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    U.S. services sector expansion eased slightly in April from a seven-month high in March on a dip in new business growth, but the pace of hiring in the sector accelerated to its highest since last June, an industry report showed on Monday.

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    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider whether online people-search service Spokeo Inc should face a class action lawsuit for including incorrect information in its database. Thomas Robins filed suit in California on behalf of himself and others under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires consumer reporting agencies to provide correct information.

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    The Greek government is planning to submit a fresh list of reform proposals on Wednesday, according to a news report, potentially taking the country a step closer to ending the months long bailout standoff with international lenders. German daily Bild reported on Monday the new list of reform measures includes abandoning plans to raise the minimum wage, which was one of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' pre-election pledges. Athens has submitted several proposals for economic...

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    Fresh reports to offer first clues on second-quarter growth. WASHINGTON-- The U.S. economy suffered a big letdown in the first three months of 2015. Now it's time to find out if warmer weather resuscitates growth-- just like it did last year. A spate of reports this week will yield the first clues on whether a second-quarter rebound is underway, including number of autos sold in April and a trio of surveys that tell us what consumers and business leaders think about the economy.

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    The U.S. federal funds rate, which banks charge each other to borrow their excess reserves, averaged 0.13 percent on Friday for the 10th consecutive day, Fed data released early Monday showed. The fed funds rate, which the Federal Reserve targets to achieve its rate objective, traded in a range of 0.05 percent to 0.3125 percent, compared with 0.07 percent to 0.3125 percent range on Thursday.

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    Warning of an "innovation deficit," scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say declining government spending on basic research is holding back potentially life-saving advances in 15 fields, from robotics and fusion energy to Alzheimer's disease and agriculture.

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    Low as inflation is, it would be even lower if not for one group that has been remarkably adept at pushing through price increases: Landlords. When Federal Reserve policy makers meet this week, they will likely signal that they have essentially given up on the idea of raising rates in June. Inflation, which has been running well below the central bank's 2% target, is a big reason why.

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    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angel Merkel spoke over the phone on Sunday and agreed to maintain contact during debt talks, according to a Greek government official. Cash-strapped Greece is struggling to pay its debts to international lenders. The country's borrowing costs have risen sharply over the past six months.

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    In late 2013, Cisco (CSCO) chief executive John Chambers used a portentous phrase while telling analysts that sales in emerging markets were spiraling downward, forcing the networking equipment company to cut its three- to five-year revenue growth target:“ We’ re the canary in the coal mine.” It was meant to be a candid assessment of the instability in global markets.

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    By Anora Mahmudova and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch. Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft, Google jump after earnings. U.S. stocks rang up with solid gains as better-than-expected earnings propelled the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 to finish at all-time highs.

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    In 2014, many government contractors tried to better position themselves for a limited pool of federal dollars by jumping into the mergers-and-acquisitions game or spinning off divisions that were less profitable.Now buoyed by statements from President Obama and lawmakers alike that America’s defense budget needs a boost, another group is primed to join the fray: private-equity firms. That signal from Capitol Hill, along with a recovering economy with near zero percent interest rates, make this a favorable time for private equity companies to buy or sell assets, analysts say. Private equity firms are like house flippers: They typically buy companies with the goal of reshaping them by cutting costs, scaling them up in size or hiring new management, then selling them within a few years. Many equity firms own contractors that provide professional services to the government, which in turn make up a large chunk of the Washington economy. Two recent examples of strategic moves by private equity firms stand out, said Robert Kipps, managing director of KippsDeSanto, a McLean aerospace-defense investment bank. In March, Science Applications International (SAIC) spent $790 million to buy Scitor, an intelligence company owned by Leonard Green & Partners. Also that month, Maximus, a health-care contractor, bought Acentia for $300 million from Snow Phipps Group.Firms that snapped up defense companies in the late 2000s typically would have sold them in five to six years, Kipps said, but sequestration and the government shutdown made many hang on longer than usual. Leonard Green acquired Scitor in 2007, while Snow Phipps bought Acentia in 2009, making them both ripe for sale, he said.The likely buyers in this market could include large defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin (LMT) or Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), which may look for midsize, specialized companies or small businesses on the cusp of going bigger, said Pierre Chao, managing partner at Chevy Chase-based Enlightenment Capital, a private debt and equity firm that specializes in defense companies.Companies that work in high-priority areas for the government, such as cybersecurity and data analytics, will likely see more interest from buyers, he said. Both Lockheed and Booz Allen acquired a slew of midsize and smaller companies in 2014, either to gain access to a specific government agency or harness developing technology. Intense competition remains within the professional services sector. Many companies perform similar work and often compete solely on the basis of price, cutting profit margins and leading some to consider consolidating with rivals, said Randy Starr, vice president of the aerospace and defense sector at Strategy&, a consultancy. Engility’s $1.3 billion purchase of privately owned TASC was the largest of several services deals in 2014. Private equity firms will continue to be active in this space over the next year, Starr said. Washington-area service companies that are privately owned include Fairfax-based SRA International, which was bought by Providence Equity Partners in 2011, and McLean-based Dyncorp International, owned by Cerberus Capital Management. Neither company has publicly stated that it is looking for buyers, but both have reorganized in recent years, cutting costs, shuffling business units and changing leadership teams.




