Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Apr 15, 2009

It’s been more than 50 years since the Consumer Price Index fell on an annual basis. Last time it happened was 1955. This morning, the government said retail prices fell in March and dropped 0.4% year-over-year. Other things to read:

We Need More Stimulus, Not More Bailout (Robert Reich/Marketplace Morning Report)
“That’s the big issue: the continued lack of enough demand in the economy. The Commerce Department reported this week that retail sales were down for March. The current stimulus package is proving way too small relative to the shortfall between what consumers and businesses are buying and what the economy could produce at full capacity.”

Stimulus Advocates Are Exactly Wrong (Times of London)
“We should be relatively unconcerned about the economy’s immediate future. We know it will survive. What matters is its long-term quality of life. Crippling a patient who would otherwise die may be worth it. But crippling an immortal patient who would otherwise have to endure a brief period of intense pain is not.”

Goldman Sachs: Big Profits, Big Questions (William Cohan/New York Times)
There is a reason Bill Gates once said Microsoft’s biggest competitor was Goldman Sachs. “It’s all about I.Q.,” Mr. Gates said. “You win with I.Q. Our only competition for I.Q. is the top investment banks.” And then there was one.

Politicians Love the Tax Code We Hate (Real Clear Markets)
“They have turned it into an agent of cultural change which they employ to make political promises and payoffs, in the process making simplification unattractive to them and the tax code ever more painful to us.”

Skip Google and Try These Search Engines (Fast Company)
“Some people don’t believe me when I say that Google’s results are bad,” says Weinberg, who self-funds the search engine thanks to the sale of an earlier venture. “But I find there are incredible amounts of spam–sites just created with ads and no content.”

No Takers for Tax Break to Hire Ex-Cons (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“The mayor unveiled the initiative on the campaign trail as an innovative way to drive down Philadelphia’s crime rate, and City Council wrote it into law nearly 18 months ago. Under its terms, local companies can receive tax breaks of $10,000 a year – for three years – for each ex-offender working at least six months as of Jan. 1, 2008… But no one applied.”

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