be accessed by dialing 1-888-203-1112.
Jan 10, 2011 Family Dollar To Present At Cowen Consumer Conference; Webcast At 8:00 AM ET Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) will present at the Cowen and Company 9th Annual Consumer Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM ET, January 10, 2011. To access the live webcast, log on to www.familydollar.com
Jan 10, 2011 IGT To Present At Bank Of America Conference; Webcast At 1:15 PM ET International Game Technology (IGT) will present at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Gaming Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. The event is schedule to begin at 1:15 PM ET, January 10, 2011. To access the webcast, log on to www.IGT.com/InvestorRelations
Jan 10, 2011 Apollo Group Q1 11 Earnings Conference Call At 5:00 PM ET Apollo Group (APOL) will host a conference call at 5:00 PM ET, January 10, 2011, to discuss its Q1 11 earnings result. To access the live webcast, log on to www.apollogrp.edu To participate in the live call, dial 877-292-6888 (US) or 973-200-3381 (International) with conference id 29367436. For replay, dial 800-642-1687 (US) or 706-645-9291 (International) with Conference ID: 29367436.
Jan 10, 2011 Medtronic To Present At J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference; Webcast At 1:00 PM ET Medtronic, Inc. (MDT) will present at the 29th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on January 10, 2011. The event is scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM ET. To access the live webcast, log on to http://www.medtronic.com
Stock futures lower on Portugal concerns despite M&A | Financial & Forex Info News | Reuters Before The Bell
Financial & Forex Info News
From : Reuters Before The Bell
From : Reuters Before The Bell
|Stock futures lower on Portugal concerns despite M&A|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures were lower on Monday as concerns about the euro zone pressured sentiment and overshadowed news of several big acquisitions. | Full Article|
|Duke Energy to buy Progress Energy for $13.7 billion|
|January 10, 2011 07:51 AM ET|
|BANGALORE (Reuters) - Duke Energy said it agreed to buy Progress Energy Inc for $13.7 billion in stock, to create the largest U.S. power company. | Full Article|
|ECB gives Portugal temporary lifeline, traders say|
|January 10, 2011 07:52 AM ET|
|LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Central Bank threw Portugal a temporary lifeline on Monday by buying up its bonds, traders said, as market and peer pressure mounted for Lisbon to seek an international bailout soon. | Full Article|
|Commodities show ties that bind|
|January 09, 2011 08:04 PM ET|
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If there was any doubt that the global economy remains tightly intertwined, rising commodity prices should put it to rest. | Full Article|
|DuPont buying Danisco for $5.8 billion in food sector push|
|January 10, 2011 06:46 AM ET|
|NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. chemicals group DuPont said on Sunday it will buy Danish food ingredients and enzymes firm Danisco for $5.8 billion to boost its position in the fast-growing food sector. | Full Article|
Congress grieves; post-shooting legislation; committee chair elections | The Washington Post | Ezraklein's Wonkbook
The awful events of the weekend have reshaped the legislative agenda. Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the House will be postponing the week's planned votes -- including the repeal of health-care reform. And when the body does return to normal business, expect a more restrained tone to the proceedings. It's very difficult to say how that will change what Congress does and does not get done, of course. But compared to Friday, when the passions of the election were still riding high and the two parties were gearing up for the epic and angry clash they'd promised voters, it's going to be a very different mood when the lawmakers reconvene.
One thing you will see are a series of bills meant to address various parts of the tragedy in Arizona. Already, there's talk of gun-control laws, of legislation regulating the threats you can make against a member of Congress, of security details for legislators. I haven't seen any of these bills, and so I'm not passing judgment on them. But we should be vigilant that the desire to do something in response to the shooting does not lead us to do the wrong thing by mistake.
Attacks on members of Congress remain very rare in this country. The last congressman killed while in office was Rep. Leo Ryan, who was murdered in the events directly preceding the Jonestown Massacre. That was in 1978. What we think we know about the events in Arizona suggest it was even more senseless, and thus even less likely to be part of an organized or even disorganized spree that we need to radically overhaul policy in order to defend against. Above all, nothing we do should make it more difficult for citizens and legislators do follow the example of Rep. Giffords and her constituents and meet for an hour on the street corner to participate in the basic give-and-take of representative democracy. It is, if anything, a moment to double down on the democratic traditions that Giffords and her voters inadvertently took such risks to participate in. Anything that would even indirectly limit such easy contact between legislators and constituents should be viewed very skeptically.
