Business

Business
3:29 am
Mon July 16, 2012

In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options

Will American emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone airline, or will it merge with US Airways? An American spokesman says it's considering all options.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 7:30 am

Imagine going into bankruptcy with billions of dollars in cash still in your bank account. That's what American Airlines did last November. The thinking was that management would gut the company's pensions and union contracts and emerge from bankruptcy ready to compete.

But then US Airways said it could take over American and be profitable, and it wouldn't have to hurt American's employees nearly as bad in the process. American's pilots, mechanics and flight attendants loved that idea.

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Business
3:26 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Bucking Bulls Draw Crowds, And Dollars

Bulls are judged with a "dummy" weight for four seconds to see how hard they will jump and twist to buck a rider. Bulls that do well can sell for up to $50,000.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 5:04 pm

The bucking bull has long been the embodiment of the American rodeo, and it takes just four seconds for a strong young bull to reap its owner as much as $50,000 in prize money.

Four seconds is how long each 1- or 2-year-old bull will wear a weight strapped to its back as the massive animal is judged on how high it kicks and how much it twists.

In the past 10 years, bucking bulls have become a major industry. The price of the best bloodlines can soar to $250,000, and competitions take place everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Wyoming.

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Economy
5:52 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

A Tale Of Two Cities: Too Many Jobs, Or Not Enough

Agriculture is a key job sector in Yuma, Ariz., where the seasonal workforce and migrant labor tend to boost the unemployment rate.
Jacob Lopez AP

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 6:12 pm

Maria Arvizu continues to fill out job applications even though she has yet to deposit her last paycheck.

Arvizu, 53, relocated to Yuma, Ariz., to become a bus driver for the local school district last year. After school closed for summer break, she was caught off guard when she was laid off. She had expected to get another driving assignment and was denied collecting unemployment because she was still considered a school employee.

"I just keep looking for a job," Arvizu says.

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NPR Story
7:49 am
Sat July 14, 2012

$6B Deal Eases Credit Card Surcharge Restrictions

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Visa, MasterCard, some of the nation's other largest banks have agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement of a class action suit involving credit card transaction fees. Now, those are what merchants pay when you use plastic instead of cash. Retailers allege that the two largest payment networks conspired with the banks to keep so-called swipe fees high. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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Mitt Romney
5:49 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Bain, Bain, Go Away: In Defense, Romney Attacks

Mitt Romney appears on ABC News in one of the five TV interviews he did Friday. He mostly responded to comments from the Obama campaign about his role at Bain Capital.
ABC News

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sat for a hastily arranged flurry of TV interviews Friday, strongly denying he had any role in running Bain Capital at a time when, according to reports, the company invested in firms that outsourced jobs overseas.

He also called for an apology from President Obama for statements by his campaign that Romney said were beneath the dignity of the presidency.

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Planet Money
7:35 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Episode 386: The Cost Of Free Doughnuts

Navy veteran Howard Dunn and Army veteran Tom Kaine remember when the Red Cross briefly charged servicemen for doughnuts during World War II. Many veterans still resent it.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:22 pm

If you think about every other price in the world — a dollar, $12.99 — free stands out.

Free has the power to make us do completely irrational things. It can drive us to break rules, and take risks we never thought possible. It can make us feel savvy and smug and exhilarated.

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Energy
4:46 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

What's Killing 'King Coal' In West Virginia?

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, one of the biggest coal mining companies in Central Appalachia, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy protection. Over the past three months, a wave of layoffs has hit coal country hard, and this past month, the share of all U.S. electricity generated from coal hit its lowest level since the 1940s. Our colleague Guy Raz visited Webster County in the middle of West Virginia to find out what's killing King Coal.

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Planet Money
4:46 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret

U.S. soldiers receive refreshments, including doughnuts, from an American Red Cross clubmobile in London. Soldiers today still resent a Red Cross move to charge for doughnuts.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 5:06 pm

A lot of the online services you probably use are free. Gmail is free. Facebook is free. Yahoo News and NPR are free (though we certainly solicit contributions!). But increasingly, online companies are trying to figure out how to start charging, at least for some services, some of the time.

But today, we have a cautionary tale about charging for things that were once free. It's the story of how one small mistake moving away from free can cause trouble that's impossible to fix.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
3:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Struggling Families Lift Themselves Out Of Poverty

Support group members Pamela Travis (from left), Dominique Martin, Yovanda Dixon, Shanna Chaney and Ramona Shewl hold a meeting as part of the Family Independence Initiative. The Oakland nonprofit encourages low-income families to form small groups to help each other get ahead.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:24 pm

It's been almost 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." But today, the poverty rate in the U.S. is the highest it's been in 17 years, affecting some 46 million people.

The economy is partly to blame, but even in good times, millions of Americans are poor.

