Posted by on February 26, 2015
“If independence is an issue, than we really ought to examine the independence of the Fed
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) was interviewed on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Wednesday following the committee’s hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
You can watch the entire interview by clicking on the image, and below are excerpts that may be of particular interest.
On his reaction to Chair Yellen’s testimony:
“Well, I was disappointed because what we have seen now is that middle income families are still struggling in the slowest, weakest recovery in the postwar era, and yet it seems that we will continue on extraordinary measures that were employed back in 2008 and here we are in 2015. And yet they are not more transparent, they are not more accountable, and the real issue is, economists I know believe that we are best served when the Federal Reserve will communicate to the public what their monetary policy will be, and yet we didn't hear it in this particular testimony.”
On the Federal Reserve’s independence:
“[M]any of us believe that if independence is an issue, than we really ought to examine the independence of the Fed from the executive branch of government. That’s where the real threat is, not from the legislative branch that merely has asked the Fed -- you make up monetary policy, you can waive it, you can change it, but you ought to have an obligation to communicate it to the rest of us, and when you don't, you hinder economic growth, you hinder a healthy economy, you hinder middle income America that now has smaller paychecks and a smaller bank account.”
On making the Fed more transparent and accountable:
“The House Financial Services Committee moved a bill that, again, would simply ask the Fed to reveal its policy -- it's really about transparency and accountability -- just as long as they reported it to the rest of us and to ensure that the Fed, as you know, just doesn't have to do with monetary policy, it has to do with being a prudential banking regulator. And yet they are exempt from any of the provisions like cost-benefit analysis that other prudential regulators are required to do. We moved that bill in the last Congress. I intend to move a similar bill in this Congress.”
Posted by Staff on February 25, 2015
1). The Ex-Im Bank may harm as many jobs as it claims to support.
Government export finance assistance programs like Ex-Im “largely shift production among sectors within the economy rather than raise the overall level of employment in the economy.” - Government Accountability Office, “Export-Import Bank: Key Factors in Considering Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization”
“[A]t best the Ex-Im Bank creates jobs in export industries by destroying jobs in non-export industries.” – Donald Boudreaux, Ph.D, Professor of Economics at George Mason University
“By some estimates, the [Ex-Im] Bank’s loan guarantees have resulted in up to 7,500 lost U.S. carrier jobs, and up to $684 million of lost income for U.S. airline employees annually.” – Delta Airlines
2). The Ex-Im Bank doesn’t necessarily return money to the taxpayers.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that if Ex-Im followed more accurate accounting rules – Fair-Value Accounting – its ledger would show a cost to taxpayers of $200 million/year, or $2 billion over 10 years. -- CBO Fair-Value Estimate
3). Only 1% of 1% of America’s Small Businesses Benefit from Ex-Im.
Congress requires that 20% of Ex-Im’s authorizations go to small businesses, but Ex-Im consistently fails to meet this statutory requirement. In reality, only .01% of America’s small businesses receive any help at all from Ex-Im.
Instead, Ex-Im’s subsidies overwhelmingly benefit very large corporations.
4). The Ex-Im Bank uses American taxpayers’ money to help foreign corporations, including businesses that are owned by the governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Of the 50 largest loans or guarantees approved by the Ex-Im Bank between FY2007-mid FY2014, 46% went to state-owned foreign companies or to a joint-venture that includes a state-owned company.
5). The Ex-Im Bank is not critical to our economy. It financed only about 1% of total U.S. exports in 2014.
Posted by Staff on February 13, 2015
Committee Examines Risky Practices at FHA
The committee held a hearing on Wednesday to examine the fiscal health of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and heard testimony from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
In its coverage of the hearing, the Wall Street Journal noted that since 2009 the FHA has been in violation of the law which requires the agency to have a capital buffer equal to at least two percent of the loans it guarantees. While Secretary Castro told the committee the premium cuts would push back the FHA’s return to the two percent threshold by only “a few months,” the Journal reported that Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi and others have said “the fund might not return to the two percent level until 2018, two years later than an estimate made by the FHA’s independent actuary in November.”
