John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

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Politics
3:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama's Fed Chair Choice Gets First Confirmation Hearing

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:29 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.

Janet Yellen took another historic step today on the road to becoming the first woman to head Federal Reserve. Appearing calm and comfortable in the spotlight at her first confirmation hearing, Yellen answered questions about the Fed's controversial stimulus program, it's efforts to reduce unemployment and her commitment to controlling inflation.

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Politics
4:22 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Senate Panel To Hear From Fed Chief Nominee Janet Yellen

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 4:53 am

The first woman to be nominated to head the Federal Reserve takes the witness chair on Capitol Hill Thursday morning for her confirmation hearing. Janet Yellen's challenge will be to reassure her Democratic supporters that she's focused on job creation, while convincing at least a few Republicans that she'll keep inflation in check.

Shots - Health News
12:57 am
Thu November 7, 2013

How The Affordable Care Act Pays For Insurance Subsidies

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:44 pm

The new health care law will provide around $1 trillion in subsidies to low- and middle-income Americans over the next decade to help them pay for health insurance.

Johanna Humbert of Galien, Mich., was pleasantly surprised to discover that she qualifies for an insurance subsidy, since her current plan is being canceled. Humbert makes about $30,000 a year, so she'll get a subsidy of about $300 a month. The new plan is similar to her current one, but it will cost $250 — about half of what she pays now.

But where will the money come from to pay for subsidies like these?

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Shots - Health News
4:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Notices Canceling Health Insurance Leave Many On Edge

One person who got a letter canceling his health insurance was Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. He holds up the letter during a congressional hearing Wednesday on insurance problems. He says his family chose to buy private insurance rather than use the congressional plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

President Obama repeated this line or a variation of it many times during the campaign to pass his landmark health care bill: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period."

But while that might be true for people who get health insurance through their employer, it's not true for many people who buy their policies in the individual market — about 5 percent of the nation's policyholders.

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Shots - Health News
5:04 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

For Obamacare To Work, It's Not Just About The Numbers

Ashley Hentze (left) gets help signing up for the Affordable Care Act from a volunteer in Florida. The government says that 40 percent of the expected enrollees for 2014 must be young and healthy for health insurance premiums to remain affordable.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 1:38 pm

Relatively few people have enrolled in new health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act exchanges launched this month. But some health care experts say it's early days yet — and that getting the right proportion of healthy, young new enrollees is just as important as how quickly people sign up.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that 7 million people will buy health insurance for 2014 through the new exchanges, integral to the implementation of the government's new health care law.

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Economy
2:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Tepid September Jobs Report May Be Just What Markets Desire

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

After a 16-day delay, the employment report for September was finally released today. The most anticipated report of the month was knocked off schedule by the government shutdown. And as NPR's John Ydstie reports, when it arrived this morning, it didn't quite live up to expectations.

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Economy
4:01 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Wilted Reputations Left By Shutdown And Default Threat

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 3:35 pm

President Obama said Thursday that the government shutdown and threat of default did unnecessary damage to both the U.S. economy and the country's reputation abroad.

Standard & Poor's concluded that the disruption subtracted about $24 billion from the economy and is likely to trim more than half a percentage point off growth in the final three months of the year.

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Economy
2:28 am
Wed October 16, 2013

When Will Congress' Inaction Push U.S. Into Default?

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 6:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned Congress tomorrow, the 17th of October, is the day the government will likely have only about $30 billion on hand, which sounds like a lot. But sometimes, daily expenditures get a lot higher than that. This does not mean the government will default tomorrow if Congress does not act. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the U.S. could manage to get through the next few days. But without a deal, the threat of default rises sharply next week.

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Economy
3:31 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

In A Debt Crisis, U.S. May Have To Decide Payment Priorities

House Republicans have proposed directing the Treasury Department to pay bondholders first if there is not enough money available to pay all the nation's debts.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 10:02 am

The government is just 10 days away from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that by Oct. 17, the department will likely have less money on hand than it needs to pay all its bills.

