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2:06pm

Sat August 6, 2011
Economy

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors and is a professor of economics at Boston University.
Courtesy of Boston University

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

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12:59pm

Sat August 6, 2011
Music Interviews

The Strange Alchemy Of Fool's Gold

Fool's Gold founding members Luke Top (second from left) and Lewis Pesacov (center) discuss the changes they've made on the band's latest album, Leave No Trace.
Courtesy of the artist

On its debut album, the L.A. band Fool's Gold presented an unusual marriage of influences, pairing African melodies with Hebrew lyrics. The record won over legions of fans and caught the attention of critics, who described it with words like "beguiling" and "joyous."

Fool's Gold's newest album is called Leave No Trace, and there's little trace left of Hebrew on it — the lyrics are mostly in English. In a conversation with NPR's David Greene, vocalist Luke Top and guitarist Lewis Pesacov, the band's two founding members, explain the new direction.

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12:21pm

Sat August 6, 2011
Economy

Bitterness All Around After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Republicans and Democrats quickly doled out blame to each other and China weighed in angrily after the first-ever downgrade in America's sterling credit rating — an expected but unsettling move that further clouds prospects for the recovery of the fragile U.S. economy.

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8:17am

Sat August 6, 2011
Politics

All In All, A Woeful Week For The White House

On Friday, President Obama spoke about the economy and jobs for military veterans at the Washington Navy Yard. A new jobs report released that day wasn't as bad as expected — but not great.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

There's no such thing as an uneventful week at the White House. Yet even by the climactic standards of this presidency, the past week has been a big one.

President Obama might have hoped the biggest news story of the week would be his 50th birthday. Not even close.

When Monday dawned, it was still unclear whether the U.S. would run out of money to pay its bills. With hours to go until the deadline Tuesday, Congress finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama announced the resolution in the White House Rose Garden.

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7:14am

Sat August 6, 2011
Simon Says

Raw Jobs Numbers Mask The Pain Of Joblessness

People might be shaken to wake to the news today of the nation's downgraded credit rating. But yesterday's unemployment report reflects a much more personal impact for many Americans. Not having a job in the United States can feel like getting punched in your stomach every morning. It can literally ache and take your breath away.

There are lots of people who may disappear in the monthly unemployment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies 8.4 million Americans as "involuntary part-time workers."

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