Tuesday morning headlines

Stocks keep bouncing around: The Dow opened lower and is now up about 50 points.

Jobs bill DOA?: President Obama proposes that the $447 billion stimulus plan be paid for by limiting tax breaks for rich people and corporations - and Republicans don't want any part of that. From the WSJ:

Republicans in Congress, who had been striking a more conciliatory tone about backing at least parts of the proposal the president unveiled last Thursday, disputed the White House contention that the plan would cause no additional job losses for the struggling economy. "It would be fair to say this tax increase on job creators is the kind of proposal both parties have opposed in the past,'' said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio).

Poverty rate edges higher: It ran 15.1 percent last year, the highest level since 1993. But the real stunner: real median household income was lower last year than in 1997. (CNNMoney)

Why is gas more expensive?: It's because refineries are increasingly sending product overseas. L.A.-area gas prices do seem to have stabilized, with an average gallon at $3.975, essentially unchanged from last week, according to the government survey. From the LAT:

"For the 10th week in a row, Energy Department numbers show that the country exported considerably more refined products cargoes than were imported," [said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service]. Much of the refined product involved in the exports is diesel, Kloza said, meaning that refineries are devoting more of their production to that fuel at the expense of gasoline. The customers are mostly in Central America and South America.

Mercury Insurance CEO bankrolls initiative: George Joseph is again backing a ballot measure that would give discounts to some motorists and likely raise rates for others. He's contributed $8.1 million to the campaign. (LAT)

"Bernie Madoff" of campaign treasurers?: That's how one congresswoman described Kinde Durkee, the Burbank accountant who has been accused of stealing what could turn out to be millions of dollars from state and congressional candidates. She was arrested earlier this month. From Politico:

"I was wiped out too, we don't know how much," said [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein, indicating the losses in campaign funds could run into hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. Feinstein, who is up for reelection next year, reported just over $5 million in the bank as of June 30, according to disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. "She did my '92 campaign, my '94 campaign, my 2000 [campaign], my 2006 [campaign] ... my gubernatorial campaign," Feinstein told POLITICO on Monday, describing her long relationship with Durkee. "I trusted her implicitly."

Best Buy profits fall: Consumers slowed down their purchases of electronic gadgets in the June-August period, though the company says it's well-positioned for the holiday season. (AP)

Proposed sewer fee hikes: L.A. budget officials are calling for a five-year package that would total nearly 40 percent. Proponents say the city needs to replace aging pipes and prevent disastrous sewage spills, but Councilwoman Jan Perry says the increase is badly timed because of the economy. (LAT)

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
Bobcat crossing

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook