Business Breakfast: Carte Goodwin, Hero to the Unemployed

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Minutes after the Democrats swear in Carte Goodwin to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd, they're gong to vote through another extension for unemployment benefits. It's been a long and winding road for Congress and jobless benefits, but it could be worse. They could be handling GM's IPO, which experts say could be one of the most complicated in recent memory. Also, the Internet is getting expensive to "plumb", Americans and Big Government are like an old married couple, and we've got great news on the HIV-front. : Senate Democrats are poised to break a partisan stalemate on Tuesday over extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who have been jobless for six months or more, but the fight seems certain to continue playing out as a defining issue in the midterm elections. [NYT]

The Internet Is Expensive: Many companies are stocking up on new servers, which typically cost a few thousand dollars apiece, to replace older machines with more energy efficient models or systems with more powerful processors. Also, an increasing number of businesses are turning to outsourcing companies, which manage computer rooms for customers and in many cases are sharply stepping up purchases of servers to keep up with rising demand.[WSJ]

GM's Public Offering Will Be One of the Most Complicated in Recent Memory: True, the still-enormous carmaker has shed billions in liabilities and legacy costs in its "quick-rinse" 39-day bankruptcy. After a federal rescue, GM is again profitable, and its vehicles are selling briskly in the U.S. and China. Yes, the Treasury Dept., which extended close to $50 billion of aid to the behemoth last year, is a motivated seller, eager to prove the bailout a success in an election year in which many voters say bailouts wasted their money. "The initial public offering will be a significant step in carrying out Treasury's previously announced intention of disposing of TARP investments as soon as practicable," states a Treasury memo on the deal, not yet scheduled but widely expected before the November elections. [BusinessWeek]

America's Complicated, Love-Hate Relationship With Big Government: Look around the world and we don't seem as exceptional as we think. Chileans are willing to save for their own retirement. Most Europeans are reconciled to the idea that not everybody, at any age and in any condition, is entitled to the most expensive medical technology. A secretary of state or defense traveling with dozens of cars and armed security men would seem absurd in many countries, as would the notion that the government gives you a tax break if you buy a house, or that schools should close if there is ice on the roads. Yet we not only demand ludicrous levels of personal and political safety, we reserve the right to rant and rave against the vast bureaucracies we have created--democratically, constitutionally, openly--to deliver it. [Slate]

New Gel Dramatically Cuts Risk of HIV Infection: In a potential breakthrough that opens a new way to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, researchers found that a gel applied by women before and after sex cut the chance of acquiring the AIDS virus by 39% and the genital herpes virus by 51%.[WSJ]


Unemployed Insurance Extension is Hours Away

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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