Business

Planet Money
11:48 am
Tue June 24, 2014

How Much House You Can Buy, In 385 U.S. Cities

Houses.
Isaac Brekken AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 5:56 pm

Are home prices cheap in your city right now?

It's common to answer this question by talking about how prices today compare with prices last year, or to look at how prices in your city compare with prices in other cities.

But there's another way to frame the question: Compare home prices with income. You would expect that the ratio would be similar in different places. In cities where incomes are higher, home prices should also be higher. In cities where incomes are lower, home prices should also be lower.

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Shots - Health News
10:40 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

Increases in health costs will accelerate next year, but changes in how people buy care will help keep the hikes from reaching the speed seen several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

The prediction, based on interviews and modeling, splits the difference between hopes that costs will stay tame and fears that they're off to the races after having been slow since the 2008 financial crisis.

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Around the Nation
6:35 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Chicago Program Designed To Prevent White Flight Gets Renewed Attention

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Chicago, a special tax program set up decades ago to prevent white flight from the city is getting some new attention. Natalie Moore of WBEZ reports from Chicago.

NATALIE MOORE, BYLINE: The year was 1983. A reformer promised a vision different from his opponents.

(SOUNDBITE FROM ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Harold Washington has a different plan.

HAROLD WASHINGTON: While they fight over that machine, I shall fight for Chicago.

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NPR Story
5:07 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Latest Climate Change Report Paints Dire Picture For Business

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says he hopes a new study can influence the business community by applying the science of risk management.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 2:38 pm

The U.S. economy faces great risks from climate change, according to a new study that focuses on the current and future effects of climate change on everything from jobs, to crop yields, to energy production.

Though the study presents no new climate science, it paints a dire picture of the business and economic effects if action isn't taken, including crop yields that fall by more than 70 percent in the Midwest and billions of dollars' worth of property literally underwater on the East Coast.

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Law
4:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

U.S. Tip-Toes Closer To Unprecedented Fine On French Banking Giant

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

U.S. officials are close to a multibillion-dollar settlement with the giant, French bank BNP Pariba over allegations of sanctions violations. The bank is expected to admit that its affiliates did business with countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions - Sudan, Cuba and Iran. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Health
4:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
6:23 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Administration Focuses On Challenges Working Families Face

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
3:36 am
Mon June 23, 2014

As Carmakers Recall Vehicles, Dealers Might Make A Profit

Chevrolet dealerships like this one might actually benefit from General Motors' recall of millions of cars — as long as customers don't have to wait too long for their repairs.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:20 am

The auto industry is cruising toward a record number of safety recalls: GM has recalled 20 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, and most carmakers have lowered the bar for the kind of problems that'll have them sending you back to your local dealers.

But while that sounds like bad news, it turns out that recalls can have an upside — at least for car dealers.

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Code Switch
2:41 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

Some Of Us Sacrifice More To Stay In Home Sweet Home

Despite the challenges to finding affordable housing, blacks and Latinos still say they feel like home ownership is an excellent investment.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 4:30 pm

If it seems like we talk about housing a lot on Code Switch, it's because we do. But the fact is it's really hard to talk about all the ways race correlates to different outcomes — in health or education, say— without talking about where people live. Take household wealth, for example: The major reason whites have so much more of it is because of how much likelier they are not just to own homes, but to own homes in places where that property might appreciate in value.

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Business
5:24 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Universal Bets Wizarding World Will Bring In Big Money Magic

The fire-breathing dragon that helped Harry and his friends escape from the banker goblins sits on top of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando's newest attraction.
Ken Kinzie Universal Orlando

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:18 pm

Universal Orlando Resort's new Diagon Alley attraction is true to the books — a place where people who love magic can buy anything from wands to butterbeer.

At the end of the street is Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and on top, the fire-breathing dragon that helped Harry and his friends escape from the banker goblins.

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NPR Ed
8:26 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Free College For All: Dream, Promise Or Fantasy?

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 10:56 am

"Free" is a word with a powerful appeal. And right now it's being tossed around a lot, followed by another word: "college."

