FROM Ben Popken
Who Can We Trust with our Money? News coverage of AIG bonuses, Bernie Madoff, CNBC's Jim Cramer and Treasury secretaries with ties to Wall Street has been relentless. Public confidence in banks, insurance companies, money managers and financial reporters has sunk to an all-time low. Searching for safe, reliable investments -- not dependent on government -- Americans bought 600 tons of gold last year, a 42% increase over the year before. The rest are stuck with a troubling question: who can you trust with the money you have left as the financial bloodbath continues? Is it time for consumers to go it alone?
Predatory Lending and Shrinking Buying Power There may be fewer paper towels in the package than there used to be, but you're still paying the same price. The same is true for dog food and trash bags. "Hidden inflation" in supermarkets is just one sign of how consumers are affected by a troubled economy, even though they don't notice. Bear-Stearns brokerage house was bought up before it collapsed, as was the sub-prime lender Countrywide . Now the Congress and President Bush are protecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . The next bubble to burst may be in the credit-card market. What's next for low-income retirees, recent college graduates and first-time home buyers? If you've got some money, is this the time to invest?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.