That's been a longtime concern for Maurice Lim Miller. He ran social service programs in the San Francisco Bay Area for 20 years. Then one day, the painful truth hit.

"The very first kids I had trained back in the early '80s, I saw their kids now showing up in my programs," he says.

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Presidential Race
10:26 am
Fri July 13, 2012

How Battleground States See The Economy

A young supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a sign during an election party at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas in February.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:33 pm

For all the chatter that the winner of the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the economy, you wouldn't know it by looking at the most closely contested states.

The recovery is still tepid in most parts of the country, and there's a sense of trepidation that signs of improvement might not last. Among the swing states, some are doing comparatively well while others are struggling — but the political picture looks roughly the same in all.

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Asia
5:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

China's Economy Slows To 3-Year Low

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. China's economic growth has slowed down to a three-year low. That's according to new figures released today. The numbers matter to us because of the way the world economy is so interconnected. Americans import a lot from China, sure, but have also been working to boost exports to other nations, including China.

NPR's Louisa Lim joins us from Beijing to make sense of the latest news. Hi, Louisa.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
3:20 am
Fri July 13, 2012

County Considers Eminent Domain As Foreclosure Fix

Half of San Bernardino County's 300,000 mortgages are underwater. In an attempt to ease the mortgage crisis, the Southern California county is considering taking control of some of those properties by eminent domain.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:04 am

County and city officials in San Bernardino, Calif., are considering a controversial plan: using the power of eminent domain to take over "underwater" mortgages, where the value of the home is worth less than the original loan. Taking on those properties, officials say, would allow the homeowners to refinance those troubled loans.

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Planet Money
3:19 am
Fri July 13, 2012

The European Central Bank's Guide to Influence

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, left, speaks with Spanish Finance Minister Luis De Guindos on Monday. The ECB has increased its influence over European countries struggling with debt.
Georges Gobet AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 6:08 pm

Europe is struggling, thanks to a relentless debt crisis. Compounding its problems: It is not one country, but 17.

Many observers agree that to solve their problems, those countries have to start looking a lot more like one country. And there is a force in Europe trying to make that happen: the European Central Bank. The weapon it has that everyone else lacks? Money.

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Asia
5:02 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Global Markets Brace For China's Slowing Economy

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 6:10 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Global stock markets are anxiously awaiting new figures from China. Analysts are expecting the numbers to show the world's second largest economy suffering its biggest slowdown since the global financial crisis.

NPR's Louisa Lim is in Beijing.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
4:26 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Turning Trash Into Cash To Help Nation's Poor

A worker dismantles a mattress at a recycling facility in Oakland, Calif. The material will be used to make carpet products and proceeds will help support the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, a nonprofit that helps low-income families in Eugene, Ore.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 6:10 pm

The bad economy has hurt many nonprofits around the country, even as demands for their services have grown. That's certainly the case in Reading, Pa., which has been labeled the poorest city in America, with a poverty rate of more than 41 percent.

Now, one local nonprofit, Opportunity House, hopes to salvage some of its services by salvaging junk.

Looking For Help

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Opinion
2:51 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Weekly Standard: Obamacare Cost Estimates Rise

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP National Convention on July 11 in Houston, Texas. Romney was booed by the audience when he reiterated his commitment to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Eric Kayne Getty Images

Daniel Halper is an online editor at The Weekly Standard.

The Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee released the following chart yesterday, detailing the rising projected cost of President Obama's signature legislation, Obamacare:

The latest estimate, as the chart details, is that Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion dollars in its first real decade. The bill does not fully go into effect until 2014, therefore the estimate begins with that year.

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The Picture Show
2:50 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Detroit Lost And Found: Vintage Photos Speak Volumes

These photos from the 1960s-1990s were found by two Italian photographers while working in Detroit.
Cesuralab

In 2009, Italian photographers Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese were on assignment in Detroit to document the U.S. economic crisis. While wandering around the city, they kept coming across old photos. They gathered about 1,500 over the course of two trips and, writes Arcara via email, "we fell in love."

"We thought we could do a better job working on this material that was actually taken from the people that lived in that town ... instead of taking pictures of the aftermath of the crisis."

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Opinion
2:50 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

New Republic: Obamacare Means Higher Employment

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act at George Washington University on July 11 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a technical consultant to the Obama administration during the development of the Affordable Care Act.

Forget death panels. Lately critics of the Affordable Care Act have been promoting a different claim — that "Obamacare" is a job-killer. Specifically, they say, it will stifle the economy with regulations and taxes. But the economic literature doesn't support this claim. If anything, it suggests the opposite: The Affordable Care Act will boost the economy.

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News
11:51 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Homeowner Bill Of Rights For 'Flawed System'

Guest Host Maria Hinojosa talks with Kamala Harris, California's Attorney General about the state's newly passed "Homeowner Bill of Rights." The law, which was signed yesterday by Governor Jerry Brown, makes it harder for lenders to seize a property and allows homeowners to sue to stop a foreclosure process.

