Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Jul 16, 2009

A Florida real estate agent/blogger declares victory over Goldman Sachs. The bank has decided not to go after Mike Morgan because of his website, GoldmanSachs666. I’m pretty sure Goldman enjoys being despised. More:

GS says it won’t sue Morgan as long as he keeps his disclaimer on the site:

This website has NOT been approved by Goldman Sachs. This website was designed to provide information about Goldman Sachs to demonstrate how destructive this company is to our lives and the hopes and dreams of our children.

Really interesting column at The American that suggests Obama’s econ team, Summers and Geithner, are just applying lessons they learned from responding to crises in the 90’s (Mexico, Southeast Asia):

The policy response–ad hoc at first but increasingly involving the resources of the international financial institutions (including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank)–boiled down to lending in extremis to rebuild market confidence…

The list of similarities lengthens each week as we live through the application of lessons learned by current officials when they were young. The risk to our nation is that they may have drawn the wrong lessons.

At the New Republic, Simon Johnson worries about the ramifications of bailing out the lender, CIT:

Essentially, by trying to refloat an undercapitalized banking system, Treasury has created pervasive financial vulnerabilities to CIT-sized shocks. These are now the basis for more bailouts and even great fiscal costs.

If CIT is determined to be “too big to fail” in today’s context, this has far reaching implications. Instead of financial entities with assets of at least $500bn creating systemic risk, we now have to worry about anyone who has not much more than $50bn. This is a profound change–and a point that seems to have escaped the Financial Services Roundtable, which is pushing hard for a CIT rescue.

The reason you keep getting spam? It works. Ars Technica points out that about half the people in a recent survey said they’ve clicked on spam emails. Of those people:

Seventeen percent said that they made a mistake when they did so–understandable–but another 13 percent said they simply had no idea why they did it; they just did. Another six percent “wanted to see what would happen.”

12% said they were interested in the product being offered.

NPR’s Morning Edition looked at the issue of illegal immigrants in California, in light of the budget fiasco here. As they did in the 1990’s, some people are calling for a ballot measure to take away benefits from undocumented immigrants. ME talked to an immigrant named Justo:

The government is always accusing immigrants of draining money, he says, adding “they look to us as scapegoats.” There’s not much work these days for men like him. He scrapes by on a part-time job as a security guard downtown. Justo says he got hired using a phony Social Security card number.

“I pay taxes,” Justo says. “I pay FICA, federal and Social Security.”

Like nearly 60 percent of all undocumented immigrants in the country, Justo doesn’t have health insurance, so he relies on the county hospital emergency room. His young children were born in California and are U.S. citizens. They go to public school in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich says such situations are, unfortunately, all too typical.

“It is catastrophic,” Antonovich says. “We cannot be the HMO to the world.”

Speaking of health care, the PBS NewsHour has a good analysis of how reform might be paid for:

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