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Friday, January 25, 2008

The Market Meltdown - Getting the US Economy Back on Track - ASK THE EXPERT

Since the beginning of the current business cycle in early 2001, family incomes in the United States have not risen, yet the costs for important consumer items such as housing, health care, transportation, energy, and food all climbed at often breathtaking speeds. To afford these necessities, families piled on record amounts of debt relative to their income�at a rate more than four times faster than that in the 1990s.

Families, though, were not the only ones going deeper into debt. The federal government ran up large budget deficits due to massive tax cuts for the rich and a spending spree for an ill-designed Medicare prescription drug benefit and two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since March 2001, foreign investors financed close to 80 percent of the federal budget deficit.

More importantly, these large capital inflows financed a massive U.S. trade deficit that still remains at an unsustainable 5 percent of gross domestic product. To finance this deficit, the U.S. economy borrowed heavily overseas, selling everything to foreign investors, including home mortgages.

The result: a vicious cycle of debt, with foreign investors fueling a housing market boom that required households to borrow money that foreigners were willing to borrow.

This process is now going into reverse. Stock market investors are selling off shares tied however tenuously to the U.S. housing market, thus fueling the financial markets downturn. This sell off is also increasing worries about a broader credit crunch that could lead to further deterioration in the U.S. housing market.

The largest drawback of the debt boom was that it let U.S. policymakers get away with not addressing the country's underlying economic problems. The fundamental weaknesses of the U.S. economy�a weak labor market, large budget deficits, and massive trade deficits, and an unsustainable housing boom�were masked by record amounts of debt, allowing the federal govern

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The Health Care Crisis- 47 Million Can't Afford to Get Sick


America's health system is in crisis, leaving out too many and costing too much. 47 million Americans lack health insurance. Millions more are struggling to pay premiums that are growing five times faster than wages, but still seeing their benefits shrink. While some Americans have access to the most sophisticated medical care in the world, others are left to overcrowded emergency rooms, under-funded clinics, or no health care at all - all because they lack the insurance it takes to provide for the care they need. This is wrong. It violates America's deep, long-standing commitment to fairness for all of our citizens - old and young, weak and strong. Unlocking our health care system's potential for everyone in America is the great moral challenge of our time. Center for American Progress Health Policy Director Karen Davenport explains what's at stake as President Bush prepares to deliver his final State of the Union address in ASK THE EXPERT, CAP's new video feature.

www.AMERICANPROGRESS.org


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The Legacy of Karl Rove



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EDWARDS- Kingmaker, Spoiler, or Hypocrite?

EDWARDS: Kingmaker, Spoiler, or Hypocrite?

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Evening News Pt. 1

Friday: Obama's lead narrows in the upcoming S.C. primary; Wild weather in California; a reading program under scrutiny; Europe on terror alert; and An autistic boy who carries a patriotic tune.

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Evening News Pt. 4

Friday: Obama's lead narrows in the upcoming S.C. primary; Wild weather in California; a reading program under scrutiny; Europe on terror alert; and An autistic boy who carries a patriotic tune.

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Evening News Pt. 2

Friday: Obama's lead narrows in the upcoming S.C. primary; Wild weather in California; a reading program under scrutiny; Europe on terror alert; and An autistic boy who carries a patriotic tune.

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Evening News Pt. 3

Friday: Obama's lead narrows in the upcoming S.C. primary; Wild weather in California; a reading program under scrutiny; Europe on terror alert; and An autistic boy who carries a patriotic tune.

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Saddam Caught Off Guard

George Piro, an FBI agent assigned to interrogate Saddam Hussein, tells 60 Minutes Correspondent Scott Pelley that the former Iraqi dictator did not expect an invasion from the U.S. military.

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Consumer Haven In Gold

In times of economic hardship, the price of gold continues to climb. Randall Pinkston reports on how jewelers, consumers, and one entrepreneurs are cashing-in on the goldmine.

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Terror Plots Concern Officials

The U.S. Attorney General says that he is troubled by the recent string of suspected terror plots throughout Europe. CBS National Security Correspondent David Martin reports from the Pentagon.

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Does Hillary's Husband Help?

Former President Bill Clinton has been a fierce contributor to his wife's campaign. But, as Jim Axelrod reports, some say that this might not be the best thing for Hillary in South Carolina.

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GOP Candidates Focus On Fla.

The race for the Republican presidential nomination intensifies, as GOP hopefuls such as John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are heating up their campaigns in the Sunshine State. Byron Pitts reports.

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Eye To Eye- Sen. Mary Landrieu

Only On The Web: Sharyl Attkisson speaks with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who watchdogs claim used money earmarked for a reading program to attract campaign funds.

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Romney Slams McCain In Fla.

CBS News RAW: While campaigning in Pensacola, Fla., Mitt Romney lashed out at Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for attacking his personal record during a GOP debate.

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Stimulus Plan Faces Setbacks

Congress' economic stimulus plan has already faced problems on Capitol Hill. While the House has high hopes for the deal, it could fall apart in the Senate. Susan Roberts reports from Washington.

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McCain's Mom Blasts GOP

CBS News RAW: In an interview with C-SPAN's Steve Scully, John McCain's mother, Roberta McCain, criticized the Republican party for failing to support her son's bid for the GOP nomination.

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Democrats Hold Fire In S.C.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are toning down their hostility on the eve of the South Carolina primary. John Edwards, however, might have the most to gain in the state. Drew Levinson reports.

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Edwards Ad- 'Grown Up'

This John Edwards ad features a clip of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama arguing at the S.C. Democratic debate. "This kind of squabbling-how many children is this gonna get health care?" asks Edwards.

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Obama Does Letterman's Top Ten

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman" to deliver his top ten list of campaign "promises."

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GOP's Friendly Faceoff

The Republican debate in Florida ahead of the state's pivotal primary was largely a civil affair, with the two main issues being the economy and the Clintons. Byron Pitts reports.

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GOP Debate Breakdown

Jeff Greenfield tells Harry Smith he believes Mitt Romney prevailed at the GOP debate in Florida and discusses the upcoming primary in the Sunshine State.

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Hillary Gets NYT Endorsement

Sen. Hillary Clinton talks to Harry Smith about her New York Times endorsement, including the newspaper's appeal for her to take charge of cleaning up the campaign.

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Cannabis Machine Hits L.A.

A vending machine for medical marijuana and other prescriptions is making its debut in Los Angeles. Soon the cannabis dispensers will be available throughout California. Jennifer Sabih reports.

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Kroft's Reporter's Notebook

Steve Kroft discusses how the subprime mortgage crisis has affected mortgage owners in Stockton, Calif.

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Pelley's Reporter's Notebook

Scott Pelley discusses his candid interview with FBI agent George Piro, who was assigned to interrogate Saddam Hussein.

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MoneyWatch

The stock market met with further troubles today. Alexis Christoforous reports from New York on the daily top financial news.

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MoneyWatch

Alexis Christoforous reports on the U.S. economic stimulus package; home mortgage interest rates hit a 4-year low; and what to expect from Microsoft's earnings report.

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