I wasn't surprised by the latest report from the Commerce Department that shows the U.S. trade deficit, the excess of imports over exports, had jumped in January to the biggest imbalance in more than three years.

The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) is doling out $42 million in federal funding for housing counseling grants to 468 local, regional, and national organizations. Intended to prevent foreclosures and assist new home buyers, the grants will offer free assistance on foreclosure avoidance as well as educate buyers on how to rent or purchase a home. HUD alleges that beneficiaries of these services will help combat predatory lending practices, because buyers will be equipped with information to help them evade mortgage scams, high interest rates, and unreasonably high appraisals.

 

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced on Tuesday the Republican budget plan to take into the election debate; it is in sharp contrast to the Obama administration’s budget announced last month. Two key differences stand out: reducing the number of income tax brackets from the current six to just two (10 percent and 25 percent), and cutting corporate income tax rates from 35 percent currently to 25 percent. The Obama administration wants to raise taxes instead.

 

For proof that the Obama “recovery” remains unimpressive compared to previous recoveries, Cato Institute scholar Dan Mitchell gathered evidence from a number of sources to make his point.

 

Solyndra’s financial woes prompted White House officials to snub company executives from President Obama’s exclusive State of the Union box in January 2011, according to new e-mails released Friday. In May 2010, the President said that "companies like Solyndra" are the "true engine of economic growth," and in his 2010 State of the Union address, Obama claimed that the firm was "a California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels."

 

As the Federal Reserve came under increasing scrutiny by outraged lawmakers and the public in recent years, it hired a lobbyist to defend its controversial secrecy and produced propaganda-filled comic books aimed at young children. It even sought to develop a tool to spy on concerned citizens over the Internet.

 
 
 

"Pool-mageddon" was avoided last Thursday, albeit temporarily, when a federal regulation requiring all public pools to install handicapped-accessible ramps and lifts was extended for 60 days. Falling under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hotels and other organizations with publicly-accessible swimming pools could face a $100,000 fine for not complying with the rule. The regulation stems from amended rules under Title II and Title III of the ADA, which President Obama announced last July.

 

The average prices of a gallon of gas and a barrel of oil are near 150-year highs. Most pundits expect them to go higher. Are you ready for $5-per-gallon gasoline?

 

Goldman Sachs Corporation is facing a new wave of charges of not looking out for the interests of its clients this week, as one corporate vice president published a resignation March 14 letter in the New York Times and the company agreed March 13 to pay a $7 million fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Goldman Sachs stock took a hit on the two-pronged attack March 14, losing $2.2 billion in stock value with a three-percent plunge, though the stock recovered significantly the next day.

 

In an economic transaction, who should be the one saying thank you — the buyer or the seller? Or in an employment relationship, who should be thanking the other — the employer or the employee?

 

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