All Tech Considered
3:08 am
Thu July 12, 2012

New Online Users Have A Longer Timeline

More older adults are using the Internet, thanks in part to introductory classes offered offline.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 1:50 pm

Facebook started as a social network for college students. But now that anyone can join, here's a status update: Many of its newest members are senior citizens.

At 101 years old, Florence Detlor is one of the oldest people on Facebook. She says she's always been someone who wants to keep up on the cutting edge of technology.

"Because that's what makes one time different from another," she says.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
5:15 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

To Beat Odds, Poor Single Moms Need Wide Safety Net

Shyanne (left) holds 1-year-old Makai, as Stepp checks to see if all of Shyanne's homework has been completed.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 11:27 am

Single mothers have an especially hard time getting out of poverty. Households headed by single mothers are four times as likely to be poor as are families headed by married couples.

Still, many of these women are trying to get ahead. Some know instinctively what the studies show: Children who grow up in poor families are far more likely to become poor adults.

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Around the Nation
4:40 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

With Only $150K In Cash, Calif. City Goes Bankrupt

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 1:24 pm

The city of San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles, has become the latest California city to declare bankruptcy.

Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
4:30 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Single Mothers And The Cycle Of Poverty

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:33 pm

Robert Siegel speaks with Olivia Golden, fellow at the Urban Institute, about why there has been an increase of single mothers who are in poverty.

Around the Nation
2:36 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

What Happens When A City Declares Bankruptcy

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

San Bernardino is expected to become the third California city in the past month to file for bankruptcy. That follows Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. Even after layoffs and cuts to public employees' pay and pensions, officials in San Bernardino said the government could not cover upcoming bills. So what happens now to city services like police and fire protection, garbage collection, road repairs? Who gets paid, and who doesn't? If you have questions about municipal bankruptcy, give us a call, 800-989-8255.

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Planet Money
1:42 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The Failure Of The Candy Tax

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:13 pm

Last week, we re-aired an episode recorded in 2010 with economist Joshua Gans, author of the book Parentonomics. In the episode, Gans' 11-year old daughter, B., told us about his technique for keeping her from spending too much allowance money on candy:

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Economy
11:52 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Did The Great Recession Bring Back The 1930s?

Thousands of unemployed people wait outside the State Labor Bureau in New York City to register for federal relief jobs in 1933.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:00 pm

The long economic downturn that began in late 2007 came to be known at the Great Recession –- the worst period since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Even though both events were momentous enough to earn the word "great" as a modifier, they really are not comparable, according to recent research by economist Mark Vaughan, a fellow at the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Planet Money
10:24 am
Wed July 11, 2012

The Value Of Taxing The Wealthy: $56 Billion

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 2:06 pm

The debate is back over what to do with the Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

The Obama administration wants to extend them only for families earning less than $250,000 a year. Republicans generally favor extending them for everyone. What hangs in the balance are tax breaks for wealthier Americans.

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NPR Story
5:06 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Manchester United Hopes To Score With Its IPO

Manchester United is the most famous soccer team in the United Kingdom, and one of the world's most popular sports teams. Now its owners are hoping the team's popularity will translate into big bucks. They're planning to sell Manchester United stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Roger Blitz, of the Financial Times, talks to Renee Montagne about the team's IPO.

Economy
3:22 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Euro Currency Still Faring Well, For Now

Over the last 13 years, the euro has been worth on average $1.21, only a penny less than its current price of $1.22 per euro.
Michael Probst AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:42 pm

The euro touched a two-year low against the dollar Tuesday, as concerns about the eurozone debt crisis continued.

Despite a recession across much of the eurozone and even predictions of the currency's demise, however, the euro has held up relatively well during this crisis.

Over the last 13 year, it has taken on average $1.21 to buy a euro. Now, even in this midst of this crisis, it's worth virtually the same ($1.22).

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Europe
4:35 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

'Vultures' Swoop In For Deals In Debt-Ridden Spain

A "For Sale" sign hangs outside mostly empty apartment blocks in the Madrid satellite town of Sesena in February. Banks are trying to sell billions of euros worth of property left by bankrupt developers. This is attracting bargain-hunting investors from abroad.
Andrea Comas Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 7:34 pm

Back in the day, Madrid's Palace Hotel was Ernest Hemingway's old haunt, or at least the bar was. Now, rooms at the posh hotel just down from the famed Prado Museum go for up to $6,000 a night. And gathering in its lobby these days? An altogether different type of foreigner: the kind in expensive suits.

"Probably they are institutional investors, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds," says Federico Steinberg, an economist at Madrid's Elcano Institute.

There's a lot of cash around the world, he says, and a lot of people looking for bargains.

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