After questioning from Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), “Castro acknowledged that the 50-basis-point reduction in fees would slow full restoration of the fund," noted the American Banker. "Duffy said it was proof of Republican arguments."“Republicans cite the FHA’s need for a $1.7 billion draw from the Treasury in 2013 to shore up its reserve fund as reason to be concerned about the agency’s failure to move faster toward the two percent level,” The Hill reported in its coverage of the hearing.
Coming to your inbox on Sunday afternoon in this week’s Video Message: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) will discuss why hardworking taxpayers should be concerned the FHA is putting them and homebuyers at risk.Committee Holds Markup of Views and Estimates
At Thursday’s full committee markup, Chairman Hensarling said “[The] debt….represents roughly $160,000 of debt for every American household.”
"That particular debt you see on the clock today represents roughly $160,000 of debt for every American household. That comes out of their American dream. That is funds that cannot be used to send kids to college. Those are funds that can no longer be used to pay for health care premiums that have risen. They are funds that cannot be used to capitalize a new small business so that again they can achieve their American dream," said Chairman Hensarling.
"The Budget Views and Estimates that have been put together today will help this committee and help the Budget Committee guide our proceedings to ensure that we can help low and middle-income Americans in their pursuit of happiness and that we can ensure that we do not leave a legacy of debt for our children and our grandchildren and betray the American dream; which is not the fancy new car, it is not the new home with the kitchen and the granite countertops. The American dream is ensuring that our children and grandchildren have greater opportunities, greater freedom and a higher standard of living than we have enjoyed," added Chairman Hensarling.
Rep. Andy Barr | Congressman holds roundtable with bankers
A reintroduced bill could allow for more homeowners in Scott County, as well the creation of new jobs, said U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky at a roundtable discussion with Scott County bankers. The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Act would “expand the access of mortgage credit to the citizens of Scott County and all across the country,” he said.
Weekend Must Reads
American Action Forum | Dodd-Frank Rulemaking Excluded From Regulatory Review
An effort to reduce red tape by financial regulators excludes one of the most burdensome financial laws in recent memory, the Dodd-Frank Act.
Fiscal Times | The Spectacular Too Big Failure of Dodd-Frank
If the point of Dodd-Frank was to eliminate TBTF, it’s clearly failed. Instead, what it has done is prove the point of conservatives, who have consistently argued that regulatory expansion disproportionately impacts smaller players in any market. If the point of Dodd-Frank was to help consumers, that too has been a failure. Consolidation reduces both choice and proximity for most consumers, and the data from Harvard amply demonstrates that in the wake of Dodd-Frank. Rather than provide more competition for service and price, consolidation has left borrowers more and more at the whims of fewer and fewer providers. About the only success we see from Dodd-Frank is the strengthening of lobbyists on Capitol Hill, particularly from Wall Street.
The Hill | Overregulation is endangering our credit unions
The mounting costs and growing complexity of credit unions’ compliance burden are driven by two key components of overregulation: regulators’ overestimation of risk and the need to regulate it, and their underestimation of the time it takes to comply with a rule that, in the end, confers little benefit. Unfortunately, the result has become abundantly apparent as more and more credit unions, not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions, have ceased doing business. Since 2007, the number of credit unions has declined by 1,600. That’s a whopping 21 percent drop. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise credit unions and NAFCU believe “enough is enough” when it comes to overregulation.
In the News
Wall Street Journal | HUD Secretary Defends Decision to Lower FHA Fees
Financial Times | Regulations hit smaller US banks hardest
El Paso Inc. | Community banks lobby for relief
Investor's Business Daily | Economic Optimism Index Dives Among Middle Class: Poll
Posted by Staff on February 10, 2015
Several months ago this blog noted that Australia’s richest citizen secured a nearly $700 million loan for a new mining project from American taxpayers thanks to the U.S. Export-Import. Now the Australian Business Review is reporting that the project “is set for very large losses.”
