FROM John Carney
GOP Debate Roundup Last night's GOP debate was a more raucous affair than the first two. Sometimes the moderators seemed barely in control of the proceedings. And as early voting gets closer, there were a few more testy exchanges among candidates trying to raise their profile and damage their opponents.
High Finance and White-Collar Crime Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group hedge fund was once worth $7 billion, and he paid ten high-powered lawyers to defend him on charges of insider trading. But a working-class jury found him guilty on all 14 counts , based in large part on telephone conversations with tipsters recorded by federal investigators. After his conviction, the billionaire rolled away from New York's federal courthouse in a silver Mercedes. He's facing prison and fines, but it's not clear what the broader consequences might be. Prosecutors promise an ongoing crackdown on insider trading. Skeptics see Rajaratnam's trial as a road map for how to get away with it. Others ask, what about the bankers accused of causing the Great Recession? Polls show that most Americans think Wall Street is rigged. Will taking down a major player restore the confidence of ordinary investors?
The American Dream and Extended Credit Despite the recession and unemployment near 10 percent, Americans are still accumulating more debt. Solicitations for credit cards doubled last year. Lenders and retailers say the American Dream -- a big home, a big car and college — makes consumers willing to go into hock. They also see signs of "frugality fatigue." Others contend the law itself is rigged to favor indebtedness, with incentives that reward debt and discourage saving. Why are people spending money they don't have? Is it good for the economy? Is the government setting the right example?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
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?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?