Business

Planet Money
9:26 am
Mon July 30, 2012

The Economic Dog Days Begin

The Fed doesn't literally print money, but it can create more if it wants to try to spur the economy.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:36 pm

August is supposedly a quiet month on Wall Street, in Washington, D.C., and for business and finance generally. Except sometimes it isn't — and it's always the run-up to September, which can be pretty eventful in itself (think 2008 and the collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Bros.).

So this week is shaping up to bring August in like a lion, with several potentially significant economic developments already on the calendar.

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Economy
8:24 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Idaho Counties' Economic Fate Tied To Industry

Forget about the difference in economies among the states. In Idaho, there are drastic differences from county to county. Agriculture is booming, while the timber industry is hurting — and the counties that depend on those industries show it. Molly Messick of StateImpact Idaho explains.

World
8:24 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Geithner Meets With European Financial Officials

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is meeting Monday with his German counterpart; he's also set to talk with the head of the European Central Bank. The U.S. has been stepping up pressure on Europe to fix its debt crisis.

Book Reviews
4:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

A Portrait Of A Country Awash In 'Red Ink'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:15 pm

As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.

But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.

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Economy
7:38 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Business In A Slump: Scraping By Three Years Later

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 11:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Economy
4:32 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

U.S. Economy Continued To Slow In Second Quarter

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The government said today that the U.S. economy continued to slow during the second quarter of the year. The overall U.S. growth rate fell to just 1.5 percent, as consumers cut back on purchases and spending by businesses, which has been a source of economic strength, also fell. NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more.

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U.S.
4:24 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Gay Flap A 'Wakeup Call' For Companies

Protesters from the Human Rights Campaign chant against Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's anti-gay marriage stance in front of a Chick-fil-A food truck in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:07 pm

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has long stood by its Bible-based roots, keeping stores closed on Sundays and donating millions to Christian causes. But when its president, Dan Cathy, went public to defend his company's stance against gay marriage, he set off a considerable controversy that has everyone from politicians to puppets weighing in.

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Planet Money
4:03 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Losing With LIBOR: One Trader's Story

London-based Barclays Bank agreed to pay a $453 million fine over charges it manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate — LIBOR — a key global interest rate.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:02 pm

We've been talking a lot lately about what's been dubbed the "LIBOR rate fixing scandal," where some of the biggest banks in the world have been accused of manipulating a key global interest rate.

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Economy
3:57 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Will A Slowing GDP Nudge The Fed To Do More?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appears before the House Financial Services Committee July 18. Economists expect Fed policymakers to consider further steps to boost growth when they meet next week.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The Commerce Department's latest report confirms that economic growth was as lousy this spring as you suspected it was.

Now the question is: Can anyone do anything to make it better in the year's second half?

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Planet Money
12:13 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

The U.S. GDP, Sliced And Diced In Two Graphics

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 6:31 pm

No surprise: The economy grew only sluggishly in April, May and June. The U.S. Commerce Department says gross domestic product — the sum of all goods and services produced in the country — grew by just 1.5 percent in the second quarter.

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Around the Nation
7:44 am
Fri July 27, 2012

L.A. Council Bans Pot Shops After Regulation Struggle

Pedestrians walk past a medical marijuana dispensary in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles Tuesday. The City Council voted that day to ban marijuana shops outright.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 11:44 am

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to shut down all of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. That's no easy task. There are more than 800 of them — more than the number of Starbucks coffee shops in Los Angeles. But after years of struggling to regulate pot shops, city officials have decided to prohibit them altogether.

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Did Economy Slow Further In Second Quarter? We Find Out Today

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:01 am

The economy grew at a sluggish 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning, down from a 2 percent pace in the first quarter.

This is the bureau's first estimate of GDP growth in the spring months. It will revise the figure twice in coming months. It's now 8:33 a.m. ET. We'll have more about the report shortly.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. The White House Points To String Of Positive Quarters:

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Planet Money
6:16 am
Fri July 27, 2012

How To Set Up An Offshore Company

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:51 pm

Setting up an offshore company in a tax haven is surprisingly easy. A simple Google search offers up thousands of companies willing to help you do it.

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U.S.
4:46 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Bypassing College Dreams, A Different Road To Work

Kelly Thompson, a mentor at Siemens, gives apprentices an orientation of the factory. The program provides on-the-job training in manufacturing.
Courtesy of Siemens Energy Inc.

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 5:10 pm

Rebeca Espinal admits with a shy smile that she's a straight-A math student. She's a high school graduate who dreamed of going to college.

Instead, Espinal, 17, is working in a Charlotte, N.C., factory that makes gas turbines and generators. She is an apprentice with the German company Siemens.

"I was planning on getting a degree in international relations, but with financial aid and how difficult it is to pay for college and everything," she says. "So when Siemens came along and gave me the offer, it was too good of an opportunity to just let it go.

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Planet Money
1:12 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

The Disagreement Behind Our Economic Platform

Center for Economic and Policy Research

In putting together our dream economic platform, we did have to wade through a lot of disagreement among our panel of economists to get to the six points of major agreement.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Jobless Claims Drop, Previous Week's Increase Erased

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 8:55 am

The number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 35,000 last week, to 353,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That brings the level about back to where it was three weeks ago and down near a four-year low — but also keeps claims in the range where they've been trending for about the last year.

