U.S. Debt Panel Fails to Agree on Cuts

A special debt-reduction committee in the U.S. Congress failed to reach agreement, extending partisan gridlock into the 2012 election year and setting the stage for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts.
President Barack Obama blamed Republicans, saying in remarks at the White House they “refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise.” The president said he would veto any move to avoid the automatic spending cuts that are supposed to start in 2013 as a result of panel’s failure.
Committee co-chairmen Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a Republican, and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a Democrat, said in an e-mailed statement that “after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.”
Murray told reporters she would keep working toward a “fair and balanced” deal that could forestall the automatic cuts. “We have a responsibility to find that solution, and I’m going to keep working each and every day until we get there.”
Standard & Poor’s said it would keep the U.S. government’s credit rating at AA+ after the Hensarling and Murray announcement. S&P, which stripped the U.S. of its top AAA grade on Aug. 5, said it decided that the failure by the committee didn’t merit another downgrade. Moody’s Investors Service today affirmed its Aaa credit rating of the U.S. while maintaining a negative outlook.

Last-Ditch Attempts

Vets Join Tough Job Market

As the U.S. pulls troops out of Iraq, some companies say they are looking to add a few former soldiers to their ranks.

Dyron Snipe, with daughter Seidron, says his expectation of deployment could hinder his job prospects.

That may be easier said than done.

Following President Barack Obama's October troop withdrawal announcement, tens of thousands of service members are expected to leave Iraq by Dec. 31. Those who don't re-enlist, join the reserves or ride out a contract will re-enter civilian life and for most, that means getting a job.

But only about half of veterans felt they were prepared to assimilate into civilian life and look for work, according to an October survey by Monster Worldwide Inc. And nearly one in five recently returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan screen positive for post-traumatic stress disorder, according a 2008 study by RAND Corp., a nonprofit research institute.

Yet veterans and service members are known to have skills that managers consider essential to the workplace. Some of those skills include attention to detail, self-discipline, problem-solving, decision-making in stressful situations and ability to work in a team, say human-resources experts.

More than 60% of employers feel motivated to hire veterans based on their qualifications and prior work experience and a full 98% of employers that had hired a veteran would hire one again, according to an October Monster survey.

MF Global Trustee Says Shortfall Could Exceed $1.2 Billion

The court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of MF Global’s brokerage now estimates that the shortfall in the firm’s customer funds could be more than $1.2 billion, double previous estimates.
Regulators currently suspect that MF Global improperly used customer money for its own purposes in the days before filing for Chapter 11 protection, according to people briefed on the matter.
The decision to release the updated figure on Monday came after authorities concluded that much of the customer money had left the firm, these people said.