Now we know why banks & investors wouldn’t take the risk – but, American taxpayers did. #ThanksExIm
Posted by Staff on February 06, 2015
Subcommittee Examines Legal and Ethical Violations at HUD
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee heard testimony at its hearing on Wednesday that senior officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development broke federal law and faced minor consequences for various ethical and legal violations.
In its coverage of the hearing testimony, the Washington Post reported the alleged violations include financial fraud, sexual harassment, nepotism and conflicts of interest.
"I want to make clear to committee members that these are different allegations against different employees in different departments and divisions responsible for very different tasks, but they seem to display the same cavalier attitude that shows these employees do not believe in following the rules and they do not care about getting caught. And when they do get caught, they do not care that they are obstructing an investigation or Congress," said Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI). "It’s an attitude I think Americans are learning is prevalent throughout this Administration. And it’s an attitude I think we’re quickly getting tired of."
The Washington Times noted in its coverage of the hearing that, among various violations, HUD officials violated federal law by using taxpayer money to lobby Congress for increased HUD funding.
A witness from the Government Accountability Office told the Subcommittee that her agency concluded HUD officials violated federal law by engaging in “indirect or grassroots lobbying” when they urged individuals at organizations that receive HUD funding to contact members of Congress regarding HUD’s pending appropriations bill.
A report issued last year from HUD’s Inspector General into this same matter also revealed that HUD officials attempted to cover up their illegal lobbying activity by obstructing the investigation.NOTE: Coming to your e-mail inbox on Sunday afternoon -- this week’s Video Message will include some highlights of the Subcommittee’s hearing, with appearances by Chairman Sean Duffy and Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick | Fitzpatrick bill protects small businesses, families, taxpayers
No matter how well intentioned the more than 2,000 pages of Dodd-Frank regulations — and tens of thousands of other federal rules — there is always room to be made more effective and responsible. This is what the CLO provisions in Fitzpatrick’s bill (as well as the 10 other bipartisan measures) do: They work to protect consumers while letting small banks and businesses do their job. Why then a sudden uproar when Congress considered Fitzpatrick’s bill? Rep. Fitzpatrick’s colleague from across the aisle, and the Delaware River, Rep. John Carney (Del.) even offered this about the bill: “The provisions in this bill have passed Congress overwhelmingly in years past. Only now has it become distorted and mischaracterized for political purposes.”
Weekend Must Reads
Gallup | The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment
I hear all the time that "unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren't feeling it." When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren't "feeling" something that doesn't remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.
Palm Beach Post | 3 Ways to Level the Economic Playing Field
Many longstanding federal and state policies privilege some businesses and not others. This tilted playing field isn’t just unfair; it’s grossly inefficient. It undermines competition, discourages innovation, and prompts businesses to expend billions of dollars in socially wasteful efforts to win the favor of politicians. But it need not be this way. A serious agenda to level the economic playing field appeals to both the progressive impulse to stick up for the powerless and the conservative urge to check government’s scope and power.
Investor's Business Daily | Collapsing Homeownership Proves Folly Of Federal Housing Policies
The government's homeownership scheme, like so much of what the meddling do-gooders inside the Beltway do, was viewed as grand and noble — until it all came crashing down on everyone. They turned the American Dream into a nightmare. But the social engineers never learned their lesson. In fact, they're doubling down on their mistakes.
On the Horizon
February 11, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Washington Examiner | Housing projects use tax dollars to lobby for more tax dollars
Washington Times | Millions in HUD money went to lobbying, not housing
Business Wire | CAGW Announces 2014 Porker of the Year Nominees
Washington Post | The diminishing returns of today’s homeownership policies
Investor's Business Daily | Watt Moves To Take Fannie, Freddie Off Sound Credit Standard
Posted by Staff on January 30, 2015
Washington ‘Rolling the Dice’ Again on Risky Housing Schemes
At a hearing on Tuesday, members of the committee voiced their strong concerns to the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency regarding recent FHFA actions that could repeat the same mistakes that led to the financial crisis.
