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It's the economy

Gas prices seem likely to head upward, not downward, between now and Christmas. 

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may be heading for a showdown with congressional Democrats over his warning that wage gains risk causing a jump in inflation," Bloomberg says.  "Fed policy makers are threatening to raise interest rates should inflation remain elevated, even as the housing slump slows the economy.  Democrats... vow to grill Bernanke over borrowing costs and wage increases that have lagged behind profit growth under [Bush's] administration."  Bernanke will visit Capitol Hill in February "for his semiannual testimony on the economy."