government spending

U.S. Economic Recovery Is Weakest Since World War II

Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest.

White House Announces Plan to Ease Student Loans

Noting that it took President Obama 10 years to pay back his student loans, White House officials today announced a new presidential initiative aimed at helping others pay back the cost of their higher educations. Student loans have overtaken credit cards as the nation's largest source of debt.

Consumer Sentiment Index Jumps to Three-Year High

The markets may have had a rough weak as U.S. GDP growth was revised down and Middle East unrest caused oil prices to rise, but the consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since January 2008. Sentiment has risen for about six months -- an encouraging sign -- but oil prices could sour the mood.

Getting to Zero: How Congress Could Balance the Federal Budget

It took about 10 years of decisions for the federal budget to get more than a trillion dollars out of whack, and it's going to take at least five years to balance it again. The only way to do it is piece-by-piece, with equal sacrifices from both Republicans and Democrats.

Why Interest Rates Keep Rising, Despite QE2

The Federal Reserve is doling out billions to buy bonds in hopes of keeping interest rates low and stimulating the economy. However, several powerful forces are working against that low-rate strategy, ranging from investor psychology to global competition for capital.

America's Malady: A Bad Case of 'Baumol's Disease'

Unlike an illness caused by microscopic invaders of your body, which might raise your temperature and cause you physical aches and pains, Baumol's Cost Disease raises wages and causes some painful shifts in a nation's labor balance. Unfortunately, it's natural, and there's no miracle cure.

IMF Cuts Outlook for World Economic Growth

The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for world economic growth, saying that the economic recovery will slow as governments cut their budgets. The IMF cut its outlook for the U.S. economy to 2.2% growth in 2011, from a previous estimate of 2.9%.

GM Resumes Political Donations

General Motors Co., which is 61% owned by the U.S. government, resumed making political donations after an 18 month break. The company%u2019s political action donated a total $48,000 to Republicans and Democrats, with contributions going to figures including Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, The Detroit News reported.

White House Fights Back on Stimulus Spending

The White House fought back against criticisms of the $814 billion stimulus plan, with a new report that highlights job-creating projects including bridges, roads and cancer research. Vice President Joe Biden is releasing a report Friday called "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America," The Associated Press reported. The report points to projects it says are creating employment and boosting economic growth.

Obama Administration Considering New Mortgage Industry Fees

President Barack Obama%u2019s administration may propose that any government backing of mortgages be funded by fees on mortgage lenders, The Wall Street Journal reported. The administration has not come up with a final plan for mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Wall Street Journal reported without naming its sources. Still, the consensus is that the mortgage market requires some kind of government guarantee.

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Drop Slightly to 454,000

Initial jobless claims fell 21,000 to 454,000 in the week ended July 3, suggesting that recovery in the labor market remains sluggish. The revised figure for the previous week was 475,000. The four-week average of initial claims, a clearer measure of employment trends, dropped 1,250 to 466,000, the Department of Labor said on its website.

Passing the Budget Hot Potato to a Bipartisan Panel

President Obama has created a commission to tackle runaway federal deficits "brought on by years of bad habits." The bipartisan panel's goals are to figure out how to reduce spending for all federal programs by 2015, as well as address long-term budget shortfalls. Good luck.

Portfolio advice for your body

A recent federal study projects government health care spending nearly doubling to some $2 trillion by 2017. It puts lots of blame on aging...