A new nonprofit, Redeeming America's Promise, announced this week that it will seek federal support to make public colleges tuition-free. That effort is inspired by "Hope" and "Promise" programs like the one in Kalamazoo, Mich., which pays up to 100 percent of college tuition at state colleges and universities for graduates of the city's public high schools.

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Shots - Health News
12:04 am
Thu June 19, 2014

How Your State Rates In Terms Of Long-Term Care

Minnesota, Washington and Oregon topped the ranking, which looked at 26 variables, including affordability and whether patients could get good paid care at home. Alabama and Kentucky came in last.
Fred Froese/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:58 am

In just 12 years, the oldest members of the huge baby-boom generation will turn 80. Many will need some kind of long-term care. A new study from AARP says that care could vary dramatically in cost and quality depending on where they live.

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Economy
5:18 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

In Press Conference, Fed Chair Keeps Things Upbeat — And Vague

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

Transcript

: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I am Robert Siegel. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen may have learned a lesson - don't get specific when talking about when the benchmark interest rate may go up. She made that mistake during her first news conference as Fed chief. Today she left it at it depends, and as NPR's John Ydstie reports, Yellen also gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the economy following a two- day meeting.

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Economy
4:37 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Sluggish Housing Market A Product Of Millions Of 'Missing Households'

NPR Census Bureau

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

A year ago, the housing market looked like it was finally recovering. Sales and prices were picking up. But then home sales fizzled. Currently, they are down about 7 percent from last spring.

A big part of why housing remains so stunted is that there are more than 2 million "missing households" in the U.S. That's how economists describe the fact that fewer people are striking out on their own to find places to live.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Fed Slows Pace Of Bond Buying, Keeps Rates Steady — For Now

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, on Wednesday. The Fed announced that it was cutting back on bond buying and would leave short-term rates unchanged.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:03 pm

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The Federal Reserve said today it will further curtail its bond purchases because of an improving U.S. job market, but it offered no hint as to when it might start raising short-term interest rates.

A statement from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee said:

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
3:24 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Benefit Corporations Look Beyond The Profit Motive

Stephen Maydwell adjusts tins of Badger Balm before a machine fills them at the W.S. Badger Co. Inc. factory in Gilsum, N.H.
Jack Rodolico

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 8:53 am

A corporation has one core obligation: to make money. But some companies are signing a deal, promising to create not only profit but also a tangible benefit to society and the environment. They're called benefit corporations, and their movement has caught the ear of lawmakers across the country.

In the tiny town of Gilsum, N.H., you'll find the headquarters of W.S. Badger Co. Inc. The company makes all-natural cosmetics marketed under the name Badger Balm. When CEO Bill Whyte founded the company two decades ago, the staff was lean.

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The Two-Way
6:51 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

SunTrust To Pay Nearly $1 Billion For Mortgage Practices

SunTrust has agreed to pay $968 million as part of a settlement with the government over charges that it failed to comply with standards required for federally backed mortgages.

The settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and the Justice Department and other agencies includes money for homeowners and a requirement that the company improve its procedures for mortgage loans and foreclosures.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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Politics
4:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Lightning-Fast Trades Go Beneath The Congressional Microscope

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is holding a hearing on problems in the financial markets caused by high-frequency trading firms.

Shots - Health News
12:13 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

How Does The Federal Health Law Affect Insurance Price Hikes?

What will insurance buyers find when they look to get or renew coverage?
Zack Blanton iStockphoto

Buying health insurance, even on the exchanges created by the health law, can be an expensive proposition. And some consumers are already wondering how much coverage will cost next year. That led to a recent question about the rules that apply to insurance premiums.

I understood that under the health law, premiums for individuals could not increase by double digits, that rate increases were capped at under 10 percent unless approved by the government. Isn't that right?

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Money Coach
12:04 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Coupling Finances: The First 'I Do' For Newlyweds?

