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Marketplace Staff Dec 12, 2008


Marketplace Staff Dec 12, 2008


Tess Vigeland: And with some of your questions answered it’s time for your letters and comments about the show.

A few weeks ago we aired a report about families that are making financial decisions about childcare. Keep working so you can pay for help or stay home; it’s a longstanding dilemma that still pushes buttons. Comments flooded our website, some of them quite off-putting to listeners like Christina Wolf of Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Christina Wolf: I am surprised and dismayed at the vitriol launched at working parents. The stay-at-home mom concept arose only in the Victorian era. Even then many of those women hired others to raise their children. Don’t believe me? Just watch Mary Poppins!

Yes, and Ms. Poppins would also tell you that even in the hurly-burly of the Internet, a spoonful of sugar helps your point go down.

A few weeks ago in our Getting Personal segment, a listener wanted to know if there was any way to predict the 2009 IRS mileage reimbursement rate. We did a little math and said based on what happened when gas prices rose this year, the rate might go down about 4 percent from 58 cents a mile. We said that would be an eight cent drop. Remedial math — and you — reminded us that 4 percent of 58 is about two cents, not eight. Moot prediction anyway because the IRS says the new rate is 55 cents a mile.

Last month we aired a story about homeowners taking in roommates in order to avoid foreclosure. That brought back some memories for Nancy Huebner of San Diego, California.

Nancy Haekler: I had to smile at this story. I bought a house 10 years ago with my fiancee. The fiancee thing didn’t work, but I wanted to keep the house. Roommates to the rescue!

Last week we focused on rescuing yourself from all those changes to your credit card. The industry is hiking interest rates and cutting credit limits. Many of you voiced frustration that closing cards, which you would think would make you a more responsible borrower, can actually hurt your credit score.

Jack Black of White Plains, New York, used our website to comment that “Credit card companies are nothing but legalized loan sharks.”

Don Keller of Fort Collins, Colorado, heard me joke that maybe all of us should just tear up our cards. Then I sheepishly admitted that would be quite difficult, at least for me. Mr. Keller admonishes that, to the contrary, it was “the most sensible and appropriate advice in the entire segment.”

And finally, Michael Rulison of Raleigh, North Carolina, heard our interview about the record low numbers of office holiday parties this year. Our own Marketplace get-together is a festive potluck at our managing editor’s home this very weekend. Mr. Rulison offered another suggestion for a low-cost group activity.

Michael Rulison: The give back would be some form of community service, for example Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, anything like that.

Great suggestions.

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