If the Dow's Up, Why Are Housing and Jobs Still Down?
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The stock market's roaring, and applications for unemployment are down, but there was disappointing news in Thursday's economic data. In January manufacturing growth slowed, construction spending dipped, and Americans' after-tax income fell, leading to a fourth straight month of weak consumer spending. Guest host Terrence McNally explores the continued gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and what we can do about it. Also, Iranians vote between hard-line candidates in parliamentary elections, and Russians go to the polls Sunday, with Putin expected to win. Has anything changed?
Banner image: A construction worker cuts a piece of wood on the top of a home under construction at a new housing development in Petaluma, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Iranians Vote between Hard-Liners in Parliamentary Elections ()
Iranians went to the polls in parliamentary elections today. With many reformists and opposition leaders not participating, the vote is a contest between hard-line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Pressure from the West over Iran's nuclear program has been a central issue. Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for AL-Monitor.com, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and the author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.
The Continuing Disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street ()
Although it's down a bit today, the Dow hit 13,000 this week for the first time since May, 2008. NASDAQ flirted with 3000. One US company, Apple, is now valued at over $500 billion, higher than the gross domestic product of Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia or Taiwan. Yet manufacturing growth has slowed, construction spending has slipped, and consumer spending remains weak. Both housing construction and Americans' after-tax income actually fell in January. What accounts for the disparity? How important is it? What can be done about it? And how will all this play out in this year's elections?
- Daniel Gross: Yahoo! Finance, @grossdm
- Robert H. Frank: Cornell University
- Tom Donlan: Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, @barronsonline
- Dean Baker: Center for Economic and Policy Research, @DeanBaker13
How Will Putin Fare in Russian Elections Sunday? ()
Vladamir Putin is almost certain to regain the presidency in elections in Russia on Sunday, but that victory may be more a reflection of voters' resignation than broad support for his twelve-year rule. Putin, who has been suggesting Russia could walk away from the Start II treaty and is accusing Hillary Clinton of funding protests in his country, is heavily favored. Matthew Rojansky is Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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