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    WASHINGTON-- History shows the best kind of tax cut for the U.S. economy are those that help middle-class and lower-income Americans. That's the verdict of a new research paper by a University of Chicago economist who has studied the issue extensively. Owen Zidar says an examination of tax cuts at the state and federal level since World War II shows that job creation and economic growth are stronger when income taxes are reduced for the bottom 90% of earners.

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    By Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch, Eric Yep. Strife in Yemen buoys Brent as analysts lift forecasts for oil. U.S. oil futures settled with a loss on Friday, while Brent futures marked a high for the year and scored a gain for the week as strife in Yemen fed concerns over the potential for supply disruptions in the Middle East.

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    It may have taken longer than expected, but consumer discretionary stocks will soon reap the dividend from lower energy prices, says Doug Roman, portfolio manager of PNC's Large Cap Growth Fund. "There has been some disappointment because the expectation was that lower energy would immediately translate into positive surprises on the consumer end," says Roman.

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    * Core capital goods orders fall 0.5 percent in March. * Core capital goods shipments slip 0.4 percent. * Durable goods orders jump 4.0 percent on transportation. By Lucia Mutikani. U.S. business investment spending plans fell for a seventh straight month in March, weighed down by a strong dollar and lower energy prices, suggesting the economy was struggling to rebound from a recent soft patch.

