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Paul Krugman: Super Committee Failure is a Good Thing

Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Paul Krugman reviewed the failure of the Super Committee to reach a deal, the ongoing crisis in Europe and the future of the euro, and more from the world of politics and economics.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Paul Krugman: Super Committee Failure is a Good Thing

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recap from It's A Free Country

Paul Krugman says we need to leave Social Security and Medicare alone, raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and get over our fear of government spending—which is why he's happy that the deficit reduction super committee didn't make a deal.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Future of the Euro Zone

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finance blogger for Reuters, Felix Salmon, discusses the euro zone crisis post-Berlusconi.

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The Takeaway

US Worries Over Europe's Ability to Handle Crisis

Friday, November 11, 2011

Europe's deepening financial crisis has the White House apprehensive over the potential economic and political ramifications in the United States. "The crisis in Europe remains the central challenge to global growth," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday. Under pressure from the Frankfurt Group — eight European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and IMF head Christine Legarde — Greece and Italy are looking to unelected technocrats to guide their nations away from fiscal catastrophe.

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The Takeaway

Investors Fear Contagion From Euro Crisis

Thursday, November 10, 2011

As the European sovereign debt crisis has spread from Greece to Italy, investors worst fears are coming true. "Contagion" is the word of the day, as Italy's precarious situation threatens to destabilize the entire euro zone, possibly posing a systemic risk to the global economy. A central member of the euro zone, and Europe's third largest economy, Italy is too large to be bailed out by Europe as was the case with Greece. Italian bond rates have skyrocketed to above 7 percent, as investor fret over whether Italy's government will be capable of dealing with the crisis, even with the departure of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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The Takeaway

A Historical Look at European Union

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A different look at the euro zone crisis with a look at the very idea of the European Union. It grew out of the wreckage of World War II, with politicians determined to end the rivalries which had driven Europe to war twice in 25 years. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, presiding at the Hague Congress in 1948, launched the call for a political, economic and monetary union of Europe. This landmark conference would eventually see six European countries coming together to sign the Treaty of Rome in 1957 which created the European Economic Community — now of course, the much larger 27-member European Union.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Phil Angelides on the Financial Crisis Fallout

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and former two-term California State Treasurer Phil Angelides discusses the global financial crisis the responses to it--including the Euro Zone debt crisis and the Occupy Wall Street protests.

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The Takeaway

As Berlusconi Agrees to Step Down, Italian Bond Yields Reach Record Highs

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Interest rates on Italy's debt have soared to dangerously high levels, as bond yields hit 7.4 percent — the level that has driven other euro zone countries to seek bailouts. In comparison, Germany's interest rates stand at just 0.24 percent. Wednesday's news comes just a day after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged to step down on the condition that Parliament pass an austerity budget required by the European Union. Uncertainty over whether Europe's third largest economy will be able to meet its fiscal challenges will continue to test world markets.

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The Takeaway

The Colorful and Scandalous Career of Silvio Berlusconi

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

For two decades, Silvio Berlusconi has dominated Italian politics as the longest serving national leader in Europe. But in the last 24 hours, it seems his reign may finally be coming to an end — an idea unthinkable to many Italians who thought he would be in power for life. Berlusconi pledged to resign on Tuesday on the condition Parliament passes an austerity package. From his outrageous comments to his sex scandals to repeated allegations of corruption in his government, the BBC's Rome correspondent, David Willey looks back at the remarkable and colorful career of Silvio Berlusconi.

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The Takeaway

Italy on the Brink as Berlusconi Faces Crucial Vote

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The twin political and fiscal disasters of Greece's sovereign debt crisis have spread to Italy, Europe's third largest economy. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's governing coalition has crumbled ahead of a crucial budget vote scheduled for Tuesday, and a key ally has demanded his resignation. Interest rates on Italy's debt rose to 6.47 percent, the highest since the country joined the euro. As Greece negotiates a transitional government, the fate of the euro remains in question.

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The Takeaway

Greece Forms New Coalition Government; Italy's Berlusconi Rumored to Be Resigning

Monday, November 07, 2011

Embattled Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will resign once plans for a new coalition government are finalized. Papandreou and his political rival, conservative leader Antonis Samaras, reached a deal on Sunday to form a unity government to implement the unpopular austerity measures required by a bailout deal reached with European leaders. The new government is expected to be led by a non-politician who will be named on Monday.