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Economy
7:34 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Drought Threatens Small Town's Big Boat Race

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The drought is threatening a major event important to one small lake town. For more than 25 years, DePue, Illinois has hosted the American Powerboat Association's national championships. This year, officials discovered the water level in the lake was too low. And so, they embarked on an unusual effort to bring in more water.

Mike Moen of member station WNIJ reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF A MOTORBOAT)

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Business
4:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

For Temp Workers, 'Temp' Looking More Permanent

Job applicants outside the Staffmark temp agency in Cypress, Calif., in 2005. Temp hiring is usually a harbinger of an improving job market, but some analysts say more employers may be considering temps as a more permanent staffing solution.
Ric Francis AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 6:11 pm

While the job market remains sluggish, temporary work is one area that's done very well in the economic recovery. Companies are keeping their temps longer and are even using them to fill professional and high-ranking positions.

The average daily number of temporary workers employed during the first quarter of 2012 was more than 2.5 million. That's up from a low of 2.1 million in early 2009, according to the American Staffing Association.

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Food
5:28 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

USDA Predicts Food Prices To Rise In Drought's Wake

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with the drought and how it could affect your grocery bill. Today, the U.S. Agriculture Department designated 76 more counties as disaster areas because of the drought and excessive heat. And it said that severe drought will likely affect prices for corn and other field crops, although it's too soon to know how much prices will go up.

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Economy
5:28 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Geithner Defends Response To LIBOR Scandal

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to talk about the implementation of Dodd Frank. But the questions focused on why the New York Fed, under Geithner, didn't act more aggressively when it first learned about possible manipulation of a key interest rate.

Planet Money
3:24 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Your Subsidy Is My Incentive

Tax the other guy's subsidy all you want, but hands off my incentive — that's good policy you're messing with.
Alan Cleaver Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:30 am

We've taken a look at government spending in a few different ways lately, including the posts 50 Years Of Government Spending, In 1 Graph in May, and, more recently, Dissecting Federal Spending With An Eye On Cuts.

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Economy
2:42 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Pray For Rain: Food Prices Heading Higher

A "historically low inventory" of cattle and hogs is driving up meat prices, a trend that's expected to continue next year, USDA economist Richard Volpe says.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:30 pm

A fierce drought has been scorching crops this summer, but it's still too soon to know exactly how much of a hole it will burn in your wallet.

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Economy
2:10 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

The Ripple Effect From Rising Food Prices

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 2:36 pm

As drought and high temperatures continue to devastate much of the country's corn and soybean crops, the USDA reports that food prices will continue to rise at least into 2013. NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and The Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown discuss the rising cost of food.

Economy
12:21 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

When It Comes To Tax Cuts, Neither Side Is Blinking

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 2:43 pm

Taxes may be certain, but growth and job creation aren't.

As the U.S. edges closer to a year-end "fiscal cliff," Democrats and Republicans haven't budged in their fight over expiring tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — and how best to help the middle class and get the country back to work.

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Around the Nation
4:54 am
Wed July 25, 2012

When The Ship Comes In To Brownsville, Rip it Up

A ship cutter helps dismantle a ship at the Bay Bridge Texas recycling yard.
Michelle Lopez for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:41 pm

This fall, the U.S. Navy will contract three Cold War-era aircraft carriers — the USS Forrestal, the USS Saratoga and the USS Constellation — for scrapping. Often called "supercarriers" owing to their massive size, the ships contain nearly 60,000 tons of steel and other metal each.

All three carriers are likely to be sent to the landlocked city of Brownsville, Texas, to be ripped apart.

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U.S.
6:19 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

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Planet Money
4:13 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Episode #389: Handling Other People's Money

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 12:25 pm

  • Listen to the Episode

For today's show, we've collected three Planet Money radio stories never before heard on the show. All of them deal with people who handle other people's money — a politician's, a workforce's, and even a continent's:

Just How Blind Are Blind Trusts, Anyway?: With questions swirling about Mitt Romney's investments, a look at how blind trusts really work.

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Planet Money
4:05 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

NYT Excerpt: Offshore Banking In Belize

Sunset in Belize, a popular offshore haven for businesses.
halseike Flickr

This week in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson opens a hard-to-trace offshore company in Belize, which turns out to be a piece of cake:

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Business
6:48 am
Tue July 24, 2012

At Silicon Valley Boot Camp, Perfecting The Pitch

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 2:32 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's go next to Silicon Valley, California, with a program called NewME, or New Media Entrepreneurship. It's a boot camp to encourage women and African-Americans - two groups that are dramatically underrepresented among technology entrepreneurs. We've been hearing about it this week. Seven participants from across the country are sharing a house in San Francisco. They're getting coached on their business plans, and as Amy Standen of member station KQED reports, they're attempting to perfect the art of the pitch.

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U.S.
4:45 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Despite Crop Insurance, Drought Still Stings Farmers

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:30 am

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

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