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Obama Has Popular Support for Tax Package

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Violence Erupts in Greece during Austerity Protest (New York Times) "Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of the capital on Wednesday for a protest against a fresh wave of austerity measures which was marred by violence as a general strike brought international travel and public services to a standstill. The walkout — Greece’s seventh general strike this year — grounded flights, kept ferries in ports, halted train services and shut down government offices and schools while leaving hospitals to operate on emergency staffing and causing a news blackout as journalists joined the action. Public transport was operating for most of the day to enable Athenians to attend demonstrations in the city center."

CNBC's Diana Olick on Negative Equity (CNBC) "There was a lot of talk last week about how negative equity, now at 22.5 percent of all homes with mortgages, according to CoreLogic, will affect the housing recovery. Then mortgage rates popped up to 5 percent overnight, thanks to the 10-year Treasury, and more folks voiced concern over today's potential home buyer and his or her ability to take advantage of this low-priced housing market. Owing more on your mortgage than your home is currently worth doesn't necessarily mean you can't afford your monthly mortgage payment or that you're going to go about your day any differently, other than feeling a little financially depressed. While it may make some more likely to walk away or 'strategically default,' most won't."

"Former Lehman HR Chief Sues Failed Bank for $500,000" [Yes, Really.] (Wall Street Journal) Lehman's former human resources head is suing her bankrupt former employer for a cool half million dollars. Wendy M. Uvino claims she was 'forced to resign', as well as denied a promised bonus. She also claims to have suffered 'emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment and anguish'. (One might observe: Who didn't?) Lehman claims "that the complaint is completely without merit and will vigorously defend the matter.”

Obama Has Popular Support for Tax Package (Wall Street Journal) "The tax compromise that passed the Senate this afternoon maintains solid support across the ideological spectrum, despite strenuous attacks from liberal activists and some conservative leaders, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. The poll found that 59% approve of the agreement, against 36% that disapprove, and those numbers are relatively consistent across party lines. The poll of 1,000 adults conducted between Dec. 9 and 13 has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error. Among Democrats, 54% approve of the deal, while 68% of Republicans and 60% of independents do. Fifty-seven percent of self-described liberals like the compromise; 60% of conservatives do."

"Obama administration sues BP, others over Gulf spill" (Yahoo Finance via Reuters) "The Obama administration on Wednesday, sued BP Plc and four other companies in connection with the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, charging violations of environmental laws in the opening salvo in what will likely be a lengthy legal battle. The lawsuit seeks damages from BP, Transocean Ltd, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Mitsui & Co Ltd unit MOEX and Transocean's insurer QBE Underwriting/Lloyd's Syndicate 1036, part of Lloyds of London, for their roles in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill."

Handicapping the Payout on a Broadway Show (Felix Salmon) "Catherine Rampell has an interesting post today on the economics of Spider-Man, the most expensive musical that Broadway has ever seen. Even assuming it’s a massive hit, she says, it’ll make its producers no more than $313,489.80 a week—which means it will be 'about 4 years before the show even begins to make up its initial investment.'" According to Salmon: "this calculation misses the elephant in the room." Interesting.