Weekly Wrap: Hurray for Washington?

U.S. President Barack Obama returned to the White House after a day trip to New York on March 11, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The president attended two fundraisers and shopped at a Midtown Manahattan Gap, highlighting the retailer's policy of paying entry-level employees more than the federal minimum wage. No word on whether or not he was paid overtime.

Kai spoke with Bloomberg Government's Nela Richardson and the Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy in Washington, D.C.

 

And in Washington they begin:

 

Kai: Is it possible that Washington has decided to get the way out of the economy?

 

Nela Richardson: "At least with this emergency funding, I think there is some positivity. I say 'hurray for Washington!' for getting this done. Overtime pay... that's a whole different issue. It adds to President Obama's phone and pen strategy, trying to get as much done on inequality and raising income without asking Congress."

 

Is it working? Is President Obama getting traction income inequality? He's been raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, and now the overtime thing. 

 

Sudeep Reddy: He getting traction on this, not just nationally, but globally. The IMF was latest to sound the alarm on inequality around the world. It really is a defining issue of our time... But if the White House didn't have enoguh businesses and people annoyed by regulations and rules, they're on their way.

 

And what about pushback?

 

Nela Richardson: "'Here's a new set of regulations.' -- there's definitely pushback."

Sudeep Reddy: "These are ways to move the pieces around as we're going through a moderate growth approach to the economy. Nobody is really counting on big changes to the economy from Washington... This is really just to tread water, and tread water in a different way than we have been doing before.

 

The referendum in Crimea. Why is the market just watching this and saying, "Yeah, yeah, ok, fine'?

 

Nela Richardson: "The market feels pretty confident that the U.S. is isolated enough from the events in Russia and Ukraine... the worst case scenario is a stepping up of sanctions."

 

Sudeep Reddy: "It's impossible... to plan for an actual war in a region... but to plan for an economic war, to discuss sanctinos and all of the possibilities that come out of this, there are three or steps down the line that have to occur."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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