Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Nov 17, 2009

Good morning. To start the day — a stimulus success, clunkers, turkeys, reversals, firsts and questions:

A stimulus success: Build America bonds (Time)

Observers say Build America Bonds have lowered borrowing costs for states and other local governments. The bonds have renewed and expanded investor interest in the muni-bond sector. And by getting money into the hands of cash-strapped local governments, the bond program has saved or even boosted jobs, stimulating the economy.

This year’s Turkeys – or should I say Clunkers? (Allan Sloan/Fortune) As heard on Marketplace Morning Report yesterday:

What’s more, by junking clunkers, the program removed many low-end vehicles from the used-car market, running up prices for the lower-income people who’d normally buy them. So we hurt the people most in need of help, while throwing taxpayer dollars down the drain. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The next crash is coming in 2012 (Marketwatch)

Today the market is still below that 2000 peak. Factor in inflation and Wall Street’s “too-greedy-too-fail” banks have lost about 30% of your retirement nest eggs in this decade. Incompetent? Clueless? No, Wall Street is a bunch of crooks without consciences.

Dodd and Frank want to create a permanent TARP (Wall Street Journal)

The Dodd bill is a blunter instrument, proposing to regulate all companies that include financial activities “in whole or in part.” But almost all companies–retailers, manufacturers and service organizations–engage in some financial activities, if only to promote the sale of their products and services. If the administration’s health-care proposal has the potential to nationalize one-sixth of the economy, Messrs. Frank and Dodd are bidding to cover the rest.

Mexican families send money NORTH (New York Times) Wow. Now, that’s a sign of the times:

During the best of the times, Miguel Salcedo’s son, an illegal immigrant in San Diego, would be sending home hundreds of dollars a month to support his struggling family in Mexico. But at times like these, with the American economy out of whack and his son out of work, Mr. Salcedo finds himself doing what he never imagined he would have to do: wiring pesos north.

Environment or the economy — Obama’s balancing act (NPR)

Patchwork Nation: How the recession looks in one town (Christian Science Monitor) Eagle, Colorado this time.

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