Easy Street is Marketplace's morning roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the world beyond.

Today in "Things Are Looking Up, In a Way. Vaguely."

A majority of financial professionals surveyed by SIFMA said that the economy is improving, stock prices will go up, and the economy is on the mend. However, you'll also be paying more for healthcare and fuel, so. Yeah.

Banking

Financial reform: We started to undertake financial reform two years ago. What's the big hurry, asks Orrin Hatch.

Lehman losses: Goldman Sachs thinks Lehman's plan to pay back its creditors is a joke.

Investment Funds

AIG: The auction so nice the Federal Reserve is holding it twice: selling off AIG's old mortgage bonds.

Off-Tilton: Jessica Pressler has an eye-popping story in this week's New York Magazine about the complex personality of private equity investor Lynn Tilton and the sexual-harassment charges leveled against her by male employees.

Exinct equity?: Private equity funds - which buy troubled companies using lots of debt, then turn them around and pay off the debt through the company's profits - are going out of business at a quick clip.

Wall Street and Your Money

Student loans: So onerous that people are delaying having kids and buying houses.

The Political Matrix

Regulatory riches: The Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission will get more funding in the temporary budget.

The debt ceiling: Expect disaster if it's not raised. (Hat tip to Politico's Morning Money)

Related: On Marketplace yesterday we explained that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, it would have to find money to pay for bank bailouts again.

Related: President Obama officially and publicly regrets voting against raising the debt limit in 2006. The upside: it's a situation where a politician actually has reason to be accountable for his previous votes. Let this be a lesson to ambitious members of the current Congress.

Jefferson County: The Alabama county's finances are baffling to lawmakers.

Around the Web

We really like Politico's Morning Money for anyone who is interested in daily news on how Wall Street and Washington intersect.

Thanks also to Felix Salmon, erstwhile Weekly Wrapper and tormenting older-brother type.

Women are putting rooster feathers in their hair. This is a problem for fishermen. It only gets more complicated from there.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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