The House has cleared its legislative agenda this week, reports Jennifer Haberkorn: "Lawmakers on Sunday said they still expect to have a spirited but delayed and toned-down debate to repeal the health care reform law after Saturday’s shooting in Arizona. Within hours of the massacre, Majority Leader Eric Cantor postponed the House’s entire legislative agenda for the week, including the vote on repealing the law, which was planned for Wednesday. His office said he’ll make further announcements on the schedule today. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Republican conference chairman, said on CNN’s 'State of the Union' that the rhetoric needs to be turned down."
Lawmakers are preparing bills in response to Saturday's shooting in Tucson, reports Shira Toeplitz: "One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday...Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia, told CNN that he also plans to take legislative action. He will introduce a bill that would make it a crime for anyone to use language or symbols that could be seen as threatening or violent against a federal official, including a member of Congress."
Junior Senators want to reform committee chair elections, reports Alexander Bolton: "Senate Democrats elected in 2006 and 2008 are challenging the internal caucus procedures that have allowed veteran lawmakers to lock up committee chairmanships for years on end. A group of junior Democratic senators are pushing for committee chairmen to stand for election at the beginning of each Congress, a requirement that has not been in effect for years, according to lawmakers familiar with the discussions...The proposed rules change has made some chairmen nervous, Democratic aides say. If chairman have to face reelection at the beginning of each Congress, they might be less willing to cut deals with Republicans."
The Fed is subjecting banks to another round of stress tests, report Francesco Guerrera and Tom Braithwaite: "Large US financial groups are bracing for a new battery of stress tests that will determine which institutions are now healthy enough to raise dividends and buy back shares. The Federal Reserve is expected this week to begin examining data provided by 19 groups, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, to gauge how their balance sheets would withstand a variety of new economic and financial shocks. The exercise, mirroring the tests of May 2009 when the sector was reeling from the crisis, comes as investors have been pressing banks to return part of their surging profits. The calls have gone unanswered...because after injecting billions of dollars to recapitalise the sector, regulators have been wary of sanctioning capital returns."
Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.
Remembering-the-better-times interlude: Rep. Giffords talking with C-SPAN shortly after her election to Congress.
Still to come: The payroll tax holiday this year may not spur growth; a cost control measure in health care reform is being fought by lobbyists; junior Senate Democrats are pushing for secret ballot elections for committee chairmen; the House GOP is planning on cutting the EPA's budget; and the world's most intense badminton match.
Austan Goolsbee offered a quick preview of the White House's coming bugdet, reports Jonathan Weisman: "Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday the administration’s economic policy will shift from 'rescue and crisis mode' to 'recovery and raise the growth rate mode.'...'The long-run fiscal challenges facing the country remain there. We have known that,' Mr. Goolsbee said. 'And when [the president] comes out with his budget, I don’t think there will be any question that he’s ready to make medium- to long-run fiscal consolidation.' With the chances for another big round of fiscal stimulus slim, the administration’s efforts will be geared to getting the private sector to stand itself up, through low-cost public-private partnerships, the president’s export efforts and trade promotion."
This year's payroll tax cut may not necessarily spur economic growth, reports Ylan Mui: "One of the most visible components of the $858 billion plan passed by Congress is a 2-percentage-point reduction in the federal payroll tax for all workers that will last through the year. The administration hopes the increase in take-home pay - about $1,000 for an average family, according to White House estimates - will boost consumer spending, which in turn drives the nation's economy. But how much of that money will actually be spent rather than saved or used to pay down debt remains a hotly debated topic among economists. Many consumers will not even notice the increase because it is spread over the course of a year, rather than distributed as a lump sum."
The Fed will not bail out state or local governments: http://on.wsj.com/gHsWsw
A new Fed study suggests quantitative easing will add 700,000 jobs, reports Sewell Chan: "Even as the Federal Reserve released new evidence that its plan to buy $600 billion of Treasury securities to stimulate the recovery is working, scholars remain skeptical about the program’s effectiveness in the long run. A new study by Fed researchers, released at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, the world’s largest gathering of academic economists, said the program could lead to a 'significant pickup' in growth and the creation of roughly 700,000 jobs by 2012. Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s vice chairwoman, on Saturday used the study to offer a staunch defense of the program, which is supposed to last through June."
