Who do you think is most to blame for the fiscal impasse?

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    40 %
    410 votes
    41 %
    422 votes
    4 %
    37 votes
    15 %
    All of them!
    156 votes

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From Manhattan to Monaco, the world's wealthiest people are disconnecting into a class of stateless transients.

By MSN Money Partner May 14, 2012 5:04PM

By Sam Pizzigati, guest columnist


Back in 1863, a short story took the American reading public by storm. Edward Everett Hale's, "The Man without a Country" told the tale of a poor treasonous soul sentenced to spend the rest of his life endlessly sailing the world in perpetual exile, as a prisoner aboard Navy warships.


Today's awesomely affluent are just as transient -- by choice.


Letting Greece leave the EU would be a reckless gamble. If Germany refuses to bend, it will be held responsible for whatever happens next.

By MSNMoney partner May 10, 2012 2:14PM

Greece's elections have confirmed its role as the worst pupil in the euro-area class. But with all respect to Paul Krugman and others, austerity isn't dead: It's now up to Germany to decide whether to ease up or hold firm and watch Greece leave the euro.


The May 6 vote showed clearly that Greeks aren't willing to accept further cuts. Almost 70 percent of voters backed political parties -- from anti-Europeans to neo-fascists -- that oppose sticking to the terms of the two bailouts since May 2010.


There's now a high likelihood the country will miss its next deadlines under the 130 billion euro ($169 billion) program it agreed to in February. That means the European Union and other exasperated international creditors may soon have to decide whether to pull the plug, leaving Greece to default and exit the euro. Economists at Citigroup Inc. say the odds of that happening in the next 18 months are now as high as 75 percent.


In fact, the GOP candidate himself should start arguing explicitly for greater inequality, as does his bold old crony from Bain Capital.

By MSNMoney partner May 10, 2012 2:11PM

By Michael Kinsley


The people at the New York Times Magazine must think that nobody has ever read Ayn Rand, or maybe even Adam Smith.


Their cover story on Sunday -- misleadingly titled "Are the Rich Worth a Damn?" -- reports breathlessly that there is this fellow named Edward Conard who believes in free-market capitalism and is willing to fill a gap in the argument we've been having about growing income inequality. Until now there hasn't been anyone, or at least anyone still alive, willing to say publicly that what the U.S. needs is more inequality, not less. (Conard has even written a book about "Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong.")


The argument is basically Smith's, carried to extremes: The invisible hand of free-market capitalism turns individual greed into prosperity for all. But Conard also shares Rand's special twist of portraying the successful businessman as a hero, the Alpha Male at his finest, and everybody else as mediocre deadbeats and leeches.


If inflation tops 2% and unemployment remains high, will the Fed leave interest rates low?

By The Fiscal Times May 9, 2012 5:13PM
By Mark ThomaThe Fiscal Times

At some point during the recovery, the Fed may face an important decision. If the inflation rate begins to rise above the Fed’s 2 percent target and the unemployment rate is still relatively high, will the Fed be willing to leave interest rates low and tolerate a temporary increase in the inflation rate?

Probably not. Even though higher inflation can help to stimulate a depressed economy, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, is not in favor of allowing higher inflation because it could undermine the Fed’s “hard-won inflation credibility.” And recent Fed communications seem to be setting the stage for the Fed to abandon its commitment to keep interest rates low through the end of 2014. This adds to the likelihood that the Fed will raise interest rates quickly if inflation begins increasing above the 2 percent target even if the economy has not yet fully recovered. 

While the trend is 'a small positive' for the president's re-election prospects, it is likely to be overshadowed by broader economic concerns.

By MSNMoney partner May 9, 2012 2:54PM

By Mike Dorning


Declining gasoline prices have blunted what only a month ago was one of the leading Republican lines of attack against President Barack Obama.


After an almost uninterrupted rise since mid-January, average national retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents since April 4, according to the American Automobile Association. The $3.76 per gallon national average yesterday was 20 cents lower than the same day a year ago.


A plunge in crude oil markets and gasoline futures Monday suggest further easing ahead for prices at the pump.


The comment counters accusations that the former Massachusetts governor is a 'rubber stamp' for policies that hurt the middle class.

By MSNMoney partner May 9, 2012 2:53PM

By Chris Christoff


Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney returned to his native state of Michigan on Tuesday day to criticize "old school" liberal policies of President Barack Obama that he said have cost the middle class income, jobs and amenities including vacations.


Romney, on a day when three more primary victories moved him closer to officially clinching his party's nomination, said he would champion free enterprise, smaller government and more manufacturing jobs.


With the elections in France and Greece Sunday, both supercharged by debt, deficits, and economic desperation, Europe is about to take a dramatic new direction.

By The Fiscal Times May 7, 2012 11:40AM
By Patrick SmithThe Fiscal Times

With the elections in France and Greece Sunday, both supercharged by debt, deficits, and economic desperation, Europe is about to take a dramatic new direction.

The eurozone is turning away from stringent austerity policies and toward those that stimulate demand. President-elect Francois Hollande, the first socialist president since Mitterrand, plans to raise taxes on the rich to meet some of his growth objectives.  However, without a credible debt reduction plan, Hollande risks a loss of confidence among investors and bondholders.   

Many Americans want a smaller public sector, but one of the biggest weaknesses in the economy is the ongoing loss of government jobs.

By MSNMoney partner May 4, 2012 12:40PM
By Rick Newman

Americans generally want smaller government, and the lower taxes that go with it. They're starting to get their wish—but it spells trouble for the broader economy.

The latest jobs data shows that the private sector added 130,000 jobs in April, while the government sector lost 15,000, for a net gain of 115,000 jobs. The longer-term trend is more stark. Since the start of 2011, the private sector has added 2.8 million jobs, while government has shed 280,000 jobs. 


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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages posted solid gains ahead of tomorrow's policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 rallied 0.8%, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) could not keep pace with the benchmark index.

Equity indices hovered near their flat lines during the first two hours of action, but surged in reaction to reports from the Wall Street Journal concerning tomorrow's FOMC statement. Specifically, Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath indicated that the statement ... More


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