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PODCAST: How rich is 'rich' and a Big Mac for Christmas?

McDonald's will be open this year on Christmas Day.

This morning Republican House Speaker John Boehner delivered a critical bit of news: He said one of the GOP's most important proposals can wait until next year. Republicans have been arguing that raising the age for Medicare eligibility might be essential to any fiscal cliff deal. That, it appears, is now put off for another day -- Boehner says Americans have suffered enough stress from events in recent days. That still leaves negotiators largely wrangling over taxes. Republicans proposed letting taxes rise on those making more than one million dollars a year. President Obama has countered now with an offer to set the income level at $400,000.                   

In corporate news: The private equity group Cerberus Capital management says today it is selling its investment in the gun manufacturer Freedom Group. The company makes the Bushmaster rifle, one of the guns used in last week's attack. The two largest pension funds in the country, both in California, are considering stripping their portfolios of any investments in gun makers.

McDonald's is telling franchisees to open this year on Christmas Day according to an internal memo leaked to Advertising Age magazine. Turns out deciding to open on Thanksgiving this year gave a nice boost to McDonald's sales, and they'd love a repeat performance.

If parts of the U.S. economy are still stuck in the mud, you might think of the auto industry like a big ol' Ford, Chevy or Dodge pickup truck with a tow cable. U.S. carmakers are headed for a record year, led by sales right here at home -- and they're dragging the broader economy along with them.

A charity for the homeless in Sweden is taking a little heat for giving out heaters, by which I mean, cigarettes. The charity that translates as "Care Christmas" has put together Christmas packages for the homeless for 17 years. And along with clothes and chocolate, they've always included a pack of smokes. Now, according to the Swedish news site The Local, a lobby group of Swedish dentists says it's time to stop the practice. The charity is not backing down, pointing out that no donors have complained and the recipients deserve to get what they want around the holidays.                                    

People in Connecticut are trying to get back to business after Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown. Trying to get on with life won't be easy. People like Jeff Gorter have flown in to help. Gorter is a counselor for the Crisis Care Network. Earlier today from Connecticut he talked to my morning report colleague Jeremy Hobson. You can hear their conversation here.

And finally, across the country, cities are grappling with a big change in how we work. Home businesses can sometimes run afoul of local ordinances that were designed for another time. In Nashville, Tennessee, known as "Music City," the dispute takes on a particular, local flavor: Officials are reckoning with what to do about all the home recording studios.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.
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