Quick: What’s a “derivative”? The difference between a “custodial account” and a “trust”? “Listed” versus “unlisted” markets? “Debentures”? How about “price earning ratios”? “Assets” per se, versus “net asset value”? “Capitalism” versus “capitalization”? Stumped? Well, don’t feel badly. Most of your friends and neighbors are stumped, too, unless they majored in economics and are pursuing finance as a career.

Newspapers are dying. That is the message from the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent firm that checks the average circulation of various print periodicals.  The average drop of newspaper circulation nationally was 8.7 percent. This was somewhat smaller than the last quarterly audit, which showed an average circulation drop of 10.6 percent, but the circulation figures were bad enough.

Joe BidenVice President Joe Biden predicted job growth of 250,000 to 500,000 jobs a month in the next two months, according to CNBC on Monday. Biden was speaking at a political fundraiser in Pittsburgh, where he said, “We caught a lot of bad breaks on the way down. We’re going to catch a few good breaks because of good planning on the way up.... All in all, we’re going to be creating somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs next month.”  Even though some have cautioned Biden about his excessive and premature enthusiasm, Biden continued:  “I’m here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”

GeithnerThe International Monetary Fund proposed a draft of two global taxes — a bank tax, and a “FAT” tax against what politicians deem to be excessive salaries or bonuses in the financial sector — at the Washington G-20 meeting last weekend. The final version of the proposal to create what the IMF calls a “stable global financial system” will be discussed by G-20 nations at the Toronto summit in June.

"Congress is to be applauded for tackling financial regulatory reform," wrote U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donahue in an op-ed piece published yesterday by the D.C. political journal, The Hill. But for most of the piece, Donahue appeared to be applauding with one hand, using the other to point to what the Chamber regards as a severe overreach in the regulatory bill now before the Senate.