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Marketplace for Wednesday, October 24, 2007
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North Dakota has one U.S. senator for every 318,000 residents. California has one for every 18 million people. Commentator Jonathan Chait says that disparity is just one reason why farm policy doesn't really change.
Merrill Lynch wrote down almost $8 billion dollars in loans and other credit-related investments today -- its first quarterly loss in almost six years and almost $3 billion more than it predicted a couple of weeks ago. Amy Scott reports.
The latest official estimate on losses to the Southern California wildfires stands at $1 billion. And that's just in property damage. Still, the odd result in the long run may be an economic shot-in-the-arm. Bob Moon reports.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the tab for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could run as high as $2.4 trillion. And an analyst says that might be conservative. Steve Henn reports.
Microsoft has announced it's going to buy 1.5% of the social networking site Facebook for $240 million -- beating out Google for the prize. Kai Ryssdal did some networking with venture capitalist Todd Dagres, asking him to size up the deal.
It's almost impossible to find staples like bread or rice in Zimbabwe. With inflation officially at 6,000%, supermarkets have stopped stocking shelves. And that's forcing people to travel hundreds of miles and across the border to buy groceries. Gretchen Wilson reports.
The five-year renewal of the farm bill is before a Senate committee, loaded with almost $300 billion in subsidies and programs. And once again it's stirring debate over the government's role in putting food on the table. John Dimsdale reports.