"Contrary to the fable told by the left, the root cause of the financial crisis was not deregulation but dumb regulation. Regulations and statutes that either incented or mandated financial institutions to loan money to people to buy homes they ultimately could not afford to keep. Exhibit one, Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing goals. 70 percent of all troubled mortgages were backstopped by Fannie, Freddie and other federal agencies," said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
"Regrettably, Washington appears to be rolling the dice yet again. Within the last 12 months FHFA has announced three different policies that are harmful to transitioning us to a sustainable housing finance system that protects both homeowners and taxpayers," added Chairman Hensarling.
Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) noted, "At today’s hearing, FHFA Director Mel Watt agreed that there are certain tenants of responsible lending; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not adhere to those tenants, and that could ultimately leave taxpayers in the position of once again footing a massive bailout. Director Watt confirmed today that taxpayers are backing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and will continue to be on the hook until housing finance reform is enacted. It is unfathomable that Director Watt thinks it is acceptable to take no action to protect taxpayers, particularly given that our nation is just a few years removed from a financial crisis that saw record numbers of foreclosures and the largest taxpayer funded bailout in history."
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) said, "As I witnessed as a mayor, I have actually seen how these heavily involved government policies have actually hurt many cities in their ability to thrive and to grow. We have watched homes being built and actually seen those homes a year later completely empty, and hardworking families lose their credit and their ability to get into a home.”
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer | Luetkemeyer leads effort to end Operation Choke Point
“We’re very pleased they’ve acknowledged their wrongdoing and they’ve accepted our suggestions to put in place measures to stop this activity,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., told The Daily Signal in a phone call this morning. Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee and leader in the fight to end Operation Choke Point, met with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenbery and Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig earlier today as a follow-up to concerns voiced last November.
Weekend Must Reads
Investor's Business Daily | Free Spending In Washington In A Time Of Frugality
Given half-trillion-dollar deficits, this is supposed to be an era of belt-tightening for governmental agencies. But you wouldn't know it from the fat-and-happy spending by some of them. Fannie Mae and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for example, have both announced they're moving on up into glitzy new downtown Washington, D.C., office buildings costing taxpayers hundreds of millions.
McClatchy | Federal debt will explode over next 10 years, CBO says
The improving deficit numbers are temporary. Budget deficits are projected to begin going up again in 2018, and to nearly double by 2024 as retiring baby boomers strain the health and retirement systems, the economy grows more slowly and interest on the nation’s outstanding debt rises.
Real Clear Policy | The Crushing Burden of Government Regulation
Three years ago, Democrats and Republicans joined together to enact the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act to reform U.S. securities law and make it easier for small businesses to raise capital. That law was a good start, but more needs to be done. So, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.) is building support for a JOBS Act II, whose passage should be a no brainer for legislators of both parties.
On the Horizon
February 4, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Wall Street Journal | Hensarling’s Housing History LessonBloomberg | Bipartisan Support for Dodd-Frank Changes: Neugebauer
Wall Street Journal | Fannie, Freddie Regulator Defends Actions
Wall Street Journal | FDIC: Examiners Must Give Banks Written Notice on Risky Accounts
American Banker | FSOC's Proposed SIFI Reforms Are 'Too Little, Too Late': Critics
Posted by Staff on January 26, 2015
In this week's FSC Video Message, members give their thoughts on the president’s State of the Union speech.
Posted by Staff on January 23, 2015
Committee Adopts Oversight Plan
On Wednesday the Committee voted unanimously to adopt the Committee's oversight plan for the 114th Congress.
