Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election
Jannet Walsh, 48, sits at her grandfather's desk, from which she's launching her own small business.
July 31st, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Murdock, Minnesota (CNN) - Jannet Walsh is not waiting for the presidential candidates to encourage more jobs. Instead, the unemployed Minnesotan is trying to create one on her own.

[1:52] "I think it was February, after I don't know how many (job) rejections," the 48-year-old told CNN Radio, the frustration still clear in her voice, "I actually remember sitting here kind of yelling, 'This is it! This is enough!'"

That moment, Walsh decided to create her own business, a one-woman photography and media company based in her family's century-old home. With that decision, the energetic former newspaper photographer took a gamble that is central to the debates over the economy and the White House.

Small businesses generated 65% of the new jobs in America over the past 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration.

And such firms, defined as having fewer than 500 workers, employ half of all workers in the private sector.

Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spoken about the importance of small businesses and their commitment to supporting them. But Walsh already understands the bigger issue: how to make sure a nascent business survives.

[6:07] "Right now, I'm not making much money," Walsh sighed, her laptop perched on the antique writer's desk that used to belong to her grandfather, "but I think once more people know who I am and actually see me out more, I think that could change."

Better off than four years ago?

Read Jannet Walsh's iReport

You can check out all our Embed America coverage here. And track the team's progress on our Embed America map.

OPINION: The right way and the wrong way to protest Chick-fil-A
Customers line up at a Chick-fil-A food truck that was targeted by about two dozen protesters last week in Washington.
July 31st, 2012
11:53 AM ET

OPINION: The right way and the wrong way to protest Chick-fil-A

(CNN) – CNN Contributor LZ Granderson says he was a Chick-fil-A fan until he heard of its stance on gay rights, but the Constitution doesn't allow mayors to ban Chick-fil-A simply based on the company's president's views. Granderson thinks he has a better and legal way to protest.

[0:57] "The last thing anyone, liberal or conservative, should want is local government censoring what a private citizen can say by way of withholding permits and licenses."

[3:06] "This is what the forefathers had in mind when they composed the Constitution: liberals making out during lunch and conservatives stuffing their face with chicken in the name of Jesus. God I love this country."

What do you think about this issue? Join the conversation and add your comments below.

Read more of LZ Granderson's columns at CNN Opinion.

Taxing yourself out of a traffic jam
Atlanta hopes some of its gridlock problems will be solved if voters approve a controversial penny tax for transportaiton.
July 30th, 2012
02:43 PM ET

Taxing yourself out of a traffic jam

By Tommy Andres, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - There’s a lot of anger in Atlanta over traffic, but it’s not just road rage. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who lives in the city, or has driven through it, who won’t tell you that something needs to be done about gridlock here.

[:29] “We’ve been a victim of our own success,” says Reese McCranie with the Atlanta mayor’s office. “We grew at such a pace that it outpaced our infrastructure.”   FULL POST

The Fed's magic money machine
Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington DC.
July 30th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

The Fed's magic money machine

By Dan Szematowicz, CNN

[Updated at 2:22 p.m ET] The Federal Reserve meeting is over.  The Fed has decided not to begin a new round of quantitative easing.  However, they say they remain open to further economic stimulus if the economy continues to slow.

(CNN) – This week leaders of the Federal Reserve will gather in Washington DC for its regularly scheduled contemplation of US monetary policy.

As the economy continues to do its convincing impression of a three-toed sloth, many Fed-watchers think the central bank could decide that the system needs more stimulation. Among the possible measures the Fed could take (on top of programs already in place) is another round of quantitative easing.

This means that the Fed would increase the money supply in the hopes that the economy would stir. To do that, it needs to create more money.

How does that work?

Don't expect to receive an envelope in the mail stuffed with cash.


OPINION: Goodbye 'Dear'?
Bob Greene says in an age of texting and emailing, The "Dear" salutation increasingly seems formal and even too intimate.
July 30th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

OPINION: Goodbye 'Dear'?

By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Dear reader:

Actually, that's the subject of today's column.

That salutation.

Because there is a real question that has quietly been building - perhaps not the most important question in this tense old world of ours, but a question nonetheless:

Is "Dear" an endangered species?

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