Business

The Two-Way
8:56 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Sends Jobless Claims Up Sharply

The line was long last week at a job fair in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

There were 439,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 78,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Behind the big increase: Superstorm Sandy, which threw some people in the Mid-Atlantic onto the unemployment rolls and shut down state unemployment offices the week before β€” meaning that some claims were postponed into last week.

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Business
5:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Thompson Takes Over New York Times Company

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:58 am

This week marks the start of Mark Thompson's tenure as the new chief executive officer at the New York Times Co. It is facing financial head-winds, and is hoping Thompson can recapture some of the success he enjoyed in leading the BBC. But there's concern within the Times that its new leader has been tainted by scandals at his old employer.

NPR Story
4:46 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Studies Vary On How Many Jobs Will Be Lost If Taxes On The Wealthy Ride

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 7:07 am

Republicans claim President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy will cost the economy 700,000 jobs. Another study from the Congressional Budget Office puts the number of lost jobs as 200,000. But both studies also assume millions of new jobs will be created.

Crisis In The Housing Market
4:35 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Foreclosed Homeowners Getting Back In The Market

Millions of U.S. families have a recent foreclosure on their record. Typically, that means waiting at least seven years before securing another home loan. But some families say they are having luck buying again β€” sometimes in as few as three years.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:15 pm

Buyers are coming back into the housing market after losing their homes during the financial crisis β€” returning to homeownership more quickly than lenders have typically allowed.

With millions of families with recent foreclosures on their records, some report that they are having luck buying a house β€” in some cases within three years.

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Business
6:39 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Down Economy Injures Local Hospitals

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:06 am

The health care industry is one of the most reliable sources of new jobs in the country. And in cities that suffer from high unemployment, the local hospital is often the biggest employer still standing. But the downturn in the economy has left some hospitals in perilous financial shape. In Waterbury, Ct,, the biggest hospitals are going through a painful process of outsourcing and layoffs.

Economy
5:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A Preview Of Obama's News Conference

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:06 am

At the White House, President Obama will hold his first East Room news conference since March on Wednesday. He's expected to talk about the nation's fiscal condition, as well as the scandal that has cost him his CIA director.

NPR Story
5:20 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Some Nonprofits Look Suspiciously Like Forprofits

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:33 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The word nonprofit evokes the image of a charity or a church, an educational institution, public radio station. But David Evans of Bloomberg Markets Magazine took a closer look at the world of nonprofits and discovered something that he considered suspicious. Even though many nonprofits make millions and millions in profits, they pay no taxes.

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Your Money
12:36 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

How The Alternative Minimum Tax Could Slam You

Customers line up at an H&R Block office in Nashville, Tenn., on April 17, the deadline for filing 2011 federal income taxes.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:29 pm

Seriously, again?

Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.

And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event β€” along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.

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Your Money
11:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Alternative Minimum Tax And Your Bottom Line

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:31 pm

If the government goes over the "fiscal cliff," millions of households could see tax increases because of an obscure part of the tax code, known as the alternative minimum tax. Host Michel Martin talks with NPR Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about exactly what could happen and who would be affected.

Shots - Health News
9:35 am
Tue November 13, 2012

High-Deductible Health Plans Can Cost Patients A Discount

Health insurance plans that require consumers to pay more in out-of-pocket medical expenses may have hidden costs.
iStockphoto.com

As workers consider their health insurance options this fall, chances are there's one on the open-enrollment menu with a deductible of more than a $1,000.

Coverage like that is often linked to a tax-advantaged financial savings account to pay for medical expenses that fall below the hefty deductible.

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The Salt
3:46 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Danes May Bring Back Butter As Government Rolls Back Fat Tax

Toothbutter, illustrated.
Sidsel Overgaard NPR

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:34 pm

Toothbutter: noun. Butter spread so thickly as to reveal teeth marks upon biting.

The fact that this word exists in the Danish language should help to explain what politicians were up against when they introduced the "fat tax" just over a year ago. This is a country that loves it some butter (and meat, and all things dreadful to the arteries).

