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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow May 27, 2009

It looks almost impossible for GM to avoid bankruptcy, now that bondholders have rejected a government offer that would keep the company on life support a little longer. More on that to come. Some other items I thought you might find interesting:

The Greatest Swindle Ever Sold (The Nation)
“Here, then, based on the most definitive data and analyses available, are six of the most blatant and alarming ways taxpayers have been scammed by the government’s $1.1-trillion, publicly funded bailout.”

Consumer confidence is a misleading indicator (Marketwatch)
“The biggest monthly jumps in the consumer confidence index were, on average, followed by sub-par returns. Conversely, big drops in the index were typically followed by above-average returns.
The starkest patterns in the data, however, were between monthly changes in the consumer confidence index and how the stock market had performed in prior months. When the stock market is going up, their confidence rises too — and vice versa.”

Americans’ credit scores fall as they struggle to pay bills (USA Today)
“In the first quarter of 2009, credit card delinquencies hit a record high of 6.5%, while charge-offs reached 7.5%, a near-record high, according to the Federal Reserve. Banks are closing a record number of credit card accounts and reducing millions of dollars in credit lines. That could boost the percentage of credit consumers are using, hurting their scores.”

Recession Imperils Loan Forgiveness Programs (NY Times)
“From Kentucky to Iowa to California, loan forgiveness programs are on the chopping block. Typically founded by their states to help students pay for college, the state agencies and nonprofit organizations that make student loans and sponsor these programs are getting less money from the federal government and are having difficulty raising money elsewhere as a result of the financial crisis.”

Will higher education be the next bubble to burst? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
“Consumers who have questioned whether it is worth spending $1,000 a square foot for a home are now asking whether it is worth spending $1,000 a week to send their kids to college. There is a growing sense among the public that higher education might be overpriced and under-delivering.”

Women asked to take down American flag at the office (CBS)
“When McLucas came to work Friday, her boss told her another supervisor had found her flag offensive. “I was just totally speechless. I was like, ‘You’re kidding me,'” McLucas said. McLucas’ husband and sons are former military men. Her daughter is currently serving in Iraq as a combat medic.”

Latvian Hookers Signal No Recovery for Economy (Bloomberg)
“All the conventional tools for predicting the course of the economy have been pretty useless. Certainly none of the standard models was telling us two years ago that we were heading into the greatest crisis since the Great Depression. So it isn’t surprising that some people are turning to alternative methods instead.”

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