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Apple Inc. (AAPL), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) and Eight Fascinating Reads

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published yesterday.

Happy Friday! There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating ones I read this week.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

New American dream
Home ownership may be losing its luster, writes The New York Times:

Fifty-seven percent of adults believe that “buying has become less appealing,” and 54 percent believe that “renting has become more appealing” than it was before.

And nearly half of current homeowners (45 percent) say they can see themselves renting at some point in the future.

I’m sure he won’t amount to much
Steve Jobs’ first boss writes about how unique the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) co-founder was, and what his passing means for the company:

“The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today,” Bushnell writes in his book. “Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he’d just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.”

Bushnell says he is worried that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is starting to lose the magic touch that Jobs brought to the company. It’s a concern shared by many investors, who have been bailing out of Apple’s stock amid tougher competition for the iPhone and the iPad and the lack of a new product line since Tim Cook became the company’s CEO shortly before Jobs’ death.

Supply and demand
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) averaged 338 employees per store before the recession. Today, it’s down to 281 per store. The results, according to The New York Times, are predictable:

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and grocer, has cut so many employees that it no longer has enough workers to stock its shelves properly, according to some employees and industry analysts. Internal notes from a March meeting of top Walmart managers show the company grappling with low customer confidence in its produce and poor quality. “Lose Trust,” reads one note, “Don’t have items they are looking for — can’t find it.”

Bloomberg has a similar story here.

Consequences and actions
ThinkProgress writes on the economic case for gun liability insurance. Here’s University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers:

Another even more powerful approach is to recognize that the problem isn’t guns per se, but gun violence. Thus, instead of taxing guns, we should tax gun violence. Basically, this is the same as saying that we should make gun owners liable for any damage their guns do. Not only would this discourage some people from buying guns, it would lead those who do keep guns to be more careful with how they’re stored. Indeed, greater care would surely have kept Adam Lanza out of his mother’s cache. The problem, though, is that Nancy Lanza is neither with us to pay the damages her gun caused, nor could she afford to pay for the enormous damage her gun wrought in Newtown. And so the only way this solution works is if guns required mandatory liability insurance, much as we force car owners to buy insurance for the damage their machines wreak.

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