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Easy Street

Easy Street: April 22

Heidi Moore Apr 23, 2011

Easy Street is Marketplace’s roundup of the most interesting, accessible news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance.

Top Story

Treasury Bonds: Treasury bonds are probably the number one way to measure the health of the United States’ finances. Don’t let anyone tell you that the Treasury market isn’t showing some nervousness; it is. There are worries about whether the debt ceiling will be raised; if it isn’t, the Treasury will default on its bills and the U.S. will be plunged into financial chaos. There are also worries about rising interest rates at next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

Related: Standard & Poor’s head of country ratings talks to Charlie Rose to defend his firm’s threat to downgrade the U.S.

Banking

Interesting rates: Banks are earning more interest from the Federal Reserve than they’re paying you on your savings.

The power of profit: Citigroup was a bank that was so beleaguered that its annual meeting was a brutal affair; a few years ago, the bank didn’t serve coffee or food – which many suspected was so that attendees couldn’t launch the foodstuffs at executives onstage. Now the dog days are over, says chairman Richard Parsons: Citi’s annual meeting is less contentious and more manageable.

Hedge Funds

Galleon: The biggest insider-trading case in history is probably going to start wrapping up on Monday.

The Washington Matrix

Musical chairs of Alphabet Soup: Sheila Bair is the chair of the FDIC, the nation’s top regulator of banks. She’s stepping down on June 30. Also on June 30, the new Consumer Financial Protection Board needs a new director or risk losing some of its funding. Why not…..Sheila Bair?

Obama fundraising: Where there’s an election, there’s campaign fundraising. BusinessWeek checks in on President Obama’s plans.

Recreational Reading

An uncommonly charming profile of actress Ellen Barkin.

“We tried to figure out who would be most likely to have weed. Our money was on Franzen.” Elif Batuman writes a lovely essay on the awkwardness of having a bestseller and then returning to regular life.

You like to tweet, do you? Don’t try that kind of stuff in Canada. They’ll put you in jail.

The new Chinese export: wealth.

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