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    It ought to be a good thing that human society is richer than ever before, so rich that the storage tanks in Cushing, Okla., are nearly overflowing with crude oil and some 110 million bales of cotton are sitting in warehouses around the world, as Josh Zumbrun and Carolyn Cui report in The Wall Street Journal.The problem is that policymakers don't quite know how to handle the surplus, which challenges some basic principles of conventional economics and is causing all kinds of mischief:The current state of plenty is confounding on many fronts. The surfeit of commodities depresses prices and stokes concerns of deflation. Global wealth—estimated by Credit Suisse (CS) at around $263 trillion, more than double the $117 trillion in 2000—represents a vast supply of savings and capital, helping to hold down interest rates, undermining the power of monetary policy. And the surplus of workers depresses wages. ...There is debate among leading economists about whether this condition of excess is temporary or likely to continue for a while, but in either case, we still face the question of what to do with what we have.One answer: Transfer some of that wealth to the people who need it now, and invest some of it in projects that will guarantee even better lives for our children and grandchildren. The current generation of owners is obviously not using what they have, so it would be selfish to do otherwise."There are a long list of things that need to be done," Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last year. "Think of all those things that we think that we can't do because they cost so much, like stopping global warming, educating our kids properly, or providing care for seniors. It turns out that we actually can do them because we have more supply than demand."What's in Wonkbook: 1) Drone killed American hostage 2) Opinions, including Krugman on Christie's Social Security plan 3) Comcast (CMCSA) will abandon its bid to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWX), and moreMap of the day: Journalism still looks like a dying industry, at least in most of the country outside of Washington, D.C. Jim Tankersley in The Washington Post.1. Top story: American hostage died in CIA drone strikeAn Italian hostage and two American militants were also killed. "A U.S. drone strike targeting a compound frequented by al Qaida leaders accidentally killed two hostages, including one American, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in January, the White House announced Thursday. ... Two other Americans, both members of al Qaida, also had been killed in Pakistan in January. ... Neither man had been targeted in the raids that killed them, U.S. officials said." Anita Kumar and Tom Hussain for McClatchy (MNI). The hostages' deaths raise difficult, if familiar, questions about drones. "After weeks of aerial surveillance, CIA analysts reached two conclusions about a compound to be targeted in a January drone strike: that it was used by al-Qaeda militants and that, in the moment before it was hit, it had exactly four occupants. But as six bodies were removed from the rubble, the drone feeds that continued streaming back to CIA headquarters carried with them a new set of troubling questions... Current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said that Thursday’s disclosures undercut years of U.S. claims about the accuracy of the drone program." Greg Miller in The Washington Post.The administration is now reviewing its protocols. "The administration’s review could revive discussion about Mr. Obama’s calls for control over the drone program to shift from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Pentagon. But Pentagon officials said there appeared to be no indication the outcome would have been different if the strike had been carried out by the military rather than the CIA. Both rely on similar intelligence. At the same time, it seems unlikely the review would lead to any significant changes to the drone program, which continues to receive strong bipartisan support in Washington from politicians and counterterrorism officials who see it as essential to battling militants in remote parts of the world." Carol E. Lee and Dion Nissenbaum in The Wall Street Journal.Why has President Obama chosen drones over more conventional weapons? "The drones' vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war. ... Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess. ... In all, it was a devastating acknowledgment for Mr. Obama, who had hoped to pioneer a new, more discriminating kind of warfare. Whether the episode might bring a long-delayed public reckoning about targeted killings, long hidden by classification rules, remained uncertain." Scott Shane in The New York Times.STEPHEN L. CARTER: The White House must acknowledge that war is messy, and drones are, too. "Press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word 'war' to describe exactly what the U.S. is up to. ... The sort of war the administration is waging requires extraordinarily accurate intelligence. Earnest said in his briefing that a strike is not permitted unless there is 'a near certainty' that no civilians will be harmed. In wartime that standard would be impossible to meet. Claiming that a war isn't a war doesn't make meeting the standard any easier. I am not suggesting that calling the War on Terror a war would make civilian casualties any more justified. But it might force the administration to concede that we simply lack the intelligence resources to establish a guarantee against killing noncombatants. And once the administration admits the inevitability of significant numbers of civilian deaths, we might be able to engage in serious public conversation about the morality of the drone war." Bloomberg View.2. Top opinionsKRUGMAN: Christie's argument for raising the retirement age was debunked