August 12, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Three years ago, a financial crisis triggered by bad mortgage investments spread from U.S. banks to Europe. Panicky financial markets tanked. Now fear is running in the opposite direction. Worries about toxic government debt held by European banks have hammered U.S. stocks. And they threaten to freeze credit on both sides of the Atlantic. And traders are wondering: Could Europe's government-debt crisis spread through the U.S. financial system? No one's sure because no one knows how much toxic debt European banks hold - or how much risk that debt poses to U.S. banks.
October 29, 1989 |
Picture a family hooked on credit cards living beyond its means. New clothes? Charge it. More medicine? Charge it. A night on the town? Charge it. Pretty soon the situation is out of hand. The parents have to borrow money just to pay the monthly interest. The balance owed on their credit cards keeps rising, faster and faster. Some restraint is attempted, but results are mixed. The parents can't stop whipping out the plastic. That is the situation of the federal government as it closes the borrow- and-spend decade of the 1980s.
December 15, 2011 |
NEW YORK - A growing sense that Europe's leaders have failed to contain that region's debt crisis swept through financial markets Wednesday. It started with the euro dropping below $1.30 for the first time since January and a jump in borrowing costs for Italian government debt. By the end of the trading day the Dow had lost 131 points, European stock indexes fell as much as 3 percent, and gold dropped $76, ending below $1,600 an ounce for the first time in more than two months. Investors dumped assets that might be seen as risky and piled into the most conservative ones around: the dollar and U.S. government debt.
March 30, 1994 |
Like a villain in a bad horror movie, the balanced budget amendment pops back to life every time it is killed. The proposal was defeated by only 12 votes in the House on March 17 - just weeks after it was rejected by the Senate - encouraging its supporters to gear up for another try next year. The amendment is bad economics, but it will keep coming back until we debunk the economic myths perpetuated by the debate. Foremost, we need to understand what the national debt is and is not. It is not something we owe to other countries; it is a debt of the government to its own people.
November 26, 2011 |
NEW YORK - The worst week for the stock market in two months ended with a whimper in thin trading Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 4.8 percent this week, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.7 percent. Both had their worst weeks since Sept. 23. Major indexes wavered throughout Friday's session, which ended at 1 p.m. because it was the day after Thanksgiving. Worries about Europe's debt crisis flared again after Italy had to pay 7.8 percent to borrow for two years at a debt auction.
December 29, 2011 |
NEW YORK - Stocks weakened Wednesday, ending a five-day advance in the S&P 500 index, as new signs of strain emerged in the European banking system. The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly a year, and Treasurys rallied. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 140 points. The S&P is negative for the year again, after barely turning positive Friday. The European Central Bank said banks had parked $590.72 billion with it overnight, surpassing the record set only Monday.
November 26, 2010
Justice delayed is finally coming to two groups of minority farmers who were discriminated against for decades by the federal government. The Senate has approved a $4.6 billion payment to settle claims by African American and Native American farmers who alleged that racial bias and mismanagement by government agencies cost members of both groups their land. The action is a welcome sign of bipartisan cooperation. Senate Republicans had repeatedly blocked legislation that included funding to settle the lawsuits.
July 29, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Fixed mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week as credit markets showed little reaction to Washington's impasse over raising the federal government's borrowing limit. Freddie Mac reported yesterday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan ticked up to 4.55 percent from 4.52 percent a week ago. That's slightly above this year's low of 4.49 percent. The average rate on the 15-year fixed loan was unchanged at 3.66 percent, just above the yearly low of 3.65 percent.
November 22, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Congress' supercommittee conceded ignominious defeat yesterday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending. Stock prices plummeted at home and across debt-scarred Europe as the panel ended its brief, secretive existence. Republicans and Democrats alike pointed fingers of blame, maneuvering for political advantage in advance of 2012 elections less than a year away.
July 16, 1986 |
In what has become an annual ritual, Congress yesterday again prepared to raise the limit on how much the federal government can borrow to pay its bills. The Senate Finance Committee approved a measure giving the Treasury Department the authority to borrow an additional $244 billion - enough to keep the government operating for about a year. The legislation would raise the government's debt ceiling to $2.3 trillion, more than double the level of just five years ago. Congress last raised the debt ceiling in December, from $1.8 trillion to $2.1 trillion.