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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Fed Is Disappointed

The U.S. Federal Reserve, which met last June, released minutes today that show some of its members are gloomy about the country’s economic recovery. They say unemployment will probably stay high for a while, and they aren’t ruling out another intervention to help out. Since 2008, the Fed bought $2.054 trillion in debt securities. The goal was to print money and inject it in the real economy to kick-start growth. While it probably allowed the country not to hit rock-bottom, it clearly wasn’t enough. It also secretly handed banks around $13 billion to keep them afloat, an action that most definitely did the trick, judging by the health of financial institutions.

Spain Announces New Austerity Measures

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced today new austerity measures at the request of the European Union, in exchange for an easier target for the deficit this year. Spain will benefit from a 100 million euro bailout, all of which will go directly to the country’s ailing banks. More spending cuts will accompany a three-percentage-point raise in the value-added tax (known as the sales tax in the U.S.) to 21 percent. The VAT is often called the most undemocratic of taxes as it affects every shopper indiscriminately, but it’s often a country’s highest source of revenue. This is harsh news for Spain, whose economy is already struggling.

Chicago vs the Federal Government

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff , has decided to go rogue on immigration, providing a safe haven for undocumented immigrants who don’t have a serious criminal background. Taking the opposite stance than that of Arizona, he wants to stop police officers from turning them over to federal agents, thereby providing an obstacle to enforcement. While the Obama administration has (mostly successfully) sued Arizona, it hasn’t yet done anything to stop Cook County. Republicans are crying foul.

Progress in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s

New findings show that the same gene that causes Alzheimer’s can also mutate to prevent the disease. This opens new avenues for drug research as scientists look for wars to mimic the effects of the mutated gene.

Romney Gets Booed by African-Americans

U.S. Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was booed during a speech he gave at the N.A.A.C.P. convention today. The audience wasn’t too pleased when he said he’d do a better job of representing the African-American community than the first black President, and became frankly angry when he promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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