long ago. "His supposedly tough-minded policy idea was a classic zombie — an idea that should have died long ago in the face of evidence that undermines its basic premise, but somehow just keeps shambling along. But let us not be too harsh on Mr. Christie. A deep attachment to long-refuted ideas seems to be required of all prominent Republicans. ... This whole line of argument should have died in 2007, when the Social Security Administration issued a report showing that almost all the rise in life expectancy has taken place among the affluent. The bottom half of workers, who are precisely the Americans who rely on Social Security most, have seen their life expectancy at age 65 rise only a bit more than a year since the 1970s. Furthermore, while lawyers and politicians may consider working into their late 60s no hardship, things look somewhat different to ordinary workers, many of whom still have to perform manual labor." The New York Times.BERSHIDSKY: Clinton would have had no reason to oppose Uranium One's acquisition by a Russian firm. "The New York Times (NYT) is probably making a mountain out of a molehill by wondering whether Hillary Clinton helped Russia's state-owned nuclear energy company, Rosatom, buy U.S.-based uranium mining assets when she was secretary of state. Even so, her sneakiness in not disclosing donations from investors in the acquired company is disturbing. ... Uranium One had good Kazakh assets with a low production cost. In 2010, the year ARMZ acquired it on behalf of Rosatom, Kazakhstan provided all of the company's $326.9 million in revenue. Its U.S. plant at Willow Creek, Wyoming, didn't produce any uranium that year or in 2009. Although uranium is a strategic material, there was nothing strategic about that nonproducing facility from the U.S. government's point of view." Bloomberg View.STRASSEL: Her family's dubious relationship with the uranium investors is all too typical. "The Clintons flourish in that hazy interface between legal and lawless. Their dealings always stink, but are rarely blatantly or provably (or traceably) corrupt. Consider this week’s news. Yes, tons of donor cash flowed to the Clinton Foundation at the same time Mrs. Clinton's State Department was greenlighting deals helping those donors. But prove there was a quid pro quo! The Clintons dare you." The Wall Street Journal.3. In case you missed itComcast (CMCSA) will withdraw its bid to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWX), which regulators oppose. "Comcast (CMCSA) is planning to drop its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) after Washington regulators raised concerns that the combined giant would hold too much sway over the rapidly evolving television and entertainment industries, according to people familiar with the matter. ... The move by regulators to throw up roadblocks shows that the government has grown concerned about massive media conglomerates bigfooting rivals that are finding success by streaming content over the Internet, analysts said. And after years of approving a wave of mergers in the industry — including that of Comcast (CMCSA) and NBC Universal in 2011 — federal officials are taking a new tone, they said." Brian Fung and Cecilia Kang in The Washington Post.Democrats shouldn't blame free trade for the plight of the American worker.  "A new paper, from Ann Harrison of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues finds that if there had been no imports, median real wages in America in 2008 would have been 3% higher than they actually were. For workers in menial tasks, they would have been 15% higher. ... Yet it is difficult to blame trade deals for this. America has no free-trade agreement with India, yet imports of goods from there have more than doubled over the past decade. Though many Democrats see NAFTA, a deal with Canada and Mexico that Bill Clinton signed in 1993, as a disaster for America’s workers, the consensus among economists is that it did not have much effect on the labour market." The Economist.Obama can't bring the parties together on climate change. "Global warming has become a deeply rooted partisan issue over the past decade. And the bitter irony is that Obama's climate speeches only ever seem to exacerbate that divide — not narrow it. ... This has long posed a Catch-22 for Obama. It's harder to tackle global warming unless both parties can agree it's a problem that needs addressing. But anything the president says on the topic only ever seems to make that partisan split worse, not better. That's not because Obama is somehow uniquely unpersuasive. It's a persistent feature of modern American politics." Brad Plumer at Vox.The administration will allow prior funding deals with states that did not expand Medicaid to lapse. "Because of special arrangements that predate Obamacare, four states that haven't expanded Medicaid have been getting billions each year in extra funding to pay for the care of people who are uninsured. That's about to change. On April 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal funding to the states for health programs, alerted Florida officials that CMS plans to let the $1.3 billion the state gets annually to help hospitals cover the cost of treating uninsured patients lapse at the end of June. ... Texas' special Medicaid funding, which accounts for about half of the state’s $3.4 billion pool to repay hospitals for treating uninsured patients, expires in September 2016." John Tozzi and Margaret Newkirk for Bloomberg.EVENT FRIDAY: Washington Post Live presents “Executive Actions — Reimagining Industries in a Changing Economy,” April 24 at George Washington University. Register to attend an intimate conversation with five CEOs, including MGM Resorts’ James Murren; Richard Plepler of Home Box Office, Inc.; Desiree Rogers of Johnson Publishing Company; Eric Spiegel of Siemens USA and John Viehmeyer of KPMG, Global and USA.




