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Kai Ryssdal: Yes it’s a new year, but we start today’s letters back in good ol’ 2009. A couple of weeks ago we told you about an unexpected decline in new home sales. It was especially baffling because a report just a day earlier about used homes had been pretty good.
Analysts and economists alike were left scratching their heads. Not so Kristi Johnson who, she points out, lives in a 1923 Spanish Revival home in Minneapolis, Minn.
KRISTI JOHNSON: New versus used is a ploy by the construction industry to denigrate everything that came before this very moment. What would this planet look like if we all were convinced to have brand new construction?
Well, about that brand new construction. In that same show we reported that some money from the economic stimulus package — specifically the part that is designated for green technology — might eventually go to foreign companies. They’ve teamed up with American firms to get green projects off the ground.
David Kersting, from Norwalk, Conn., says that’s mostly OK with him.
DAVID KERSTING: The government should tax U.S. companies the difference in savings that the corporations are receiving when they outsource. That way the only benefit for a company to outsource would be if they’re having trouble finding a particular skill-set, not to save a buck by putting another American worker in the unemployment line.
Our New Year’s Eve broadcast brought us something new. The big stories of the decade in one rhyming Marketplace Minute, courtesy of our morning host Bill Radke.
That inspired John Donovan from Alpharetta, Ga., to respond in kind.
JOHN DONOVAN: Now that I know what went wrong in the “oughts,” my folio will reflect I’ve been well Radke-taught. I’m headed for riches, a Beemer — I’m legit! And, gee, all it took was a Marketplace Minute.
Finally this week, a story we did just before Christmas at Union Station — a homeless shelter right outside of Los Angeles. About how families are becoming the new face of homelessness. Better put, that would be families without teenage boys. One of the shelter’s clients had explained to us the difficulties she had in finding space in a shelter because of her 15-year-old son.
That prompted Eric Hurley of Des Moines, Iowa, to write and wonder whether it was gender discrimination or whether all 15-year-olds are excluded?
Well, we asked, Eric. The perception is, real or not, that boys over the age of 10 can cause trouble. But there are some family shelters that cater to single fathers who have kids.
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