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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Nov 25, 2009

Good morning. Here’s what has caught my eye so far today:

A vote for health care is a vote against gun rights (NPR) A group sent letters to senators saying exactly that…

The Gun Owners of America challenges the idea of electronic health records. It says bad information from mental health records will infect the FBI’s instant check database — causing interference when people want to buy firearms.

Jobs saved? Baloney. (New York Post)

Last month, the Obama administration bragged that $160 billion in spending authorized by the $787 billion Recovery Act had “created or saved 640,329 direct jobs” as of Sept. 30. Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that 58,386 of these jobs were tied to projects that had not spent any money yet. Whoops.

Meanwhile, newspapers across the country have been digging up one example after another of erroneous job numbers, including premature reporting, double counting, stray zeros, raises counted as new jobs, jobs created in congressional districts that do not exist, phantom jobs attributed to housing assistance for low-income renters and minor purchases that, like the Army Corps’ boot order (9 pairs of boots), are implausibly credited with creating several jobs each.

Some small businesses are doing well (NPR) Business is always good at a brewery:

This summer, he expanded into a bigger space. Then he took advantage of a provision in the federal stimulus bill, which waived the closing costs of a Small Business Administration loan. All he had to do was promise to reinvest the money in his business. The $20,000 he saved happened to be the cost of a new fermenter.

Massive icebergs float toward New Zealand (CNN)

If the 2006 occurrence is any guide the icebergs could provide a mini boom for tourism in southern New Zealand…

Three years ago light aircraft companies provided viewing flights and helicopters businesses landed visitors on some of the larger icebergs. In a publicity stunt for a New Zealand wool company a prize sheep was shorn on one of the massive floating pieces of ice.

Speaking of sheep and melting…

Why Wall Street keeps going higher (Businessweek)

A melt up is a rapid and mass rush by investors into an asset class after a belated realization by market players that worthwhile gains are to be had there. Part herd mentality, part self-fulfilling prophecy, this trading behavior is amplified by the age-old tendency of fund managers and retail investors to chase returns in the hopes of making up for lost time and lagging performance.

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