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:33 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Beach Towns Mourn Sandy-Ravaged Boardwalks

Waves break Oct. 31 in front of a destroyed amusement park wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:15 pm

Hurricane Sandy left a long trail of destruction across the New Jersey shoreline. And it did a lot more than just flood houses.

In towns like Seaside Heights and Belmar, Sandy wiped out the boardwalks that line the beach. In places like these, boardwalks served as the commercial center knitting the towns together, and residents are wondering where to go from here.

Until two weeks ago, the boardwalk was the place to hang out in Belmar, N.J. Ann Summer was walking along the water with her husband this weekend.

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Europe
5:37 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

A German City With Debt Problems Of Its Own

The main street in Oberhausen β€” Germany's most indebted city β€” is dotted with vacancies. Despite its economic woes, Oberhausen, like other western German cities, must make "reunification" payments to the former communist East. The payments help explain German voters' reluctance to bail out Greece and other eurozone countries.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:31 pm

Germany, the economic engine of Europe, has been a key player in bailing out the Continent's most troubled economies.

Yet there are places in the former West Germany β€” like Oberhausen β€” that are struggling with their own debt problems, even as they pay hefty sums to revitalize former East German cities with transfers known as "Solidarity Pact" payments.

Borrowing To Stay Afloat β€” And Pay Out

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Economy
4:28 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Opportunities Emerge For Vets In Tough Job Market

Last year, Congress passed legislation that β€” among other things β€” gave employers tax credits for hiring vets.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:28 pm

Many veterans aren't just looking for a job; they're looking for a career, a calling and, of course, financial stability. Those recently separated from the military have to confront what is still a fairly weak civilian job market.

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Politics
5:39 am
Mon November 12, 2012

With Election Over, Washington Moves On To 'Fiscal Cliff'

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

With the election settled, Washington, Wall Street and much of the rest world, it seems, are focused on whether Congress and a reelected president can avoid the fiscal cliff. To tell us what's at stake, we turn now to David Wessel. He's the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "Red Ink," a new primer on the federal budget and the deficit.

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Politics
4:07 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Lew, Bowles Rumored To Replace Treasury's Geithner

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 5:43 pm

A second term means some new Cabinet appointments for President Obama, including at the Treasury. After four pretty grueling years, Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear he will be leaving Washington.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Geithner would be staying on through the inauguration. He's also expected to be a "key participant" in "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

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The Salt
3:24 am
Mon November 12, 2012

To Get Around Tax Hike, Spanish Theater Sells Carrots Not Tickets

At the BescanΓ³ municipal theater in northeastern Spain, director Quim MarcΓ© (center) and actresses Meritxell Yanes (left) and Elena Martinell (right) display carrots for sale.
Quim MarcΓ©

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 5:41 pm

In Spain, new austerity measures mean higher sales tax on everything from beer and wine to clothing and movie tickets. But in BescanΓ³, a small town in the country's northeast, the local theater director has come up with a rather creative way to get around a new 21 percent tax on tickets for plays at his theater –- by selling carrots instead.

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Environment
3:23 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Weighing The Prospects Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in May in Cushing, Okla. Obama is under pressure to make a decision on the future of the pipeline during his second term.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:17 am

Among the difficult decisions facing President Obama is whether to give the go-ahead for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada down to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Environmentalists want it blocked. They are concerned about endangering the Nebraska sand hills, under which is the largest aquifer in the country. It provides drinking water and irrigation water for several states.

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Europe
3:08 pm
Sun November 11, 2012

To Scrape By, The Poor In Spain Go Dumpster Diving

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 6:24 pm

One scene has become increasingly common amid Spain's economic crisis: Thousands of people, many of them immigrants, are searching trash dumpsters by night. Some scour the garbage for food, but many others are involved in a black-market trade for recycled materials.

The scavengers have slowly become a sad fixture in many barrios across Spain, like the well-dressed, middle-aged man on a Barcelona street corner on a recent night. He averts his eyes from onlookers as he reaches his arm down deep into a dumpster.

