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Money Links: Cut that deficit -- just not now; discount broker commission war; homeownership rate back to 2000 level

February 2, 2010 | 12:38 pm

--- What to do about record federal budget deficits? Bring them down, of course -- but later, not now, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner tells Congress. Meanwhile, Moody’s warns again about Uncle Sam’s AAA credit rating. And Jeffrey Garten wonders if it will finally take a no-confidence vote by America’s creditors (particularly China) to force serious deficit reduction. Where have we heard that before?

--- Discount brokerage commission war: Fidelity cuts its basic commission rate to $7.95, after Charles Schwab slashed its rate last month to $8.95. This is the good kind of deflation.

--- The U.S. homeownership rate is back to 2000 levels: It ended last year at 67.2%, down from 67.5% a year earlier and down from the peak of 69.2% in 2004. How low can it go?

--- How the major financial websites could improve themselves: Here's one investor's list of ideas.

-- Tom Petruno