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The Takeaway

Greece's Government Teeters Over Referendum Plan

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Greece's ongoing debt crisis and governmental instability has become the focal point of this week's G-20 summit in Cannes, France. A day before a scheduled no-confidence vote in Greek Parliament that could lead to the government's collapse, two ministers have publicly split with Prime Minister George Papandreo over his plan to hold a referendum on a European bailout plan. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and three other ministers are now opposing the referendum, saying Greece's membership in the euro cannot be jeopardized.

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The Takeaway

European Debt Crisis Shakes World Markets

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's surprise announcement that Greece will vote on its planned bailout has sent world markets into a tailspin. Analysts worry the planned referendum will undermine the agreement reached at meeting of European leaders in Brussels last week and bring Greece dangerously close to defaulting on its debt. In the U.S., brokerage firm MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Monday, in part due to bad bets made on European debt. Traders, however, say worries about the euro zone are primarily responsible for the volatility.

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The Takeaway

Bailout Referendum Brings Greek Government to Brink of Collapse

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

World markets plunged Tuesday after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced a surprise plan to hold a national referendum on the proposed European bailout package, bringing the Greek government to the brink of collapse. Several members of Parliament's governing Socialist Party have called on Papandreou to resign, and some members of his own party have called for new elections immediately. A no-confidence vote is scheduled for Friday. Early Wednesday, the Greek cabinet backed Papandreou's referendum plan. Some analysts worry the referendum will bring Greece dangerously close to defaulting on its debt.

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The Takeaway

MF Global Exposes Reach of Euro Debt Crisis

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Federal regulators say hundreds of millions of dollars of customer money is missing from MF Global, the brokerage firm which filed for bankruptcy on Monday. It is unclear where the estimated $700 million has gone, and no one has yet been accused of wrongdoing. Headed by former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, MF Global made risky bets on the European debt crisis. The Dow dropped 276 points in reaction to the news of the implosion, reminiscent of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.

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The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: Greek PM Calls for Referendum on Bailout Plan, Morning Headlines

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced late Monday that he is calling for a nationwide vote on a European bailout plan. Markets are tumbling this morning on news that the Greek people will have the final say on an economic package agreed to last week by European leaders after months of negotiations. Rachel Donadio, Rome bureau chief for The New York Times, reports on the latest.

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The Takeaway

MF Global Files for Chapter 11

Monday, October 31, 2011

MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday morning, making the security firm possibly the U.S. casualty of the European debt crisis. Earlier in the morning, the firm, headed by former New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs executive John Corzine, was suspended from conducting new business with the New York Federal Reserve. Under Corzine's leadership, MF Global made risky bets on European sovereign debt.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Euro Zone, Jobs, 7 Billion People

Monday, October 31, 2011

The markets responded positively to the news last week of a euro zone deal to try and turn around their two-year financial crisis. Marcus Mabry, editor-at-large of the International Herald Tribune, which is the international edition of The New York Times, tells us how he expects the markets to continue to go this week and to be on the lookout at Italy, which could be the next euro zone country to be in financial trouble. Charlie Herman, business and economics editor for WNYC and The Takeaway, looks at the upcoming G20 Summit in France this week, and if they can come up with a framework to deal with Europe's economic troubles.

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The Takeaway

Global Markets Rally On News From Europe

Friday, October 28, 2011

Markets around the world rallied on the news that European leaders had reached an agreement to solve the Euro zone debt crisis. The Dow Jones ended the day up 339 points and stocks appear headed for their best month since 1974. Was this the equivalent of Europe avoiding a Lehman Brothers-type disaster, or was yesterday just the latest in a series of dramatic rallies followed by steep declines that we've seen in this year's up and down market?

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The Takeaway

EU Leaders Agree on Debt Deal

Thursday, October 27, 2011

European leaders reached a deal crucial to resolving the euro zone debt crisis after all-night meetings on Thursday. Under the accord, banks have agreed to take a 50 percent loss on Greek debt. European markets were up after news of the deal broke. Leaders also agreed to grow euro zone's bailout fund to $1.4 trillion dollars. European banks will also need to raise more capital to protect against future government defaults.

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