Economy
2:06 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors and is a professor of economics at Boston University.
Courtesy of Boston University

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

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Economy
12:21 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

Bitterness All Around After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Republicans and Democrats quickly doled out blame to each other and China weighed in angrily after the first-ever downgrade in America's sterling credit rating — an expected but unsettling move that further clouds prospects for the recovery of the fragile U.S. economy.

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Politics
8:17 am
Sat August 6, 2011

All In All, A Woeful Week For The White House

On Friday, President Obama spoke about the economy and jobs for military veterans at the Washington Navy Yard. A new jobs report released that day wasn't as bad as expected — but not great.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

There's no such thing as an uneventful week at the White House. Yet even by the climactic standards of this presidency, the past week has been a big one.

President Obama might have hoped the biggest news story of the week would be his 50th birthday. Not even close.

When Monday dawned, it was still unclear whether the U.S. would run out of money to pay its bills. With hours to go until the deadline Tuesday, Congress finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama announced the resolution in the White House Rose Garden.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

Simon Says
7:14 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Raw Jobs Numbers Mask The Pain Of Joblessness

People might be shaken to wake to the news today of the nation's downgraded credit rating. But yesterday's unemployment report reflects a much more personal impact for many Americans. Not having a job in the United States can feel like getting punched in your stomach every morning. It can literally ache and take your breath away.

There are lots of people who may disappear in the monthly unemployment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies 8.4 million Americans as "involuntary part-time workers."

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Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk reporter based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising.

In this position, which he has held since late 2010, Glinton has tackled big stories including GM's road back to profitability and Toyota's continuing struggles. Glinton has traveled throughout the Midwest covering important stories such as the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and the 2012 presidential race. He has also covered the U.S. Senate and House for NPR.

Economy
6:17 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Jobless Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story

If the monthly jobless numbers aren't saying much, the longer-term employment trends in the United States are speaking volumes about the economy.

Those trends aren't often mentioned. The number of people who are long-term unemployed remains unchanged — more than 6 million people. The number of "discouraged workers" also remains the same. Those are people who are not looking for work because they believe there are no jobs.

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Middle East
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Mubarak's Trial Signals Egyptian Transition

Originally published on Sun August 7, 2011 7:23 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

The trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began this week in Cairo more than six months after the start of anti-government protests that ultimately proved to be his undoing. The ailing 83-year-old Mr. Mubarak was wheeled into court on a hospital bed. From behind the bars of a courtroom cage, he heard and denied charges of corruption and of authorizing the killing of protesters. NPR's Mike Shuster joins us from Cairo. Mike, thanks for being with us.

MIKE SHUSTER: Hi, Scott. Good to be with you.

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World
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

After U.S. Downgrade, China Adds Its Own Disapproval

China, the biggest holder of U.S. treasuries, is reacting strongly to the downgrade of U.S. debt. China's official news agency says the country "has every right now to demand that the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets." NPR's Frank Langfitt is following reaction in Asia, and talks with host Scott Simon.

Afghanistan
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Helicopter Crash In Afghanistan Takes Deadly Toll

Thirty-one American troops and seven Afghans are reported dead in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. If confirmed, it would be the highest number of Americans killed in a single incident since the war in Afghanistan began 10 years ago. NPR Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman is following the story, and talks with host Scott Simon.

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