Jan 26, 2012, 9:56 am EDT
President Barack Obama is getting tough on trade. In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the president announced the creation of a new Trade Enforcement Unit that will be tasked with investigating unfair trade practices in countries, such as China. The new unit will reportedly use investigators and other federal resources to combat what the administration considers the lack of fairness between countries.
Here’s the money quote from the president’s speech on this issue: “I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules…our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you — America will always win.”
Of course, talking tough on China has become a favorite pastime of politicians in Washington. Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has also been talking tough on China, vowing to designate the country as a “currency manipulator” and impose duties on China’s imports if the yuan isn’t allowed to float freely against the dollar. Read
Jan 26, 2012, 9:39 am EDT
It’s never too early to start thinking ahead to the potential impact an election can have on the markets, and a look at some important numbers shows that investors may want to consider what impact President Barack Obama’s re-election will have on stock prices. Here’s why: GOP candidate Mitt Romney is generally seen as the only candidate capable of beating Obama in the fall, yet several factors are weighing against him even if he fends off Newt Gingrich’s latest surge.
1. Conservative Disaffection
Although conventional wisdom says that a moderate Republican is more likely to win a general election than a conservative, recent history has shown that GOP candidates can’t win without enthusiastic conservative support. Ronald Reagan won as a conservative candidate twice, and so did George W. Bush — although it’s a matter of debate how much Bush actually followed conservative principals once he was in office. On the other hand, Republicans who ran as moderates — George H.W. Bush (1992) and John McCain (2008) — were both soundly beaten.
Today, we see moderate Republican Mitt Romney running into similar problems as his predecessors. This is evident not just in polls, but also in Rick Santorum’s Iowa victory, the steady improvement in Ron Paul’s polling numbers, and the exit polling data from South Carolina showing conservatives flocking to Gingrich. Read
Jan 25, 2012, 1:36 pm EDT
If you watched the State of the Union address last night on television, you might not have gotten the whole picture. Those watching the SOTU address online at whitehouse.gov/sotu had access to an enhanced broadcast that included images and figures on the right-hand side of the screen that corresponded with President Barack Obama’s speech.
Fortunately for those of us who may have missed out on the enhanced broadcast, the White House has released the enhanced version of the speech on YouTube. A link to this video is shown below. For the unabridged, unedited transcript of the president’s SOTU address, check out this link.
Jan 25, 2012, 1:04 pm EDT
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address may have been lacking in big ideas, but there was no shortage of policy proposals in the president’s annual speech. Washington Post writer Ezra Klein points out five of these policies we should be looking out for in 2012 and beyond.
1. The Buffett Tax
It wasn’t by coincidence that Warren Buffett’s secretary was a member of the audience for the SOTU address. Buffett has famously said that it is unfair that his secretary pays a higher percentage tax rate than he does. In effect, Obama proposed making the effective tax rate for millionaires at least 30%, by wiping out non-charitable tax breaks and deductions. This was one of the few points that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels agreed with when giving the Republican rebuttal, saying we should “stop sending the wealthy benefits they do not need, and stop providing them so many tax preferences that distort our economy.” Read
Jan 25, 2012, 12:40 pm EDT
On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate-setting committee reinforced its previous statements that interest rates will be kept low for the foreseeable future. Here’s the full text of the Fed release regarding the Federal Open Market Committee meeting:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately, notwithstanding some slowing in global growth. While indicators point to some further improvement in overall labor market conditions, the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending has continued to advance, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed, and the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has been subdued in recent months, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Read
Jan 25, 2012, 9:38 am EDT
You may best remember Newt Gingrich as the former House Speaker from 1995-1999, but there’s probably a lot about the GOP presidential candidate you might not know. For instance, why is he called Newt? Well, The Fiscal Times has you covered, in an article discussing some facts about the current GOP frontrunner you might not know.
1. Before being elected to Congress, he was a professor
Specifically, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College for eight years. His educational background, not surprisingly, is in history. He has a bachelor’s in history from Emory University, and earned his master’s and doctorate from Tulane. Read