Here’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.
• If you’re flying anywhere this holiday week, as you squeeze onto your overbooked airplane, you might wonder: Why can’t airlines just add more flights when they know there’s going to be a surge in passengers? Turns out that obvious solution gets stymied for a number of reasons. Our friends at NBC News explain.
• Six months after the IRS came under fire over the question of whether it had improperly scrutinized the tax-exempt status of politically active “social welfare” groups, the Treasury Department is wading back into the fray with a proposed new set of regulations that would restrict the ability of those groups to conduct a range of political activities. The current method for determining whether a group is too political to qualify as a tax-exempt nonprofit was too subjective: The new rules would set more objective criteria.
• What holiday gift do you buy for the guy who has everything? How about one of the last 11 copies of the first book printed in America. Price: $14.2 million. A copy of the Bay Psalm Book — the first book printed in America, back in 1640 — sold Tuesday at Sotheby’s (BID), and set a new auction record price for a printed book. But in the spirit of Black Friday week sales, that was actually a bargain: It had been expected to sell for up to $30 million.
• Americans will be mailing a lot of holiday cards and gifts in the next few weeks, most of which will find their way to their intended recipients with no trouble at all — sent on their way with the help of automated sorting machines. But those senders who have particularly bad handwriting will be happy to know that their mail will probably arrive too, and their sloppy penmanship makes them job creators to boot.
• And finally, the value of a bitcoin has reached a new record high. The untraceable virtual currency traded briefly Wednesday at $977. Don’t you wish you’d bought some a couple of years ago, when the price was in the single digits?