Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Feb 2, 2010

Good morning. A few items to start the day: The government’s role in propping up the home prices, how Toyota and the government dropped the ball, the president on YouTube, and what’s a degree really worth?

If banks can’t borrow, they won’t be able to fail (Times of London)

Deadly, but highly operable, cancer calls for surgery. That’s the safe option. Applying sticking plasters and praying for remission: that’s truly dangerous. The financial tumour is clear. It’s the web of financial, regulatory and political malfeasance that caused the financial meltdown. Hucksters systematically sold trillions of dollars of fraudulent securities to unsuspecting people across the globe.

And it was all done under the noses of regulators, each vying for the title of Inspector Clouseau.

Propping up home prices is now an explicit goal of the US government (FT Alphaville) As we’ve discussed on the Scratch Pad:

So explicit in fact, that the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program has knocked up (a) little chart to show how various policy programmes (Hamp, MHA, etc.) lead to higher houseprices.

The most bloated budget proposal ever (NY Post)

It’s a good thing President Obama and the Democratic Congress just agreed to raise the federal debt limit by nearly $2 trillion — they’re going to need every penny of it. And fast.

Toyota and the government dropped the ball (NPR)

“I think both Toyota and NHTSA should have been more diligent in looking at the complaints on their data base,” Champion says. It’s just shame that it took what happened in San Diego to draw attention to a problem like this.”

What’s a degree really worth? (Wall Street Journal)

Most researchers agree that college graduates, even in rough economies, generally fare better than individuals with only high-school diplomas. But just how much better is where the math gets fuzzy.

“Lost” could live on for decades (Marketplace Morning Report)

RYAN OZAWA: It’s going to be one great package. An epic, basically, that we can study like the Iliad for the rest of our lives.

For fans who don’t like to study, there’s also talk of turning Lost into an amusement park ride.

Obama on YouTube — The New Fireside Chat? (PBS NewsHour)


We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.