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Economy
6:39 am
Sun November 11, 2012

Congress Barrels Toward Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 12:36 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Here's a term you're going to get really tired of in the next several weeks - if you haven't already: The fiscal cliff. It's a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year. That is, if Congress and the president fail to find a way to avoid it.

NPR's Tamara Keith has this primer.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Both House Speaker John Boehner and the president made it clear, they don't want to go off the cliff.

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Economy
5:30 am
Sun November 11, 2012

How The Fiscal Cliff Would Hit The Economy

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at the White House in July 2011. They are scheduled to meet at the White House again next week to discuss the looming fiscal cliff.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 4:05 pm

This week, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders to begin working out a deal to avert a budget calamity commonly known as the fiscal cliff.

Economists are unanimous in saying that if the leaders fail to keep the country from going over the "cliff," both the stock and labor markets will fairly quickly go "splat."

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Politics
5:26 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Taxing Work Ahead: Have Negotiating Tables Turned?

President Obama speaks about the economy and the deficit at the White House on Friday. He says this time around, he has proof that Americans agree with his approach.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 1:38 pm

Republicans and Democrats agree: Election season may have ended just four days ago, but it's already time to get back to work. In this case, "back to work" might mean "back to fighting."

Leaders in both parties made their opening bids Friday on how to deal with the tax, spending and debt problems that face the country at the end of this year.

While the scenario echoes last year's spending battle, there are some differences that could push the parties toward the resolution they never reached last time around.

Where The President Stands

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It's All Politics
5:53 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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World
3:29 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold

Iranian women look at a jewelry shop display in Tehran, Iran, in 2010. Iran now appears to be stockpiling gold in an attempt to stabilize its economy, which has been hit hard by Western sanctions.
Atta Lenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Iran is stockpiling gold. That's the way David Cohen sees it. He's undersecretary of the Treasury, and the Treasury's point man for the banking sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

"Iran is attempting to hoard gold, both by acquiring it and by preventing the export of gold from Iran, in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and defend the value of its currency," Cohen says.

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Economy
4:53 am
Fri November 9, 2012

CBO: 'Fiscal Cliff' Could Put U.S. Back In Recession

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Speaker Boehner also said he wants to work with the president to keep them from going over the fiscal cliff - higher taxes and spending cuts that take effect at the end of the year. The Congressional Budget Office warns of a new recession if Congress doesn't make changes. NPR's Scott Horsley has our daily look at the bottom line.

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Business
4:46 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Sandy's Effects 'Staggering' To New York's Economy

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also held a press conference yesterday, and gave a warning that Sandy could end up costing his state $33 billion in economic damage, which could worsen the state's already-perilous fiscal situation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Cuomo said the initial estimates are that the storm will cost the region $50 billion in lost economic activity and infrastructure damage. And he said two-thirds of that will be borne by New York.

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Business
3:21 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Car Dealers Sue Tesla, Citing State Franchise Laws

A Tesla Motors showroom in San Jose, Calif. Car dealers in New York and Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Tesla from selling its vehicles in those states.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Tesla Motors usually makes headlines for its technology. Its new Model S is the first entirely electric vehicle to be named car of the year by Automobile Magazine.

Friday's news is less flattering: A judge in New York will take up a lawsuit against the company about how Tesla sells its cars.

When Mark Seeger bought a Tesla in Seattle, he was actually just looking for a pair of shoes.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

CBO Warns Again: Ignoring Fiscal Cliff Could Result In Recession

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:57 pm

The so-called fiscal cliff is a double-edged sword, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says in a new report issued today.

Why? Ignoring the huge tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year "will probably cause the economy to fall back into a recession."

But: "They will make the economy stronger later in the decade and beyond."

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Economy
4:51 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Corn Belt Farmland: The Newest Real Estate Bubble?

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Mo., that sold for $10,700 per acre in February β€” double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Abby Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700 per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Is Indian Country Still In The Great Depression?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:11 pm

More than five million people in the U.S. claim some form of Native American identity. November is Native American Heritage Month and host Michel Martin is having a series of conversations with author Anton Treuer. Today, they talk about some of the particular political and economic challenges facing Indian Country.

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