Business

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 — 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

Can Bipartisanship Save Us From The Fiscal Cliff?

The election is over and the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" is drawing closer. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about how the two relate, and what it could mean for America's economic future.

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.

The Two-Way
9:46 am
Thu November 8, 2012

McDonald's Has First Drop In Key Sales Figure Since 2003

The golden arches at a McDonald's restaurant in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 9:50 pm

Fast-food giant McDonald's said today that revenue at its restaurants that have been open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent in October — the first time it has suffered a month-to-month decline in that key indicator since April 2008, according to BloombergBusinessweek.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell By 8,000 Last Week; Superstorm Sandy Might Be Factor

Job-related booklets at a New York State Department of Labor Employment Services office in Brooklyn.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

There were 355,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down by 8,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

But a measure designed to show the trend edged up: "The 4-week moving average was 370,500, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 367,250."

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Europe
5:54 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Greeks In Store For More Austerity Cuts

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 5:31 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And during the presidential campaign, Greece and its crushing debt often came up as a cautionary tale, as in don't let America become another Greece.

That country has now approved yet another round of deep budget cuts to avoid bankruptcy, which in turn prompted another round of protests, as Joanna Kakissis reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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The Salt
3:29 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Americans Rediscover The Kick Of Hard Cider

A growing number of U.S. consumers are finding much to enjoy in this fruity alcoholic beverage, driving an increase in cider sales. The Vermont Hard Cider Company now produces 70,000 cases of Woodchuck Hard Cider each week.
Ben Sarle Vermont Hard Cider Company

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:52 pm

A couple hundred years ago. hard apple cider used to be the drink of choice for thirsty Americans. It was easy to make and easy to find. But as people moved into cities, and beer became more popular, cider fell out of fashion.

Now it's come roaring back. U.S. hard cider sales are up 65 percent over last year, and just about all the big beer companies sell it, as well as many artisan brewers. Finding cider at your local bar is often no longer a problem.

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U.S.
3:26 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Opening Lines Set For A Deal To Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday that House Republicans are willing to accept new revenues "under the right conditions."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:50 pm

With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.

The president and Congress agreed to those automatic measures to force themselves to find a more palatable compromise to rein in deficits. On Wednesday, there was an attempt to jump-start that process.

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Politics
4:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

'Gang Of Eight' Trying To Steer Clear Of Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Even during the heat of the campaign, a bipartisan group of eight senators was meeting to try to hash out a framework for deficit reduction to steer clear of that fiscal cliff. The so-called Gang of Eight - four Democrats and four Republicans - includes Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who joins me now. Welcome to the program.

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Thanks for having me, Melissa.

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Economy
4:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Obama Must Hit Ground Running As Fiscal Cliff Nears

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And Robert Siegel. The confetti has fallen in Chicago, where President Obama celebrated a decisive reelection win early this morning. Now comes the hard work of preparing for a second term. Before flying back to Washington this evening, Mr. Obama acknowledged some of the big issues ahead.

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Stocks Fall On 'Fiscal Cliff' Fears

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this morning.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:02 pm

On the day after voters returned President Obama to the White House and kept Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans in control of the House:

"Investors pulled back sharply ... [amid] rising worries about the upcoming fiscal fight in Congress," The Wall Street Journal writes.

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Economy
5:50 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Obama Pledges To Complete Economic Recovery

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The economy has been a central issue in this presidential election, but it has been improving little by little. In the end, President Obama handily rolled to reelection, pledging, last night, to complete the country's recovery. For more, we turn to economic correspondent John Ydstie. Good morning.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, the weak economy was what Republicans hoped would unseat the president and that did not happen. What are the reasons for that?

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NPR Story
5:28 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Economy Looms Large Over Obama's 2nd Term

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a dive on Wall Street. Just this minute, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 317 points. It's considered the worst drop of the year, so far. We're a little bit before noon in New York City. What's going on? We're going to try to find out. We're joined now by DavidWessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. And David, as best you can determine, what's driving the drop?

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It's All Politics
5:22 am
Wed November 7, 2012

After Election, Congress Turns To 'Fiscal Cliff,' Other Money Issues

If Congress fails to address the alternative minimum tax, millions of households could see their federal 2012 tax bills jump.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:40 pm

For months, Americans have been watching the presidential political drama play out nightly on the news. Now, with President Obama's victory, that story is ending.

But for the economy, an action thriller is just beginning.

Congress has just weeks to jump to the rescue of an economy moving closer and closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. That phrase refers to a $600 billion cluster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes — all coming together at year's end.

