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IDEALAB @ Huffpo <> AUDIO NEWS

 

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HUFFINGTON NEWS:

Deficit Lowest Since O Took Office  .......................................................

A new report released Tuesday says the government's budget deficit is set to fall to $514 billion for the current year, down substantially from last year and the lowest by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago.

The Congressional Budget Office report credits higher tax revenues from the rebounding economy and sharp curbs on agency spending as the chief reason for the deficit's short-term decline.

But CBO sees the long-term deficit picture worsening by about $100 billion a year through the end of the decade because of slower growth in the economy over the coming decade than it had previously predicted.

Last year's deficit registered $680 billion. Obama inherited an economy in crisis and first-ever deficits exceeding $1 trillion. The 2009 deficit, swelled by the costs of the Wall Street bailout, hit a record $1.4 trillion, while the deficits of 2010 and 2011 both registered $1.3 trillion.

The report predicted the economy will continue to rebound this year and grow at a 3.1 percent rate and by 3.4 percent next year. It foresees the jobless rate holding steady at 6.8 percent this year; the most recent nationwide unemployment rate registered 6.7 percent. It predicts the jobless rate remaining above 6 percent through the remainder of Obama's term.


BUSINESS:

Little fear on Wall St. of Default, at moment ........................................................

Wall Street is showing few signs so far that it is fearing the financial panic it has been predicting should the government default on its debt.

The fiscal impasse in Washington continued to weigh on stock prices on Monday, as the market’s “fear gauge,” the C.B.O.E. volatility index, jumped 15.95 percent to its highest level since June. Nonetheless, the market reaction to date has been muted compared with past crises.

But the relative calm on Wall Street is worrying some investors, who fear the markets will not signal to politicians the true danger of hitting thedebt ceiling until it is too late.“We all tell ourselves, ‘This is something that is not going to happen,’ ” said David Coard, the head of fixed-income trading at the Williams Capital Group. “This would be like a black swan event — it’s not something that you would have thought that the U.S. could do in a million years.”

 

MAGAZINE:

Who made movie popcorn? .......................................................

In the 1920s, movie palaces rose up around the country like so many portals into a glamorous world. After you bought a ticket, you might pass through gilded archways and ascend a grand staircase lighted by a crystal chandelier to find your velvet seat. Eating was not meant to be part of the experience, says Andrew F. Smith, author of “Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America.” Theater owners feared that audiences would strew popcorn and peanuts on those crimson carpets. They hung signs discouraging people from bringing in food from vendors parked outside and didn’t sell it themselves.

A widow named Julia Braden in Kansas City, Mo., was one of the rare concessionaires who managed to talk her way inside. She persuaded the Linwood Theater to let her set up a stand in the lobby and eventually built a popcorn empire. By 1931, she owned stands in or near four movie theaters and pulled in more than $14,400 a year — the equivalent of $336,000 in today’s dollars. Her business grew even in the midst of the Depression, at the same time that thousands of elegant theaters went bust.