The payroll tax cut extension passed by tooth and nail at the end of 2011 expires at the end of February, and this month's battle to work out the re-extension's logistics looks like it will be just as painful. A 20-member conference committee is hammering out the details, with three hearings scheduled for this week, including one this morning. The committee has less than three weeks to craft a deal and get it to Congress for passage before the President's Day recess.
Before all eyes in the country turned to football last night, President Barack Obama told Matt Lauer in his annual pre-Super Bowl interview that he "deserve[s] a second term.” He went on: “We’ve made progress.
To no one’s surprise, Mitt Romney repeated his 2008 performance in Nevada with a double-digit win last night. Given the poll numbers, which had the former Massachusetts governor leading by up to 20 percent, Romney’s victory was nearly preordained.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released January's jobs numbers this morning, and the economy added 243,000 jobs last month. Unemployment dropped from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent—the lowest the rate has been in nearly three years. Forecasts had predicted that the economy would only pick up 150,000 jobs, so this morning's news is a unexpectedly good.
Facebook filed for its initial public offering yesterday. The internet behemoth could be valued between $75 billion and $100 billion, making its IPO one of the biggest stock-market debuts in U.S. history and netting founder Mark Zuckerburg up to $28 billion. While Facebook is a company defined by its users, the company decided not to follow Google's example of holding a dutch auction.