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It's All Politics
2:17 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Business, Labor Groups Laud Obama Victory

Exit polls showed the economy was Issue No. 1 with voters in this presidential election. And it didn't take long for labor organizers and business leaders to start offering their thoughts on the re-election of President Obama.

Because of White House policies, the U.S. economy is "beginning to pick up steam," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. He cheered Obama's win and put congressional Republicans on notice that Democrats will focus on "ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits."

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Your Money
11:19 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Angie's Tips On Avoiding Storm Scams

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 12:03 pm

Severe weather could be headed for regions hard hit by superstorm Sandy, so many homeowners are scrambling to make repairs. The rush might make them vulnerable to so-called storm chasers — con artists posing as contractors. Host Michel Martin speaks with Angie Hicks, founder of the website Angie's List, for tips on how to avoid home repair scams.

Business
5:41 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Gamers Welcome 'Halo 4'

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Millions of Americans stand in line today to vote. Last night, thousands of Americans lined up to buy one of the most anticipated new video games of the year. "Halo 4" is the latest installment of the popular franchise for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Some younger gamers refer to "Halo" as their "Star Wars," a cultural touchstone. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the game's hero - the Master Chief - returns.

Noah Nelson reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF "HALO" CHORAL MUSIC)

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Business
5:41 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Kodak Retirees To Lose Health Benefits

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 12:18 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Eastman Kodak received approval yesterday to end retiree benefits by year's end. The ruling in a New York State court will save the company millions as it emerges from bankruptcy. It will also mean higher health care costs for thousands of retirees and their families.

Carlet Cleare of member station WXXI reports.

CARLET CLEARE, BYLINE: Retiree Alyce Hahn says Kodak's decision and yesterday's court ruling has left her with a sense of betrayal.

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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

EPA Cites Hyundai, Kia For Inflating Gas Mileage On 900,000 Cars

The Environmental Protection Agency found Hyundai and its sister company, Kia, overstated the fuel economy ratings on about 900,000 cars.
Nam Y. Huh AP

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 6:16 pm

If you bought a Hyundai or Kia over the past three years, you could soon be getting some money back from the two automakers.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the South Korean carmakers, owned by the same parent company, overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles over the past three years. The EPA discovered the bloated figures during an audit of gas mileage tests undertaken by the companies. The agency said last week it was investigating how the carmakers arrived at the numbers.

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Planet Money
2:22 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Foreclosures Are Falling In States Where It's Easy To Foreclose

Joe Raedle Getty Images

In New York, it takes an average of about three years for a bank to foreclose on a house.

In Texas, it takes about three months.

That's a huge, huge difference, and it's largely by design. About half the states in the country, including New York, require foreclosures to go through the courts. This slows down the process, and is intended to reduce the risk of someone being wrongly foreclosed on. In the other half of the country, including Texas, a third-party trustee can foreclose without going through the courts.

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Economy
1:00 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Sluggish Economy Relies More On Part-Time Workers

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 2:16 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the past few years, the definition of work has changed in parts of the American economy. More and more restaurants and retailers have half as many full-time workers as they used to and twice as many part-time. They save money on pay and benefits, and they use new technology to schedule part-timers based on the season, the time of day or even on the temperature.

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Education
11:52 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Is A Law Degree Still Worth It?

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 2:03 pm

A law degree used to pretty much guarantee a stable job. But journalist Elizabeth Lesly Stevens reports that thousands of law students are going into an industry that no longer has room for them. Stevens discusses her article with host Michel Martin, and they hear from NPR Facebook fans about whether a law degree is still worth it.

Business
4:49 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Austerity Measures, Euro Troubles Hit Britain's Economy

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:07 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. economy has been slowly recovering, but economists warn it could plunge back into recession if Congress does not take action to avoid what's become known as the fiscal cliff.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That is the name that some clever communications specialist gave to the combination of expiring tax cuts - in other words, tax increases - and broad, mandatory spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. The two are set to go into effect at the end of the year.

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It's All Politics
5:11 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Stuck In The Middle (Class) With You

The debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is seen on a TV in a Korean restaurant Oct. 22 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

In a country of dreamers and achievers, we seem surprisingly content in the middle.

The term "middle class" is at once useful for political purposes and practically useless as an economic descriptor. Without a consensus on an economic definition, nearly half of the country self-identifies as being in the middle class.

That gives politicians an opportunity to make far-reaching appeals to voters, speaking to Americans with incomes of $30,000 and $100,000 in the same breath.

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