Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Mar 16, 2010

Good morning. Where were regulators while Lehman was doing its accounting tricks? They were staring right at it. Plus, economists debate the impact of temporary hiring:

Regulators were watching Lehman the whole time (New York Times)

And where was the government while all this “materially misleading” accounting was going on? In the vernacular of teenage instant messaging, let’s just say they had a vantage point as good as POS (parent over shoulder).

The new mystery is why it took this long for anyone to raise a red flag. “Even though Lehman dressed up its accounts for the great unwashed public, it did not try to fool the authorities,” Yves Smith, the author of “ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism,” wrote on her blog last week. “Its game-playing was in full view.”

Economists debate the impact of temporary hiring (NPR)

“If consumption continues to grow, you need more employees,” Wesbury says. “And I think that’s where we are. Consumption is growing and therefore we’re going to need more employees in the months ahead.”

But other economists have dissenting opinions.

“The general forecast is for a lot of pain in the future,” says Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Readers don’t want to pay for news online (AP)

Getting people to pay for news online at this point would be “like trying to force butterflies back into their cocoons,” a new consumer survey suggests.

That was one of several bleak headlines in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual assessment of the state of the news industry…

Obama and FCC betting on broadband as stimulus (PBS NewsHour)

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