Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 28, 2011

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In today's headlines: Warren Buffett is positive about the recovery even as a new government report announces budgets cuts are slowing it down; Google changed its search rankings and Geither wants to change the tax code; and GM makes its first annual profit in 7 years.

ECONOMY: Warren Buffett remains optimistic about U.S. future

Billionaire Warren Buffett weighed in on the economic recovery, sounding positive that the housing recovery will begin this year but warning about excessive borrowing. “Buffett said … even a short absence of credit can ruin a company,” AP reports.

TECH: Google revamps to fight cheaters

New changes to search giant Google’s ranking system will make it harder to game the results and will hopefully get rid of “low quality” results, the company says. A scholar from UC-Berkeley – who may have sparked the changes by complaining – said the problem was the Internet’s rapid growth and that  “the vast majority of this content is spam,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

CARS: GM ends losing streak with $4.7B profit in 2010

For the first time since well before the recession -2004, in fact – GM turned a yearly profit. Even so, investors with high expectations were disappointed, and the stock dropped 4.5 percent. GM CEO Dan Akerson took it in stride, calling the profits “a good start” and saying there’s “a lot more work to do,” USA Today reports.

TAXES: Geithner seeks to broaden U.S. corporate tax overhaul debate

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wants to talk business – he’s asked the Senate to look at whether it makes sense that businesses can file taxes as individual people instead of corporations. But some Republicans in Congress are saying tax reform should focus on simplifying the individual tax code, for people “who are dealing with massive levels of complexity and compliance costs,” Bloomberg reports.

GOVERNMENT: Government budget cuts pose threat to recovery

In a literally depressing Catch-22, local and state governments are cutting jobs and spending because of the slow recovery – which is making the recovery even slower. A new report on the last quarter of 2010 “suggested that worsening state budget problems could hold back the recovery” by cutting jobs and lowering consumer spending, AP reports.

Stacy Johnson

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