"No one in Washington – Republican or Democrat – should ever be allowed to carelessly spend the hard-eared taxpayers’ money. And that is why this committee will continually and vigilantly monitor every agency and every program under our jurisdiction. Hopefully we feel this is a bipartisan mission and a bipartisan commitment," said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
"If a program isn’t working, if it does more harm than good, it is time to reform it or it is time to get rid of it. If policies or regulations don’t make common sense, let’s make them sensible. That will lead to a better economy," added Chairman Hensarling. "As all of us know, consumers remain very concerned about the economy. Still too many live paycheck to paycheck. Too many have seen their paychecks shrink. Americans deserve an economy that meets its full potential. That is something I hope members on both sides of the aisle will be committed to -- that we will have a healthier, more robust economy."
Rep. Patrick McHenry | McHenry: "Get Lending Moving Again"
“The number one priority is to ensure that we get lending moving again,” McHenry said, during a phone interview. “Small community banks and credit unions have been harmed by the regulatory agenda in Washington that makes it more costly to get credit and less available in a time where families and small businesses need access to capital. In addition to that, it’s important that we ensure that the government is no longer on the hook for bailouts of banks, or any other institution, for that matter, in the United States. We’re working through changes to Dodd-Frank to ensure that the government is not on the hook for bailouts going forward.”
Weekend Must Reads
Washington Post | The Federal Housing Administration’s risky move to lower premiums
Taxpayers might legitimately wonder, however, why it’s necessary to take on this additional risk so soon after the FHA’s bailout, before the capital cushion is even halfway rebuilt — and at a time when homebuyers are already enjoying record-low interest rates, plus a windfall from cheaper gasoline. The president’s own estimate of the cash savings from the premium cut implies that it would pump less than $1 billion a year of consumer cash into an economy that is already recovering well without it. The premium reduction takes effect Jan. 26, so the administration can still reconsider, which is what it will do if it has really learned a key lesson of the Great Recession: Finance in general, and mortgage finance in particular, is riskier than it sometimes seems, and the best protection against those risks is a solid core of capital.
CNBC | Kiss that 'shrinking' budget deficit goodbye
"However, mandatory federal spending, especially for public retirement and health-care benefits, continued to expand unabated in the first three months of the fiscal year. Such rising mandatory expenditures foreshadow spiraling federal deficits and debt ahead."
Investor's Business Daily | Next Housing Bubble Will Be Caused By Gov't, Not 'Greed'
Fannie and Freddie are now purchasing the large majority of mortgages and announced last month that they would buy mortgages with only 3% down payments. The qualified mortgage standards that HUD and other regulators laid down in October allowed for mortgages with zero down payments. That sounds like a recipe for another housing bubble — and for mass foreclosures, which hurt the policies' intended beneficiaries — and perhaps for another financial crisis as well.
CNN Money | Obama says wages are growing. They're not
Wages basically didn't grow at all in 2014, according to the Labor Department. The median weekly wage at the end of 2014 was $796 (seasonally adjusted). That's barely changed from the same time in 2013, when the weekly wage was $794.
On the Horizon
January 27, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Wall Street Journal | Obama’s Middle-Class Blind Spot
Washington Times | The unvarnished state of the union
Wall Street Journal | The Gaslight Presidency
Investor's Business Daily | President Obama's Tax Hike Plan Is A Plan For Failure
Wall Street Journal | Tax Reform Should Go Right Down Main Street
Posted by Staff on January 23, 2015
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) will appear on CSPAN’s Newsmakers this Sunday, January 25th at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. ET. The Chairman will offer his thoughts on the President’s State of the Union speech, fundamental tax reform, the economy, and the need for Congress to pass sustainable housing finance reform.
Posted by Staff on January 16, 2015
Bipartisan Majority Passes Regulatory Relief Bill to Help Create Jobs
On Wednesday the House passed H.R. 37, the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act, with a bipartisan vote of 271-154.
The bill is a package of 11 targeted measures overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and Democrats in the 113th Congress which reduce regulatory burdens and make it easier for small businesses to access job-creating capital.
