Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Dec 24, 2009

Good morning. The Senate has passed its version of the health care bill, but the debate roars on…

President says he’s getting 95% of what he wanted (PBS NewsHour) An exclusive Jim Lehrer interview with President Obama:

Why the health care bill is the greatest social achievement of our time (The New Republic)

At some level, it is possible to understand the roots of liberal frustration. The machinery of Congress has ground away at the health care bill, as it does to almost any bill. But at a broader level, the liberal mood is insane. What has emerged from that machinery is not merely “better than nothing” or “a good start.” It is the most significant American legislative triumph in at least four decades. Why can so few people see that?

Kiss your health plan goodbye (Real Clear Markets):

As the Senate votes this morning on a revised health “reform” bill from the Democratic leadership, it’s worth recalling President Obama’s repeated promise that “if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.”

Would that it were true.

Banks bundled bad debt, bet against it and won (New York Times)

“The simultaneous selling of securities to customers and shorting them because they believed they were going to default is the most cynical use of credit information that I have ever seen,” said Sylvain R. Raynes, an expert in structured finance at R & R Consulting in New York. “When you buy protection against an event that you have a hand in causing, you are buying fire insurance on someone else’s house and then committing arson.”

Yeah, but it’s not really a scandal, just inevitable (Clusterstock)

Fannie and Freddie bosses received huge paydays (CNN Money) I know more than a few people who will find this infuriating:

The pay packages had received approval of both the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that oversees their operations while they operate under conservatorship, as well as the Treasury Department, according to the filings.

But the pay did not have to be approved by Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s pay czar, who has to sign off on pay for executives at firms that received the most help from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

I’m dreaming of a cashless Christmas (Daily Telegraph)

Board game sales soar (NPR)

Toy manufacturers and major retailers won’t disclose national sales figures, but industry insiders say board game sales increased by more than 20 percent last year. They’re expected to be even higher this year.

“One of the main reasons why board games are doing so well has to do with the economy,” says Jim Silver, editor of, a toy and video information Web site for consumers.

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