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The Biz Roundup January 26

75,000. In one day. And Republicans in Congress stand (absolutely motionless) on principle.

Home Depot, Caterpillar, Sprint Nextel and at least eight other companies announced on Monday they would cut more than 75,000 jobs in the United States and around the world — a gloomy start to the workweek for employees anxious about holding their own as the economy sinks. Caterpillar, the maker of heavy equipment, is slashing its payrolls by 16 percent. Texas Instruments said late in the day that it would eliminate 3,400 jobs, or 12 percent of its work force.

(“Layoffs Spread to More Sectors of the Economy,” New York Times, January 26) 75,000. That’s not just a number. Those are real people with families, hopes, dreams, and responsibilities. Message to Congress (particularly obstructionist Republicans): now is the moment, a moment that rarely comes in history, that your country has called you to step up and serve. Will you sit or step up? Sometimes history demands you do.

At least someone is stepping up to the plate — his name is Geithner and he’s got Paulson’s old job.

Geithner’s first act at Treasury, which is set to be announced today, takes aim at limiting the influence of lobbyists seeking rescue funds from the department’s $700 billion financial rescue program, government officials said. . . .

The proposals on the table include setting up a government bank to purchase troubled assets from financial firms — likely with the help of the Federal Reserve — and offering federal insurance on losses from these assets. Treasury officials will likely try a combination of these proposals so the response can be tailored to the needs of different firms and types of assets, sources said.

Administration officials are also trying to offer federal assistance to financial firms without nationalizing them outright, according to a source who has been in contact with senior Treasury officials. The problem is the price of banks shares is so low now that a major investment of taxpayer money would leave the government with a majority ownership stake.

(“Taking Office at Treasury, Geithner Vows Swift Action,” Washington Post, January 27) The man is starting his first day of work with 75,000 people out of a job. That’s 75,000 pink slips officially in his inbox, with thousands more on the way.

The top three ways companies are reducing costs* (*layoffs are number three) (“Nearly Half of Employers Avoid Layoffs,” Challeger, Gray and Christmas Press Release, January 26)

Iceland goes out of business and the top execs get pink slips — now there’s a few job losses none of us will be mourning. (“Credit crunch claims Iceland government after ‘Household Revolution’,” The Times of London, January 26)

It’s 12 PM. Do you know where your resume is right now? Monster doesn’t. (“Hackers steal details of 4.5 million in attack on Monster jobs site,” The Times of London, January 26)

Good news for homeowners. The bottom may be in sight. Then, again, with 75,000 people laid off today, maybe not. (“Price Cuts Spur Home Sales,” Wall Street Journal, January 26)

If you can’t sell your house, it could be worse. You could be trying to sell a $10 million dollar house. (“O.C. luxury-home sellers face 9-year supply,” Orange County Register, January 26)

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