"The reality is that if we run out of cash to pay our bills, there is no option that permits us to pay all of our bills on time, which means that a failure of Congress to act would for the first time put us in a place where we're defaulting on our obligations as a government," Lew said on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday.

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Business
3:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Part-Time Workers Search New Exchanges For Health Insurance

The specialty grocer Trader Joe's says next year it will end its policy of offering health benefits for part-time workers. Instead, the store will offer part-timers cash to help buy coverage.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 2:26 pm

Across the U.S., many part-time workers have joined the millions shopping for coverage in the new health care marketplace. Some are uninsured. Others are being pushed into the new exchanges because their employers — companies that include Trader Joe's and Home Depot — decided to drop coverage for part-timers.

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Economy
2:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

What Happens To The Economy If The Government Shuts Down?

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's no guarantee that a shutdown, if it happens, will be short. The mere possibility of a longer stalemate was enough to push down markets here and abroad today.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If there is a shutdown, about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, although many will still be required to show up for work.

CORNISH: Social Security checks will still go out and the postal service will still deliver the mail.

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NPR Story
2:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Is The Fed Chair Succession Too Politicized?

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

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Economy
1:59 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Federal Reserve Stays The Course On Stimulus

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 7:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

A big question for watchers of the Federal Reserve is: Why? Analysts are asking why the Fed decided to continue stimulating the economy, buying $85 billion of bonds each month.

MONTAGNE: It was widely expected the Fed would start scaling back that stimulus as the economy improved. But in a statement, the Fed said conditions are not that great.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Fed Decides Not To Taper Bond Buying Yet, Surprises Analysts

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The stock market hit new highs today after the Federal Reserve made a surprise announcement. Investors and economists had expected the Fed to start winding down it's $85 billion a month stimulus program at its policymaking meeting today, but it didn't. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the Fed said it wanted to make sure a recent improvement in the economy and labor market continued before pulling back its stimulus.

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Business
3:36 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Fed Meeting Could Lead To Stimulus Reduction

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we are following other stories this week, including possible action by the Federal Reserve. Many analysts expect the Fed to announce the first reduction in its massive intervention in the economy, $85 billion per month, a decision that may come at the end of a two-day meeting. Here's NPR's John Ydstie.

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Economy
3:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Five Years Later, Lehman Brothers Fall Still Stings

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:59 pm

Sept. 15 is the anniversary of collapse of Lehman Brothers, which many see as a watershed moment in the financial crisis. We look back at a time when fear and uncertainty gripped financial markets and policymakers around the world and drove the world economy into the Great Recession.

Business
2:51 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Threat Of U.S. Strike In Syria Drives Up Oil Prices

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Crude oil prices are up about 20 percent over the past two months. On Tuesday, the price of the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $109. Events in Syria are driving the price spike. Syria doesn't produce much oil, but there is great concern that the conflict there might spill over and involve other Persian Gulf nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Business
3:42 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Is Government's Renewed Push On Mortgage Fraud Too Late?

Foreclosures increased dramatically as a result of risky subprime loans during the 2000s.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

"Remain aggressive." That's the message Attorney General Eric Holder says he has given to prosecutors around the country about pursuing wrongdoing by financial institutions — particularly, wrongdoing related to the financial crisis of 2008.

But as the five-year anniversary of the crisis approaches, the record of prosecutions against high-level Wall Street executives has been dismal.

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U.S.
3:13 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

3 Years Later, There's Still Work Left To Be Done On Dodd-Frank

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 4:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

Today, President Obama called all of the country's top financial regulators to the White House to get a progress report on implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. That's the set of reforms that were passed following the financial crisis. With the fifth anniversary of the financial meltdown nearing, the president wants to communicate a sense of urgency about following through on the reforms.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Fears Of A Diminished Stimulus Send Stock Market Falling

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 3:43 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. The stock market usually likes good news about the economy, but that's not always the case. This morning, stocks opened down sharply just after the government announced a surprisingly large drop in initial claims for unemployment benefits. In fact, claims fell to the lowest level since before the recession and the Dow Jones Industrials ended the day down 225 points, a decline of 1.5 percent.

