Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Mar 30, 2010

Good morning. Among the items I’ve seen so far — why the government can’t see the future, the problem with low interest rates and money literally falling out of the back of an armored truck…

Chris Dodd’s cloudy crystal ball (Forbes)

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., wants to legislate clairvoyance, requiring financial regulators to see the future perfectly and prevent it before it happens. His financial reform bill, which he released last week, shows that Washington hasn’t learned the lesson of the financial meltdown: humility…

The way to protect against an unknowable future is through rules that don’t require “unachievable specificity in regulatory fine-tuning,” in Greenspan’s phrase. That means applying consistent, predictable rules to finance, protecting the economy from financial-industry disaster no matter what happens.

Low interest rates are killing savers (Allan Sloan/Washington Post)

Interest rates are so low, the recent rate uptick on longer-term Treasury securities notwithstanding, that it takes a surprisingly large amount of money to generate even a modest amount of lifetime income.

The ballad of GM (The Baseline Scenario) A take-off from This American Life’s episode on the Nummi auto plant in California…

But more valuable than the simple history are some of the basic business lessons to be learned from the story, which were very familiar from my years in the business world: Put quality before volume. Everyone has to care about quality. People need to feel ownership over their work. People want to see other people using their products and services… If people are doing work they are proud of, they will care about it more and will be happier. And, as the head of Toyota recently said before Congress, you shouldn’t grow faster than the natural capacity of your organization.

CNN’s ratings continue to plummet (New York Times)

$100,000 falls out of armored car; passers-by collect most of it (Columbus Dispatch)

“We’re hoping that more people do the right thing,” Snider said. There is the possibility that those who don’t return the money will be prosecuted. The police department does have video and photographs.

“There’s still a lot of money out there,” Kelso said. “People need to come in and turn the money in. If they don’t and we ID them, they will be facing charges.”

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