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    It ought to be a good thing that human society is richer than ever before, so rich that the storage tanks in Cushing, Okla., are nearly overflowing with crude oil and some 110 million bales of cotton are sitting in warehouses around the world, as Josh Zumbrun and Carolyn Cui report in The Wall Street Journal.The problem is that policymakers don't quite know how to handle the surplus, which challenges some basic principles of conventional economics and is causing all kinds of mischief:The current state of plenty is confounding on many fronts. The surfeit of commodities depresses prices and stokes concerns of deflation. Global wealth—estimated by Credit Suisse (CS) at around $263 trillion, more than double the $117 trillion in 2000—represents a vast supply of savings and capital, helping to hold down interest rates, undermining the power of monetary policy. And the surplus of workers depresses wages. ...There is debate among leading economists about whether this condition of excess is temporary or likely to continue for a while, but in either case, we still face the question of what to do with what we have.One answer: Transfer some of that wealth to the people who need it now, and invest some of it in projects that will guarantee even better lives for our children and grandchildren. The current generation of owners is obviously not using what they have, so it would be selfish to do otherwise."There are a long list of things that need to be done," Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last year. "Think of all those things that we think that we can't do because they cost so much, like stopping global warming, educating our kids properly, or providing care for seniors. It turns out that we actually can do them because we have more supply than demand."What's in Wonkbook: 1) Drone killed American hostage 2) Opinions, including Krugman on Christie's Social Security plan 3) Comcast (CMCSA) will abandon its bid to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWX), and moreMap of the day: Journalism still looks like a dying industry, at least in most of the country outside of Washington, D.C. Jim Tankersley in The Washington Post.1. Top story: American hostage died in CIA drone strikeAn Italian hostage and two American militants were also killed. "A U.S. drone strike targeting a compound frequented by al Qaida leaders accidentally killed two hostages, including one American, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in January, the White House announced Thursday. ... Two other Americans, both members of al Qaida, also had been killed in Pakistan in January. ... Neither man had been targeted in the raids that killed them, U.S. officials said." Anita Kumar and Tom Hussain for McClatchy (MNI). The hostages' deaths raise difficult, if familiar, questions about drones. "After weeks of aerial surveillance, CIA analysts reached two conclusions about a compound to be targeted in a January drone strike: that it was used by al-Qaeda militants and that, in the moment before it was hit, it had exactly four occupants. But as six bodies were removed from the rubble, the drone feeds that continued streaming back to CIA headquarters carried with them a new set of troubling questions... Current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said that Thursday’s disclosures undercut years of U.S. claims about the accuracy of the drone program." Greg Miller in The Washington Post.The administration is now reviewing its protocols. "The administration’s review could revive discussion about Mr. Obama’s calls for control over the drone program to shift from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Pentagon. But Pentagon officials said there appeared to be no indication the outcome would have been different if the strike had been carried out by the military rather than the CIA. Both rely on similar intelligence. At the same time, it seems unlikely the review would lead to any significant changes to the drone program, which continues to receive strong bipartisan support in Washington from politicians and counterterrorism officials who see it as essential to battling militants in remote parts of the world." Carol E. Lee and Dion Nissenbaum in The Wall Street Journal.Why has President Obama chosen drones over more conventional weapons? "The drones' vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war. ... Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess. ... In all, it was a devastating acknowledgment for Mr. Obama, who had hoped to pioneer a new, more discriminating kind of warfare. Whether the episode might bring a long-delayed public reckoning about targeted killings, long hidden by classification rules, remained uncertain." Scott Shane in The New York Times.STEPHEN L. CARTER: The White House must acknowledge that war is messy, and drones are, too. "Press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word 'war' to describe exactly what the U.S. is up to. ... The sort of war the administration is waging requires extraordinarily accurate intelligence. Earnest said in his briefing that a strike is not permitted unless there is 'a near certainty' that no civilians will be harmed. In wartime that standard would be impossible to meet. Claiming that a war isn't a war doesn't make meeting the standard any easier. I am not suggesting that calling the War on Terror a war would make civilian casualties any more justified. But it might force the administration to concede that we simply lack the intelligence resources to establish a guarantee against killing noncombatants. And once the administration admits the inevitability of significant numbers of civilian deaths, we might be able to engage in serious public conversation about the morality of the drone war." Bloomberg View.2. Top opinionsKRUGMAN: Christie's argument for raising the retirement age was debunked long ago. "His supposedly tough-minded policy idea was a classic zombie — an idea that should have died long ago in the face of evidence that undermines its basic premise, but somehow just keeps shambling along. But let us not be too harsh on Mr. Christie. A deep attachment