How You Can Profit from a Stamp Price Hike, Plus 5 More Things You'll Want to Know Today

USA postage stamps

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.

• The U.S. Postal Service is asking the government for permission to raise the price of a first-class stamp from 46 cent to 49 cents. If the price hike is approved, that will give you a chance to make some instant cash with a short-term investment in "forever" stamps. Here's how. (And isn't it odd that Americans expect the Post Office to make a profit, but Congress gets to tell it that it's not allowed to make the changes that would allow it to break even?)

• On Wednesday, it looked like JPMorgan Chase (JPM) was going for a $3 billion deal with the government to settle all the outstanding mortgage-related probes against it. Today, the number is $11 billion. The sum could include $7 billion in penalties and $4 billion for consumers, say unidentified sources.

• Republicans in Congress are still squabbling over whether or not they'll pass a clean budget resolution, or let the government shut down in their rear-guard action against the Affordable Care Act. But the smart money is betting they'll blink at the last possible moment, rather than angering voters ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. Of course, we're in for a repeat over the debt ceiling in just a few weeks ...

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%• You can ignore the overwhelming science on global warming and climate change if you want to, but in business, there's one industry that can't afford to be anything but unbiased: the insurance industry. And they insurance researchers whose job it is to calculate the annual odds of catastrophic weather-related disasters say they're seeing something new -- and risky.

• Violent crime rose a bit in 2012, but as our friends at Business Insider remind us, America is still much safer than it used to be, according to the FBI's uniform crime report. The gang at BI has constructed 9 maps that show how Americans commit crime.

• The world's biggest cargo shipping line, Maersk (AMKBY), recently was in the news for having ordered 20 of the world's largest container ships -- massive vessels called Triple-E's that cost around $185 million each. Now, it turns out, they don't really need them.

Originally published