With at least $7 billion in losses expected in 2011 and similar setbacks over the past several years, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that it plans to close up to 2,000 post offices across the nation beginning in March 2011.

Standard and Poor’s gave plenty of reasons for its downgrade of Japan’s credit rating yesterday such as increasing annual deficits and soaring national debt, an aging population, shrinking workforce, and a government in gridlock. With their national debt approaching $11 trillion and a gross domestic product of just under $5.5 trillion, Japan’s ratio of debt to GDP is now 200 percent, the highest of any industrialized nation in the world. And it’s going higher. As S&P noted in its announcement:

With the value of the U.S. dollar exponentially declining since the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, it comes as no surprise that many world leaders and international economists have expressed their desire for a new world reserve currency. In light of the global financial crisis, Russia may be moving toward a sound economic solution — gold.

After nearly two years of investigation, reviewing millions of documents and conducting hundreds of interviews, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) released its report today, pinning the blame for the Great Recession largely on Wall Street and alleged deregulation of the financial markets in the 1990s.

One of the most-watched and highly regarded indices giving direction to the housing market is the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index published every month. Its latest report, announced on Tuesday, provides the clearest evidence so far that housing prices are continuing to fall and in fact may represent a significant double-dip in the housing market into 2011.