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A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Americans respond to high gasoline prices; cellphone and TV bills too taxing; Computer password advice: Don't use your name.

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Tens of billions of dollars' worth of new or expected corporate takeovers helped to propel the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 23-point, or 0.2 percent, gain last week.

If $4-a-gallon gasoline comes to your area this summer, will you drive less, cut down spending in other ways, or support a windfall profits tax on oil companies? In a poll of 1,013 adults by the Civil Society Institute, 46 percent of respondents said they'd probably limit travel, 51 percent would expect to rein in spending elsewhere, and 77 percent would support a new tax on oil industry profits ... if the resulting revenue was spent on research into alternative fuels.

You'd save about $126 a year if your cellphone and cable TV/Internet services weren't taxed at twice the rate as the national average on other retail sales, a new study has found. Researchers from the Heartland and Beacon Hill institutes say the typical household pays roughly $250 annually in taxes and fees for them. What's more, communications taxes tend to be regressive, meaning that less-affluent users pay up to 10 times more than their higher-earning brethren as a percentage of income.

Unless you want your personal computer to be an easy target for hackers, you should choose a password that's difficult for others to figure out. According to PC magazine, the easiest for hackers to guess are: password; 123456; qwerty; 123abc; letmein; monkey; myspace1; password1; blink182; and – perhaps not surprisingly – your own first name.

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