Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Oct 27, 2009

Good morning. Does Congress need a bonus system? Plus, why we don’t hate Wal-Mart anymore, among other items:

Dodd seeks to freeze credit card rates (WSJ):

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, introduced a measure that would freeze rates on existing card balances until February, when tough new rules for the industry are slated to go into effect.

Mr. Dodd said he was making the move because companies are using the delayed implementation of the new standards, passed by Congress in May, to push through aggressive rate and fee increases. “No sooner had it been signed into law, but credit card companies were looking for ways to get around the protections,” Mr. Dodd said in a written statement.

Maybe Congress needs bonuses? (Washington Times):

Could it be that one reason Congress has performed so poorly is because, for 100 years, its members’ compensation has been totally unrelated to their performance?

I do not claim to know what the “right” pay is for members of Congress, but I do know their present compensation system makes no sense. Without getting into the complexities of how they have decided to reward themselves, it essentially comes down to a system in which they compensate themselves for any loss of income caused by inflation and devise numerous nontaxable and hidden perks for themselves.

Why we don’t hate Wal-Mart anymore (Fortune)

Why everyone’s depressed about the economy (New York Post)

What happens when a currency collapses (Bloomberg) McDonald’s up and leaves:

McDonald’s in Iceland, which imports most of the ingredients it uses in its meals, will shut after costs doubled over the past year, Lyst said in an e-mailed statement today. The franchise holder said it doesn’t expect the situation to change in the short term.

“We would have to raise our prices by 20 percent to get the margin needed on our products,” Magnus Ogmundsson, Lyst chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. “That would have sent a Big Mac to 780 kronur” ($6.36), compared with the 650 kronur it costs today, he said.

Reid to include public option in Senate Bill (PBS NewsHour):

After days of negotiations, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Monday that he will include a government-run public health insurance option in the health care reform legislation he plans to bring to the Senate floor.

This version of the public option will have an “opt out” provision for states that do not want to be a part of the new public insurance system. States would have until 2014 to opt out, Reid said.

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