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  Friday, 25 Mar 2011 | 7:35 AM ET

Hey Paul Ryan, I’ve Got Your GOP Budget Right Here!

Posted By: John Carney
Rep. Paul Ryan
Getty Images
Rep. Paul Ryan

The Concord Coalition is pointing out that Paul Ryan , the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, faces a daunting task. He wants to preserve his party’s prohibition against tax hikes—while also producing a budget that reduces the budget deficit more than the Obama administration's plan.

Liberals, of course, don’t think it’s possible to be a hawk on tax cuts and a hawk on budget deficits. Ezra Klein is already forecasting that Ryan will have to either use wishful thinking or vagueness to escape the dilemma.

Fortunately for Ryan, he doesn’t need either. He just needs to look at the NetNet version of the federal budget.

Back in November, we figured out how to reduce the budget deficit all the way to zero —without raising taxes or touching Social Security. In fact, we over-achieved, resulting in a slight surplus. You can check out exactly how we did it by clicking through to the New York Times interactive feature we used as our baseline.

In many ways, this could be a huge political winner for the Republicans. Obama has shown his willingness to spend money to take sides in the Libyan civil war—something Republicans could easily run against. Our budget took an axe to military spending and space research to achieve a savings of $349 billion.

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  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 5:16 PM ET

Raising the Blade, Lathering the Face

Posted By: John Carney
left/CNBC/Sections/News_And_Analysis/_Blogs/NetNet/__COVER/_IMAGES/NN_done_for_day_200.jpg120015000lefttruehttp://msnbcmedia.msn.comfalse1Pfalsefalsefalsefalse Deal specific bonuses for mortgage brokers, which encouraged loan officers to ramp up loan volumes, are set to die on April 1.

(Housing Wire)

Blackrock orders its people to clean up their messy desks the night before a live television hit. (DealBreaker)

Remember when this whole Libya thing was going to be a "no fly zone?" Yep. We were lied into war. Again. (Washington Examiner)

Insert pun here: SEC Names Anne K. Small as Deputy General Counsel (SEC.gov)

Are you someone who really wants to hear more from The Bernank?

Good news. He's now going to hold a quarterly press conference. (FederalReserve.gov)

Reading Victor: "One raises the razor blade and puts some lather on the face and checks the prices at 7am and notes many markets near local extremes including stocks, fixed income, oil and the beard is still there, as well as the shaving cream." Your guess is as good as mine. (Daily Speculations)

»Read more
  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 5:01 PM ET

Record High Silver: Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted By: Lori Spechler
Silver bar and coins
Thomas Northcut | Photodisc | Getty Images
Silver bar and coins

Silver soaring to another multi-decade high, where do we go from here? Nobody really knows but what I do know… is that it won't stay here. Why?

Because there is just no financial basis for the price of silver to be at $38 an ounce and there is no real trading history on which to gauge strength and resistance.

» Read More
  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 4:32 PM ET

Whole Foods: Central Banker to The Poorest of the Poor?

Posted By: John Carney
A Whole Foods Market in Dallas.
Donna Mcwilliam
A Whole Foods Market in Dallas.

Whole Foods is a curious experiment in banking.

Between February 23 and March 31, 2011, Whole Foods Market stores are participating in a campaign to raise funds for poverty alleviation through access to microcredit worldwide, in communities where the Whole Foods stores source their products.

So far, Whole Foods shoppers and others contributing to the campaign have donated $2.97 million to microlenders, according to the Whole Foods Foundation.

They say that’s for 16,500 microloans supporting 82,500 people .

Felix Salmon at Reuters takes issue with the way Whole Foods uses the money:

» Read More
  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 2:18 PM ET

Stocks Are Cheap, Right? Why the Bulls May Be Wrong

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Trader_stocks_up_200.jpg
Getty Images

Stock bulls are taking the short thematic walk from “oversold” to “undervalued” to describe why they think the steroid-induced market has yet more daylight ahead.

In the past day or so, prominent market pros including Laszlo Birinyi, Bill Miller and Leon Cooperman have sounded the value trumpet, proclaiming that major indices, despite their meteoric 90 percent gain off the March 2009 lows, have higher to climb.

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  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 1:38 PM ET

A Guide to Raj's Awesome Defense Strategy: All The Inside Info Was "Confidential—Not Material"

Posted By: Courtney Comstock, Business Insider
Raj Rajaratnam
Getty Images
Raj Rajaratnam

The defense and the prosecution on the trial of Raj Rajaratnam fought more than ever this week over one question.

The question: Is this information material nonpublic information?

Now that it's in its the third week, it's clear that's the most important question of the trial.

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  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 12:36 PM ET

What Is It With Goldman Sachs and Voicemail?

Posted By: John Carney
Goldman Sachs
Getty Images
Goldman Sachs

The disclosure by Lloyd Blankfein that he rarely uses email, preferring to check the daily profits and losses at Goldman Sachs over voicemail, is a reminder that at the highest levels, Goldman is still a “voicemail” shop .

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  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 11:59 AM ET

Goldman Clients Wonder About Their Rank

Posted By: John Carney
The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images
The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein admitted that not all Goldman Sachs clients are created equal in the eyes of the firm.

The firm ranks clients in terms of their importance.

» Read More
  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 11:33 AM ET

Joe Mason: The Gulf Drilling Moratorium Is Costing US a Billion Dollars a Year

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco
NN_c_suite_200.jpg

On April 20th one year ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded. During the past years, we have heard from the environmentalists as well as the representative of big oil on their positions on the defacto moratorium that has stopped deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

But caught in the middle of this energy tug of war are the Americans who call the Gulf home. We always talk about the U.S. economy as one entity. But in reality, the U.S. economy is a jigsaw puzzle of local economies.

Dr. Joseph Mason, the MasonHermann Moyse, Jr./Louisiana Bankers Association Endowed Professor of Banking at Louisiana State University and Senior Fellow at The Wharton School, has researched several reports on the economic cost of the Gulf Moratorium. I decided to ask him based on his latest research if things are getting better.

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  Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 | 10:55 AM ET

California’s Tax Hike Did Not Work

Posted By: John Carney
California
California

California’s tax collections grew at around half of what the state projected for 2010—indicating that the state’s fiscal situation may be even more dire than previously understood.

California’s tax collections grew 3.79 percent last year, according to data released by the US Census Bureau . At the start of 2010,California was projecting revenue growth of 6.5 percent.

» Read More

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