Feature

The Bottom Line

AIG’s Wildfire Protection Unit, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sales of existing homes and condos, and Discretionary government spending.

AIG’s Wildfire Protection Unit, a private fire department that serves some of Southern California’s wealthiest neighborhoods, sprayed fire retardant on more than 160 houses over the past several days, claiming to have saved a dozen homes from raging wildfires. Customers pay the company $10,000 a year. Los Angeles Times

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly sold his memoir for a $9 million advance to two Random House imprints. That’s apparently the second-highest book advance ever; former President Clinton’s advance topped $10 million. The New York Times

Sales of existing homes and condos fell in September to their lowest level in eight years. The 8 percent drop, to an annualized rate of 5.04 million, is the largest decline since 1999. Marketwatch.com n Americans spend, on average, about $65 per person to celebrate Halloween, with $23 going toward costumes, $20 for candy, $18 for decorations, and $4 for greeting cards. USA Today

Discretionary government spending—which excludes Social Security, Medicaid, and other mandatory entitlement programs—has grown 5.3 percent per year during the Bush administration, the libertarian Cato Institute reported. That makes Bush the biggest spending president since Lyndon Johnson. Baltimore Sun

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