Economy

2:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time Around

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

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12:16pm

Tue February 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Hard Line On U.S. Auto Industry Good For Primary But Trouble Beyond

Mitt Romney is sticking by his position, first taken in 2008, that the Obama administration should have let GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.

Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.

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6:44am

Tue February 14, 2012
The Two-Way

Drop In Auto Sales Leads To Smaller-Than-Expected Gain In U.S. Retail Sales

Retail sales rose by 0.4 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported today.

While that's better than December's flat number, it's less than the 0.8 percent expected by economists. The AP adds:

"When excluding autos and gasoline station sales, retail spending jumped 0.6 percent the best showing in three months.

"Consumers spent less on cars, the report showed, even though automakers have previously reported higher sales in January. That suggests dealers offered discounts in order to boost sales.

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3:22pm

Sat February 11, 2012
Economy

N.C. Regulator Tapped To Handle $25B Mortgage Deal

There was one little-noticed part of this week's announcement about the $25 billion national mortgage settlement. North Carolina's banking commissioner, Joseph Smith Jr., will take over a new role and serve as independent monitor. He'll oversee the five banks which agreed to new mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure standards.

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6:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
Economy

Warm Weather Easing Local Budgets

Temperatures have been above normal in Chicago this winter, saving the city's snow removal budget millions of dollars.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

In January of last year, snow blanketed more than 42 percent of the country. Last month, it was just under 13 percent. The warm weather has lowered our heating bills and created a bit of an economic boost.

After two brutally long winters, the temperatures this year have been positively balmy. In the Washington, D.C., area, they've hovered in the 50s for much of the past two and a half months. Area landscapers, whose schedules are usually pretty lean this time of year, are busier. Take Chuck Dod Landscaping, which is building a stone wall in the backyard of a home in Mclean, Va.

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