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 .
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
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.