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?
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.
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?
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.