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Assessing the state of the economy

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A stock trader
A trader sits on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Consumers are spending less, unemployment is climbing, the credit crunch is complicating matters, and energy prices are at record highs.  

Meanwhile, top policymakers in Washington have proposed reforms to toughen rules for mortgage brokers, lenders and credit agencies. Midday examines the latest news on the economy.