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 12:34 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Business
5:33 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Dent Guys Chase Hail Storms To Find Repair Work

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When a severe hailstorm hammers a community, it's often a group of PDR technicians who straighten things out. Vermont Public Radio's Nina Keck tell us more about the nomadic, little-known world of paintless dent repair.

NINA KECK, BYLINE: Last month, Rutland, Vermont, got hit with something it rarely encounters - big, destructive hail.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Business
5:28 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Federal Reserve Has New Worries About Inflation Rate

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:48 am

After years of concern about prices and wages going up too much, central banks are worried about too little inflation. Linda Wertheimer talks to David Wessel of the Brookings Institution.

U.S.
5:52 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Home, Food Or Health Care: A Choice Many Renters Can't Afford

As the number of renters in Los Angeles increases, construction of new apartments isn't keeping pace with demand, resulting in rents higher than many can afford.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 2:56 pm

The mortgage crisis that devastated the economy has received endless attention, but it's not just homeowners who have suffered badly in this economy.

As of 2012, renters made up 35 percent of American households. Their numbers are growing, reversing a decades-long uptick in homeownership.

And in the past 50 years, the percentage of income they're spending on the rent has increased dramatically. A quarter of renters are spending more than half their income on rent.

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Business
5:17 am
Fri June 13, 2014

At E3, Critics Renew Calls For More Diverse Video Game Characters

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:29 am

Even though women make up a significant proportion of dedicated gamers, there are few female protagonists in big-selling video games. The same goes for ethnic and racial minorities.

Planet Money
5:12 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Volatility Index Indicates Wall Street Is Bored

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:40 am

An economic indicator commonly called the VIX, volatility index, is also known as the fear index. Whatever you call it, the index is hitting lows not seen since before the financial crisis.

Business
5:12 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Study: Climate Change Is A Growing Threat To Corn Production

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:38 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And from food to fuel, corn is a major pillar of the U.S. economy. It's the country's biggest crop. One-third of all U.S. cropland is dedicated to corn. A new study says climate change and unsustainable irrigation practices are a long-term threat to U.S. corn production. The study calls on farmers, governments and businesses to cooperate to head off those negative effects. NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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All Tech Considered
3:15 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws

Taxi drivers gather in Berlin before joining an anti-Uber protest through the city. It coincided with similar protests in cities across Europe.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:53 am

To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.

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The Salt
3:09 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Fight Over Calif. Oyster Company Splits Chefs And Land Defenders

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm caters to local residents and restaurants. But unless its lease is renewed, its days are numbered.
Richard Gonzales NPR

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 4:38 pm

Drive just an hour and a half north of San Francisco, and you're in Drakes Estero, named for the first English explorer to lay claim to California.

This near-pristine, wind-whipped marine wilderness is a federally protected home for large beds of eelgrass, the base of the marine food chain. The estuary hosts the largest colony of harbor seals on the West Coast, and tens of thousands of resident and migratory birds.

It's also home to the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

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Economy
5:10 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

A Campaign To House The Homeless Reaches A Milestone

Mallyveen Teah relaxes in his Arlington, Va., apartment after work.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Mallyveen Teah, 53, has been homeless or couch surfing on and off for the past 25 years. Now, he walks from his job at a construction site in Arlington, Va., to his new home, a one-bedroom apartment.

"Something as simple as giving a person a set of keys to their own place makes a huge difference in terms of their outlook on life, the world," he says.

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Europe
2:27 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Across Europe, Anti-Uber Protests Clog City Streets

A taxi precedes demonstrators during a protest against Uber in Barcelona on Wednesday. A conventional taxi license in Spain can cost 137,000 euros ($185,400), making competition from services like Uber a major financial issue.
Josep Lago AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

In capital cities across Europe, taxi drivers took to the streets without passengers Wednesday afternoon. They slowed to a snail's pace in what Parisians called "Operation Escargot." Horns blared around Trafalgar Square in London. In Berlin, taxis massed at the Central Station. All to protest the smartphone app Uber.

"We've opened Frankfurt last week, we've opened Lille in France, which is our third city this week. We opened Barcelona a couple weeks ago, and there's many more cities to go," Uber's Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty says.

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