FROM Joe Nocera
The Tragic Mathematics of Gun Violence Another lone gunman grabbed headlines last week in California, but so-called mass shootings rarely kill more than a dozen people. That's all too many, but it's a fraction of the 20 to 30 deaths every day from firearms -- 32,000 every year: the daily gun violence that does not receive saturation news coverage. Each rampage focuses attention on killers with mental illness. But most of the mentally ill are not violent, and most violent people are not mentally ill. Is there some way to reduce the carnage without violating the gun rights now recognized by the US Supreme Court?
Ditching Big Bad Banks: Are There Alternatives? Big banks bailed out because they were "too big to fail" are now jacking up fees on small businesses and individual consumers. Bank of America plans to impose a $5 monthly fee on depositors who use debit cards. Citibank says it’ll raise fees on accounts with less than $15,000. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera says there are many "juicy angles" to be pursued. He's going with " gouging ." Is it time to transfer money to smaller institutions and credit unions? Is the entire banking system due for an overhaul? We hear from Nocera and others.
Big Banks: Are There Alternatives? Bank of America plans to impose a $5 monthly fee on depositors who use debit cards and Citibank says it'll raise fees on accounts with less than $15,000, igniting the latest firestorm over personal and small-business finance. Now that new rules require disclosure of what previously was hidden, more and more customers are looking for some place else to put their money. Quarterly reports are expected to show that big banks are feeling some pain in their profit margins. Are small depositors paying for their bad investments? Will the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be able to curb abuses?
Government Tries to Keep AIG Afloat The insurance giant American International Group posted the biggest quarterly loss in American history during the last three months of last year, $62 billion. That happened even with $150 billion in taxpayer assistance. Today, the Treasury Department said AIG will get $30 billion more , and it's likely there will be more to come. Joe Nocera is a business columnist for the New York Times .
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.