Financial economists are urging further bank reforms: http://on.wsj.com/ecIkPa
The US may not need a debt ceiling, writes Annie Lowrey: "Now, budget wonks argue, the ceiling is no longer really necessary, given Congress' budgetary power and process--as well as the realities of the budget itself. 'It used to help control the amount you could appropriate,' explains Stan Collender, a partner at Qorvis and longtime budget watcher and expert. 'But so much of the debt is mandatory now.' He continues: 'The truth is: You shouldn't have to raise the debt ceiling separately. The debt ceiling should be raised automatically when Congress agrees to a conference report on a budget resolution. That's how it's supposed to work. It is an anachronism.'"
Interspecies wrestling interlude: A bear and cat battle it out.
A cost control measure in health care reform is running into trouble with interest groups, reports Jordan Rau: "At issue are "accountable care organizations," which the Obama administration hopes will spring up around the country, initially treating Medicare patients but eventually other people as well. Networks of doctors and hospitals would coordinate patient care and earn bonuses if they save Medicare money and meet quality targets...With regulators planning to issue rules for ACOs in the coming weeks, some prominent doctor and hospital groups are pushing for features that some experts say could undermine the overall goal - improving care while containing costs. They're seeking limits on how the quality of their care will be judged, along with bonus rules that would make it easier for them to be paid extra for their work and to be paid quickly."
A test vote suggests that health care repeal will pass the House: http://on.wsj.com/faqNHz
Striking down the individual mandate could lead to single-payer, write Adam Chandler and Luke Norris: "Suppose that conservatives succeed with their current, safer legal strategy, and knock out the individual mandate. Because the private-only mandate had been the middle, compromise position, Congress would be left with the two more extreme options on health care--either a plan that includes something like the public option, or the status quo. As costs rise and more Americans go uninsured, will the public really want to roll back reform? When Americans are asked about the current health care law, a majority say they either favor it or wish it were even stronger. Making the public option the only option would fulfill the wish of those wanting a stronger bill."
The federal government is launching a consumer safety complaints database, reports Lyndsey Layton: "The federal government is poised for the first time to make public thousands of complaints it receives each year about safety problems with various products, from power tools to piggy banks. The compilation of consumer complaints, set to be launched online in March by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has been hailed by consumer advocates as a resource that will revolutionize the way people make buying decisions. But major manufacturing and industry groups have raised concerns about the public database, saying it may be filled with fictitious slams against their brands. Competitors or others with political motives could post inaccurate claims, business leaders say, and the agency will not be able to investigate most of the complaints."
The gun used in the Tucson shooting should be banned, writes Gail Collins: http://nyti.ms/dPmUPv
High-profile gun violence doesn't increase support for gun control, writes Chris Cillizza: "The Gallup numbers are almost entirely unaffected by incidents of gun violence that draw national attention. In 1999, when Gallup asked the question six times after the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, the number of those in favor of stricter laws ranged from 60 to 66 percent. The 'less strict' number ranged from 5 to 9 percent and the 'stay the same' number ranged from 25 to 31 percent. The opinions were similar after the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007. By October of that year, 51 percent favored stricter gun laws, a 5 percent decline from a similar Gallup survey taken in the fall of 2006."
Great moments in sports interlude: A surprisingly intense match of badminton.
Republicans are seeking to cut the EPA's budget, reports Ben Geman: "The newly announced chairman of the House panel that crafts Environmental Protection Agency spending bills signaled Friday that he will seek to scale back the agency’s regulatory powers. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) is chairman of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies subcommittee of the full Appropriations Committee. He was the ranking GOP member of the panel in the last Congress. Simpson’s office, in a statement, said he will be 'tasked with reducing spending levels that have grown out of control in recent years under Democrat control,' and that Simpson has his 'eyes set on EPA' in particular. 'The EPA is the scariest agency in the federal government, an agency run amok,' Simpson said in a statement Friday."
Rising gas prices are spurring more attacks on Obama's drilling policy: http://on.wsj.com/gzTVwS
A "Buy American" provision for solar power purchases by the government is upsetting Chinese officials, reports Keith Bradsher: "The military appropriations law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed 'Buy American' provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels -- a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week...China has emerged as the world’s dominant producer of solar panels in the last two years. It accounted for at least half the world’s production last year, and its market share is rising rapidly. The United States accounts for $1.6 billion of the world’s $29 billion market for solar panels; market analyses typically have not broken out military sales separately."
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown may introduce a bill delaying EPA climate rules for a year: http://bit.ly/gF8Oup
A bipartisan group of Senators is fighting the EPA's decision to allow higher ethanol content in gasoline: http://bit.ly/esFRrZ
Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams.