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The U.S. economy had a bit of a pickup during this year's third quarter, showing growth of 2 percent. Meanwhile, the housing market remains limp and high unemployment recalcitrantly hovers at 9.6 percent.

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More and more towns are putting lobbyists on the payroll to tap federal tax money through earmarks (those special appropriations that make their way into omnibus bills in Congress) According to the NYT, "since 1998, the number of public entities hiring private firms to represent them in Washington has nearly doubled to 1,421 from 763" Bridges, roads, walkways, pedestrian crosswalks cities and towns are finding that a little bit of lobbying can go a long way .

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