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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Apr 10, 2009

The President meets with his economic advisers today to talk about stimulus, bank stress tests and whether the economy is, in fact, showing signs of life. The head of Obama’s council, Larry Summers, says, “The sense of a ball falling off a table, which is what the economy has felt like since the middle of last fall, I think we can be reasonably confident that that is going to end within the next few months, and we will no longer have that sense of a free-fall.” Other things to read:

Is the market turning? Stay skeptical (MSN Money)
“And frankly, I think it pays to wait right now. The structure of this stock market and the growing conviction that any economic recovery will be tepid have made short-term trends even more unreliable than usual. I want to see a turn confirmed and confirmed again before I put more money into stocks.”

Obama Stakes His Fortunes on Failed Banksters (Bloomberg)
“More than anyone else’s, it should be in Obama’s political self-interest to accelerate the worst of the financial crisis and get as much of the inevitable pain behind us as quickly as possible. Every day he waits is one less day he will have between the time we hit rock bottom and the next election. And yet, Obama and his minions are doing all they can to delay the reckoning, which only will make it worse.”

Making Banking Boring (Paul Krugman/NYT)
“Part of the problem is that boring banking would mean poorer bankers, and the financial industry still has a lot of friends in high places. But it’s also a matter of ideology: Despite everything that has happened, most people in positions of power still associate fancy finance with economic progress.”

Banks Balk At Dramatic Rise In FDIC Fees (NPR)
“Obviously, the cost of this was because other people were doing silly, imprudent, criminal things. We never got involved in subprime loans. We would never do a loan with no documentation. We didn’t cause this problem. Imagine if you had to pay for your neighbor, or your competitor screwed up somehow, and you had to pay for it.”

Yes, taxpayers, close your eyes and try to picture a scenario where you pay for the mistakes of others.

Should we make newspapers tax exempt? (The Nation)
“Newspapers have traditionally provided a healthy helping of “pudding” to go with the “spinach” a democracy needs, and it remains a decidedly open question whether our political system can survive, much less thrive, on pudding alone.”

Somali pirates “smell money” as good times return (Reuters)
“Towns acting as pirate bases along Somalia’s Indian Ocean coastline have come back to life, with locals rubbing their hands at a cash bonanza anticipated from ransoms.
“We can smell the cash near,” said Yassin Dheere, a former fisherman who has become a wealthy financier of piracy based in the coastal village of Eyl.”

Porn Hedge Fund Accused of Fraud (Clusterstock)
“There is almost no money left in the fund,” the investor, who said he was privy to some of AdultVest’s financials via a court order, alleges. “Koenig has an American Express black card through the company that he uses on partying, girls and high living. Most money is missing and iPorn.com is not worth what he says it is.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Jon welcomes financial journalist William Cohan, who chronicles the fall of Bear Stearns in his new book:

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