“It is clear that smart regulations allow the private sector to innovate and create more jobs while protecting taxpayers and consumers. However, it is equally clear that one-size-fits-all regulations hurt the economy by treating small and medium sized companies as if they are large, multinational corporations,” said Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the bill’s sponsor. “No Main Street small business, manufacturer, farmer or rancher caused the financial crisis. Yet they are subject to thousands of new pages of regulations that were supposedly designed for big Wall Street firms. That’s not fair.”
Taking note of the divisions the bill has caused in the House Democratic caucus, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said during debate that “it is time to do what everybody claims they want to do, and that is work on a bipartisan basis. All of these bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and now because of this almost religious zeal for the Dodd-Frank brand, some of my Democratic colleagues have decided they were for it before they were against it.”
One of the bill’s Democratic supporters, Rep. John Carney (D-DE), echoed Chairman Hensarling’s remarks.
“The provisions in this bill have passed Congress overwhelmingly in years past,” said Rep. Carney. “Only now has it become distorted and mischaracterized for political purposes. I will continue to stand firm in supporting improvements to financial regulations that will protect consumers and help businesses create jobs. That’s why I voted for this bill.”
Committee Holds Organizational Meeting
The Committee held its organizational meeting to adopt the rules package for the 114th Congress on Wednesday. At the conclusion of the meeting, Chairman Hensarling announced Republican subcommittee assignments as well as the Committee’s leadership team for the 114th Congress.
“I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to pass laws that help grow the economy from Main Street up, not Washington down,” said Chairman Hensarling. “Our committee will continue to focus on promoting sensible solutions that help create jobs and hold both Washington and Wall Street accountable to the American people."
Rep. Bill Huizenga | Rep. Huizenga's mergers and acquisitions bill passes House of Representatives
"My bill idea came not from anybody on Wall Street, not from anybody in Washington, D.C., but from a mergers and acquisitions lawyer back in my district -- back in Grand Rapids, Michigan -- who said, we've been struggling with this problem and we need some help because we cannot get the SEC to move on this. ... 'It has been estimated that approximately $10 trillion of privately owned small family-owned type businesses will be sold or, worse yet, closed in the coming years as baby boomers retire. I don't think any of us would think that's a good thing."
Weekend Must Reads
American Banker | A New Congress, a New Chance to Rein In the CFPB
Congress should act to curb the CFPB. For one thing, Congress should ensure that it, rather than the Fed, funds the agency. This would make the agency directly accountable to Congress, which is in turn politically accountable to voters.
Real Clear Markets | The Illegitimate Dodd-Frank Law Has Nothing To Do With the Financial Crisis
Although the American people were told that the Dodd-Frank Act was a response to the 2008 financial crisis and was intended to prevent similar financial crises in the future, neither the administration nor Congress ever made any effort to determine what actually caused the crisis. Instead, the narrative that drove Dodd-Frank was concocted to achieve an ideological purpose: to impose greater regulation on the US financial system.
Real Clear Markets | Dodd-Frank Most Likely To Be At the Root Of a Future Crisis
Enhancing regulatory powers may seem like a good way to prevent people at financial companies from doing stupid or greedy things. Regulators, however, also do stupid and greedy things. The stakes are higher when regulators make mistakes because regulatory influence is not limited to one firm.
On the Horizon
January 21, 2015 2:00 p.m.
The News Journal | Delaware’s John Carney backs Dodd-Frank revision
The Hill | Hedge poised to cash in on Obama's vetoAssociated Press | Obama signs terrorism insurance renewal
The Hill | Why we should demand regulatory reform
Wall Street Journal | The Fed Cash Machine
Washington Times | Anti-growth policies slow jobs creation
Wall Street Journal | MetLife Takes On the Feds
Watchdog.org | Controversy builds at U.S. consumer protection bureau
Investor's Business Daily | Is American Business On Road To Extinction?
Investor's Business Daily | Obama's Record On Debt, Deficits Is Worst Ever
Wall Street Journal | How Spending Sapped the Global Recovery
The Hill | MetLife goes to court
Washington Times | Hiding the real economic story