to long-refuted ideas seems to be required of all prominent Republicans. ... This whole line of argument should have died in 2007, when the Social Security Administration issued a report showing that almost all the rise in life expectancy has taken place among the affluent. The bottom half of workers, who are precisely the Americans who rely on Social Security most, have seen their life expectancy at age 65 rise only a bit more than a year since the 1970s. Furthermore, while lawyers and politicians may consider working into their late 60s no hardship, things look somewhat different to ordinary workers, many of whom still have to perform manual labor." The New York Times.BERSHIDSKY: Clinton would have had no reason to oppose Uranium One's acquisition by a Russian firm. "The New York Times (NYT) is probably making a mountain out of a molehill by wondering whether Hillary Clinton helped Russia's state-owned nuclear energy company, Rosatom, buy U.S.-based uranium mining assets when she was secretary of state. Even so, her sneakiness in not disclosing donations from investors in the acquired company is disturbing. ... Uranium One had good Kazakh assets with a low production cost. In 2010, the year ARMZ acquired it on behalf of Rosatom, Kazakhstan provided all of the company's $326.9 million in revenue. Its U.S. plant at Willow Creek, Wyoming, didn't produce any uranium that year or in 2009. Although uranium is a strategic material, there was nothing strategic about that nonproducing facility from the U.S. government's point of view." Bloomberg View.STRASSEL: Her family's dubious relationship with the uranium investors is all too typical. "The Clintons flourish in that hazy interface between legal and lawless. Their dealings always stink, but are rarely blatantly or provably (or traceably) corrupt. Consider this week’s news. Yes, tons of donor cash flowed to the Clinton Foundation at the same time Mrs. Clinton's State Department was greenlighting deals helping those donors. But prove there was a quid pro quo! The Clintons dare you." The Wall Street Journal.3. In case you missed itComcast (CMCSA) will withdraw its bid to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWX), which regulators oppose. "Comcast (CMCSA) is planning to drop its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) after Washington regulators raised concerns that the combined giant would hold too much sway over the rapidly evolving television and entertainment industries, according to people familiar with the matter. ... The move by regulators to throw up roadblocks shows that the government has grown concerned about massive media conglomerates bigfooting rivals that are finding success by streaming content over the Internet, analysts said. And after years of approving a wave of mergers in the industry — including that of Comcast (CMCSA) and NBC Universal in 2011 — federal officials are taking a new tone, they said." Brian Fung and Cecilia Kang in The Washington Post.Democrats shouldn't blame free trade for the plight of the American worker.  "A new paper, from Ann Harrison of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues finds that if there had been no imports, median real wages in America in 2008 would have been 3% higher than they actually were. For workers in menial tasks, they would have been 15% higher. ... Yet it is difficult to blame trade deals for this. America has no free-trade agreement with India, yet imports of goods from there have more than doubled over the past decade. Though many Democrats see NAFTA, a deal with Canada and Mexico that Bill Clinton signed in 1993, as a disaster for America’s workers, the consensus among economists is that it did not have much effect on the labour market." The Economist.Obama can't bring the parties together on climate change. "Global warming has become a deeply rooted partisan issue over the past decade. And the bitter irony is that Obama's climate speeches only ever seem to exacerbate that divide — not narrow it. ... This has long posed a Catch-22 for Obama. It's harder to tackle global warming unless both parties can agree it's a problem that needs addressing. But anything the president says on the topic only ever seems to make that partisan split worse, not better. That's not because Obama is somehow uniquely unpersuasive. It's a persistent feature of modern American politics." Brad Plumer at Vox.The administration will allow prior funding deals with states that did not expand Medicaid to lapse. "Because of special arrangements that predate Obamacare, four states that haven't expanded Medicaid have been getting billions each year in extra funding to pay for the care of people who are uninsured. That's about to change. On April 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal funding to the states for health programs, alerted Florida officials that CMS plans to let the $1.3 billion the state gets annually to help hospitals cover the cost of treating uninsured patients lapse at the end of June. ... Texas' special Medicaid funding, which accounts for about half of the state’s $3.4 billion pool to repay hospitals for treating uninsured patients, expires in September 2016." John Tozzi and Margaret Newkirk for Bloomberg.EVENT FRIDAY: Washington Post Live presents “Executive Actions — Reimagining Industries in a Changing Economy,” April 24 at George Washington University. Register to attend an intimate conversation with five CEOs, including MGM Resorts’ James Murren; Richard Plepler of Home Box Office, Inc.; Desiree Rogers of Johnson Publishing Company; Eric Spiegel of Siemens USA and John Viehmeyer of KPMG, Global and USA.




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    Durable-goods orders rise 4%, but a key part sours. WASHINGTON-- A key measure of how much U.S. businesses plan to invest fell in March for the seventh month in a row, underscoring the damage done by a stronger dollar and cheaper oil to American manufacturers and energy producers. Orders for durable U.S. goods jumped a seasonally adjusted 4% in March, but the increase was driven almost entirely by higher demand for autos, commercial jets and military hardware-- volatile categories that...