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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 1:47 PM ET

Congressman Kevin Brady: The Current Fiscal Condition of the US Government Is Perilous

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

As Congress continues to kick the fiscal can down Constitution Avenue with another Continuing Resolution, a trifecta of policy storms is brewing and will come to head in less than a month. Lawmakers will have not only the 2011 budget to contend. They're also facing the 2012 budget and the debt ceiling.

Americans will also find out then if the President will come off the sidelines as the pragmatic leader to take sides with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi or Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on the spending debate.

It will be a defining moment for the President in terms of how he leads the Congress in taking a stand on its spending. Americans who voted for change this past November will see if their elected officials have the political courage to take on the difficult choices that need to be made to right Uncle Sam's lopsided balance sheet.

On Tuesday, the first fiscal cannon in the brewing budget battle was released on the GOP side when Congressman Kevin Brady \(R-TX\) along with Majority Leader Eric Cantor \(R-VA\) unveiled a major JEC analysis of how government spending cuts can help drive economic growth. I caught up with Rep. Brady on the analysis.

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 12:58 PM ET

Black Swans Now a Regular Part of Market Landscape

Posted By: Jeff Cox
AP

For global financial markets, once-in-a-lifetime events are happening with such regularity that black swans may as well be white swans.

Such supposedly rare occurrences, brought into the national consciousness largely through Nassim Taleb’s 2007 book, “The Black Swan,” have dominated the markets for more than a decade.

They include the Internet explosion in the late 1990s, the ensuing dotcom bubble burst and stock market selloff a few years later, the 2001 terrorist attacks, the collapse of the real estate market that began five years ago, and now, the events in the Middle East and Japan.

The “highly improbable consequential” event is how Taleb frames the Black Swan phenomenon, and each time they arise, the markets react violently.

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 11:53 AM ET

Are US Banks in Trouble Because of Japan?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Shares in Tokyo dropped following the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami
Yoshikazu Tsuno | AFP | Getty Images
Shares in Tokyo dropped following the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami

JPMorgan has greater Japanese holdings than any other US bank, according to arecent study by Bloomberg.

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 10:45 AM ET

How to Help Japan

Posted By: John Carney
Rescue workers carry a body from the rubble of a village destroyed by the devastating earthquake, fires and tsunami March 16, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi province, Japan.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images
Rescue workers carry a body from the rubble of a village destroyed by the devastating earthquake, fires and tsunami March 16, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi province, Japan.

The international outpouring of support for the people of Japan has been a truly wondrous thing to behold.

It’s heart-warming to see so many individuals around the world seek out ways to help in the wake of the serial disasters Japan has suffered. The noble charitable instinct at work behind things like the “help Japan” poster campaign should be applauded.

It’s difficult in these situations to be the one trying to provide some sober thoughts about how we can most effectively respond and channel our charity. Unfortunately, the truth is that ear-marking donations in response to disasters is largely counter-productive. It would be far better if those who feel drawn to help use this as an occasion to make a general donation to international aid agencies.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières \(MSF\) specifically avoids support campaigns based around specific emergencies. Here is their logic:

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 10:01 AM ET

Kan Flack Makes Me Less Scared

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
Japan prime minister Naoto Kan
Getty Images
Japan prime minister Naoto Kan

As you recall, I was less than impressed yesterday with Prime Minister Kan's spokesperson's response to my simple question: "Do you have the situation under control?"

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 9:12 AM ET

Obama's Top Housing Policy Adviser Becomes Mortgage Banker Lobbyist

Posted By: John Carney

A key adviser to President Barack Obama on housing and mortgage policy is set to become the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Barack Obama
AP
Barack Obama


Now I'm pretty cynical about politics. But this news made me stop and gasp.

David H. Stevens announced last week that he was leaving the Federal Housing Authority last week. At the time, he said he had no plans for his future employment. But, as it turns out, he's becoming a lobbyist.

The Washington Posts's Dina Elboghdady reports:
After joining FHA in July 2009, Stevens quickly emerged as a major player in crafting the Obama administration’s housing policy. He’s been deeply involved in several high-profile initiatives that involve the mortgage banking industry, including current negotiations that will determine what kinds of fines and penalties might be imposed on mortgage servicers who took part in shoddy mortgage foreclosure practices.

A key adviser to President Barack Obama on housing and mortgage policy is set to become the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 9:09 AM ET

US Banks Face 'Small' Exposures to Japan

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 | 9:05 AM ET

Waking up With Nicole Lapin

Posted By: Nicole Lapin

Wednesday = #winning. Here's what you missed in the wee morning hours:

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  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 4:52 PM ET

Bahrain, Japan, And The NYC Subway

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 4:23 PM ET

Fed Says Recovery Is Firm, Jobs and Inflation On The Rise

Posted By: John Carney
Fed Chief Ben Bernanke Testifies to House Budget Committee
CNBC
Fed Chief Ben Bernanke Testifies to House Budget Committee

TheFederal Reserve’s statement reveals that the Fed believes the economic recovery is growing stronger, the labor market is improving, and inflation is creeping back.

Gone was the most negative language about labor market conditions. But gone also was the conclusion that measures of underlying inflation were headed downward.

Back in January, the Federal Open Market Committee said that although the economic recovery was continuing, the improvement was “at a rate that has been insufficient to bring about a significant improvement in labor market conditions.”

Today, the FOMC changed its tune. The economic recovery is no longer just "continuing"—it is "on a firmer footing. What’s more “overall conditions in the labor market appear to be improving gradually."

At the same time, inflation has crept back into the FOMC’s analysis. Back in January, the FOMC described measures of inflation as "trending downward." They’re no longer doing that. These days they are trending up, although at a "subdued level."

The Fed didn’t take any notice at all of recent events in Japan. It did note increasing commodities and energy prices.

"The recent increases in the prices of energy and other commodities are currently putting upward pressure on inflation. The Committee expects these effects to be transitory, but it will pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations," the statement said.

»Read more

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  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.

 

  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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