Dear Marketplace . . .

Kai Ryssdal Jan 8, 2007

KAI RYSSDAL: Many of you wrote despite the holidays. And you wrote about, well, some of the things people get around the holidays. Last month we aired a story on end of the year bonuses. How they’re not only making Wall Street-types rich. But those that cater to their buying tastes, too. Dave Edwards from Charlotte, North Carolina, just doesn’t want to know.

DAVE EDWARDS: As a light-blue-collar worker employed by a low-cost provider in the financial services industry, I’m sickened by the continuous reports of the $24 billion being shelled out to the big bugs in the investment banks and full-service brokerage houses.

Last week, we spoke with David Freedman. His latest book is about how messiness can be virtuous. Ron Aaron from San Antonio, Texas tips his hat to the author for pointing out the not-so-obvious.

RON AARON: Wow. As one who is often accused of having a messy desk, I was thrilled to hear last night’s report that mess is in. At last I’m ahead of the power curve. Take that you neatness freaks.

Apparently, I ought to be sorry, too. Greg Filice from St. Paul, Minnesota wrote to say I didn’t give commentator Jamie Court the respect he deserves. Jamie said last week there’s plenty of evidence oil companies are playing political games with the price of gasoline.

GREG FILICE: When you ended your segment on decreases in the price of gasoline just before the U.S. elections, you asked the audience to send any other comments, including, quote, conspiracy theories, unquote. To refer to the piece you just aired as a conspiracy theory is to dismiss its veracity.

And finally, a clarification to a commentary we aired Friday about the oil industry. I said the energy bill Congress passed two years ago was full of tax breaks and incentives for Big Oil.

The chief economist for the oil industry’s main lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute, was listening. He wrote us a note to object. He said the industry actually lost money because of that bill. So we called around to some people who’d know. They agreed with the API, that the bill didn’t expand any of the tax breaks and incentives that oil companies already get.

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