The U.S. economy shrank from October through December for the first time since the recession ended, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.
International bankers are hammering out the Basel III agreement, which will require banks to keep more capital in reserve relative to what they invest. It's a good idea, and one that would cushion the financial system from the next bust -- if the rules weren't being pushed so far into the future.
The latest Leading Economic Indicators reading and regional Philly Fed Index provide further evidence of weaker economic growth. And that complicates policymakers' efforts to lower the nation's high unemployment rate.