FROM Nelson Schwartz
Medical care, behind the velvet rope Some Americans are paying up to 80,000 dollars a year to get immediate attention from doctors, including specialists, and hospital rooms that cost more than New York’s high-priced hotels. St. Mary's Family Birthing Center, SSM Health.
Campaign promises and economic realities Last week, Donald Trump tweeted progress on a campaign promise: Carrier Air Conditioning might not move 2000 jobs to Mexico after all. Does that mean American manufacturing is making a comeback? Probably not — although Trump will get headlines if Carrier stays in Indiana. Meantime, what's it like to work at a company that might or might not be there tomorrow? Is that what drove former Obama supporters to vote for Trump? In any case, they're faced with stark circumstances. Would infrastructure rebuilding help? Should it be privatized or financed with federal taxes?
Will the big bold jobs report matter to voters? President Obama's approval ratings are on the rise, despite widespread concern about the economy — which is a major issue in the presidential campaign. Today, the Labor Department released figures about July , and it's “finally, a big, bold and ambiguously good jobs report.” That's according to Nelson Schwarz, economics reporter for the New York Times .
NAFTA and the Road to the White House The North American Free Trade Agreement is 22 years old — but Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have put it back in the headlines. They attack it for putting Americans out of work by sending jobs to Mexico. Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, making it awkward for Hillary, especially in California. Economists say free trade is what they call "a net benefit" to the US economy, but until now, there's been more emphasis on the gain than there's been on the pain. With the Trans Pacific Partnership not yet submitted to Congress, we get a reality check on an issue that won't go away.
October Jobs Numbers Exceed Expectations The Labor Department's latest jobs report was delayed by the federal shutdown. But predictions that 16 days without government would sap the growth in employment turned out not to be true. Nelson Schwartz covers banking and finance for the New York Times .
Is Economic Recovery Increasing Economic Inequality? Today's Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped over yesterday's record high. It's a "golden age" for corporate profits, which are the largest share of the economy since 1950. But the portion that goes to employees is close to the lowest since 1966. Both liberal and conservative economists are worried because the gap between the rich and the poor is growing so fast. The gap is also alarming Democrats — and some Republicans. Eighty-five billion dollars in federal sequestration could increase unemployment by 700,000 jobs without making a dent in the markets or corporate earnings. How much is the Obama Administration to blame? Is there a potential fix that might appeal to partisans on both sides?
Mortgage Settlement: Homeowner Relief or Break for the Banks? Forty-nine of 50 state attorneys general signed on to a $26 billion deal with five big banks accused of deceptive lending and abusive foreclosures. The banks will have three years to make good on their promise. Even President Obama says, "It's just a start." Others call it "a drop in the ocean," "a paltry down-payment" and "public relations." Will the settlement for abuse and deception come in time to help the economy? We hear from experts and homeowners on the front lines of America's mortgage crisis and find out how it applies here in Southern California.
Mortgage Settlement: Homeowner Relief or a Break for Banks? Five major banks have agreed to a deal that was good enough for 49 of the 50 state attorney's general, but millions of homeowners aren't so sure. Even President Obama says, "It's just a start." Others call it "a drop in the ocean," "a paltry down-payment" and "public relations." It covers only about two million of the 11 million who are under water. Cash settlements for improper foreclosures will be less than $2,000. Banks can still be sued for abuse and deception, and they've agreed to pay $26 billion up front. But negative equity totals $700 billion. Many questions remain about administration and enforcement. We get a range of answers from advocates, bankers and homeowners in distress. (This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network .)
Greece: A Country that's Too Big to Fail According to one official at the International Monetary fund, "if a government wants to cheat, it can cheat." So it was "perfectly legal" back in 2001 for Goldman Sachs and other bankers on Wall Street to help Greece borrow beyond its means. That's according to Nelson Schwartz, financial reporter for the New York Times .
Greece: A Country that's Too Big to Fail According to one official at the International Monetary fund, " if a government wants to cheat, it can cheat ." So it was "perfectly legal" in 2001 for Goldman Sachs and other bankers on Wall Street to help Greece borrow beyond its means. Now, these same banks stand to profit from the crisis they helped create. Germany, France and other countries are less than eager to bail out a fellow EU member, and that could mean trouble for Italy, Spain and Portugal, too. Now hedge funds are betting that Greece won't be able to pay its debts and that means the Euro could be in trouble. Is Greece a victim of financial predators? Should the Greek people suffer cuts in salaries, pensions and benefits? What does it all mean for the dollar?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.