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The Federal Reserve Board: The Best Weapon Against Discrimination?

Most people have little understanding of the Federal Reserve Board. This is unfortunate because it has an enormous impact on the economy and therefore on people’s lives. The Fed’s decisions on interest rate policy can slow the rate of the economy’s growth and bring job creation to a halt, if they choose. Conversely, if the Fed adopts an interest policy to foster growth, then millions more people can have jobs. The Fed’s impact in this area is not just a question of aggregate job numbers. After all, adding another one…

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Another blow for heartland workers: Slashed pensions

February was a bad month for Larry Burruel and thousands of other retired Ohio iron workers. His monthly take-home pension was cut by more than half from $3,700 to $1,600. Things have been rough in the Rust Belt, but this was a particularly powerful punch in the pocketbook for Burruel, who started in the trade at 19 and worked 36 years before opting for early retirement to make way for younger workers. Unfortunately, this sagging industry doesn’t have enough younger workers to pay for retirees like Burruel, whose pension plan…

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Mario Draghi of European Central Bank Faces a Monetary-Policy Tightrope

Analysts will be deconstructing Mr. Draghi’s opening statement, which will have the Governing Council’s endorsement, for any subtle changes in guidance. For example, Mr. Krämer and others expect the central bank to omit a line from previous statements about standing ready to increase bond purchases should conditions warrant. But Mr. Draghi will probably avoid sending strong signals one way or another. Although the eurozone is in the midst of a broad economic upswing, trouble spots remain, notably Italy. The European Central Bank is expected to wait until its next monetary…

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As Paperwork Goes Missing, Billions in Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away

Nearly Impossible to Repay Like those who took on subprime mortgages, many people with private student loans end up shouldering debt that they never earn enough to repay. Borrowing to finance higher education is an economic decision that often pays off, but federal student loans — a much larger market, totaling $1.3 trillion — are directly funded by the government and come with consumer protections like income-based repayment options. Private loans lack that flexibility, and they often carry interest rates that can reach double digits. Because of those steep rates,…

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10 financial stocks worth putting money on

The quarterly earnings season is on, and the banks were among the first to come out with their results on Friday. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) led the way in reporting upbeat results. But as some analysts expected, the stocks pulled back despite beating expectations. Strangely, that usually happens on the day they start releasing their earnings performance. But on the whole, Wall Street continues to favor the financials on expectations of moderate economic growth and higher short-term interest rates, which bode well for margin expansion at asset-sensitive banks and brokers. So…

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Stocks notch new record on Fed hopes and weak economic data

U.S. equities notched new record highs on Friday — but perhaps not for the reasons many investors think.  The gains, which ends a two-month stasis near the 21,500 level on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, came despite uneven big bank earnings, disappointing retail sales growth and a decline in the inflation rate to the weakest level since October. Investors zeroed in Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen telling lawmakers this week  that interest rates would likely peak at a low level as the central bank continues to tighten monetary policy.  Combined with…

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Inflation stays low thanks to cheaper gas, wireless plans

WASHINGTON — Lower costs for gas, airline tickets, new and used cars and wireless mobile phone plans kept U.S. consumer prices flat in June, further evidence that inflation remains muted. The unchanged reading followed a drop of 0.1 percent in May, the Labor Department said Friday. Inflation has climbed just 1.6 percent from a year ago. That’s down sharply from February, when prices rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier. Leaving out food and energy, which are volatile, prices rose 0.1 percent in June and 1.7 percent from a year…

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