Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow May 15, 2009

Gas prices are up 12% in the last three weeks. Could be a sign of demand bouncing back? I’m skeptical. There are too many other signs of demand in the dumps. Plus, gas prices always go up ’round this time of year. Some good reading this morning:

My personal credit crisis (New York Times)
“If there was anybody who should have avoided the mortgage catastrophe, it was I. As an economics reporter for The New York Times, I have been the paper’s chief eyes and ears on the Federal Reserve for the past six years. I watched Alan Greenspan and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, at close range. I wrote several early-warning articles in 2004 about the spike in go-go mortgages… But in 2004, I joined millions of otherwise-sane Americans in what we now know was a catastrophic binge on overpriced real estate and reckless mortgages.”

Craziest Market Call Yet (24/7 Wall Street)
“He came on CNBC on Thursday and stated a target of 1,000 on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Yes, that was a “1″ as in a 1,000 call… Upon hearing this call, I had to glance at my calendar to make sure it was not April 1. Browne called the current economic situation as one where it is similar to trying to sober up a drunk with beer.”

What if global warming fears are overblown? (Fortune)
“His most controversial argument is that the surface temperature readings upon which global warming theory is built have been distorted by urbanization. Due to the solar heat captured by bricks and pavement and due to the changing wind patterns caused by large buildings, a weather station placed in a rural village in 1900 will inevitably show higher temperature readings if that village has, over time, been transformed into small city or a suburban shopping district, Christy says.”

Don’t blame regulation for the housing mess (Investor’s Business Daily)
It was members of Congress (of both parties) who pushed the regulators, the banks and the mortgage-buying giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into accepting risky mortgages, in the name of “affordable housing” and more homeownership. Presidents of both parties also jumped on the bandwagon.

Happiest places on earth are heavily taxed (Marketwatch)
Simply, you pay for what you get. Taxes in the U.S. have taken on a pejorative association because, well, we are never really quite sure of what we get in return for paying them, other than the world’s biggest military.

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