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Economy
2:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Better GDP Report Doesn't Mean Economy Is In Good Shape

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 4:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief today from economists. The government reported that the economy is not growing quite as slowly as had been expected and there are some positive signs on the jobs front. A private sector jobs report released today could mean the main government employment report on Friday will also show some strength.

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Business
3:29 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Full-Time Vs. Part-Time Workers: Restaurants Weigh Obamacare

The California Tortilla chain is one company still deciding how to react to the new health care requirements for business, set to take effect next year.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Many businesses that don't offer health insurance to all their employees breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when they learned they'd have an extra year to comply with the new health care law or face stiff penalties.

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Business
3:20 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Wall Street Poised For Bernanke's Senate Panel Testimony

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 5:45 am

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke continues his two-day monetary policy testimony on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, the chairman appeared before the House Financial Services Committee.

Economy
2:09 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Bernanke Gives Economic Road Map With Uncertain Timeline

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:11 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

One month ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke introduced the idea of winding down the Fed's massive stimulus programs. On that announcement, the markets tanked. Today, Bernanke said pretty much the same thing. But this time, the markets yawned.

As NPR's John Ydstie explains, the Fed chairman appears to have finally found the formula to ease Wall Street's concerns.

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Business
3:05 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Boeing Takes Another Hit With Fire On Plagued 787 Dreamliner

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 4:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

An Ethiopian Airlines jet caught fire on the ground today at London's Heathrow Airport. It was a Boeing 787, also known as the Dreamliner, which has more than its share of troubles. The 787 has had serious problems with its lithium-ion batteries. In January, one overheated and another caught fire. The whole 787 fleet was grounded for more than three months after that.

Here's NPR's John Ydstie with more on what happened today.

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Politics
3:58 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Senators Express Concerns About Smithfield Foods Merger

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Pork was on the menu on Capitol Hill yesterday, but not the kind Congress produces. Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee were focused on the takeover of Smithfield Foods by a big Chinese company.

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NPR Story
2:21 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Lawmakers Express Concern About U.S.-Chinese Pork Deal

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee had a lot of questions today about the takeover of Smithfield Foods. That's because a Chinese company has offered to buy America's largest pork processor. Both Democratic and Republican senators have expressed concerns about the $4.7 billion deal and its potential effects on U.S. food safety and security.

NPR's John Ydstie has been following the testimony today and joins us now. Hi, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

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Shots - Health News
1:39 am
Wed July 3, 2013

One Man's Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All

Patients sit with their eyes bandaged at an Aravind Eye Care clinic in Madurai, India after cataract surgeries. Aravind performs more than 300,000 cataract surgeries annually.
Reinhard Krause Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 12:47 pm

David Green is a man on a mission to drive down the cost of medical devices and health services.

His tactic: Use market forces and slightly tweaked business strategies to make health care accessible to even the poorest people. And he's had some amazing success.

I caught up with Green (no relation to NPR's David Greene) at a company he is launching in Chicago that's taking on the high cost of hearing aids. He's demonstrating how to program his company's new hearing device on a cellphone.

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Shots - Health News
1:23 am
Tue July 2, 2013

To Make Hearing Aids Affordable, Firm Turns On Bluetooth

Sound World Solution's hearing device lets a user customize its settings using a Bluetooth connection and a smartphone.
Courtesy of Sound World Solutions

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:38 am

As many as 300 million people around the world need hearing aids. The vast majority of the 7 million people who get them annually are in the U.S. and Europe.

One big reason is cost. On average, a set of hearing aids rings up a tab of about $4,000. Most insurance policies don't cover them.

A company called Sound World Solutions is trying to do something about the limited reach of hearing aids by creating a high-quality hearing device that costs less than a tenth the normal price.

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Economy
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Fed Warns Stimulus Package Will Be Ratcheted Down

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Those Chinese figures helped Asian markets to take a big tumble today, as did yesterday's comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He said the Fed will likely begin slowing down its economic stimulus later this year. The Fed's massive bond buying program - which is a major part of that stimulus - is seen as a big reason behind recent rallies in the financial market.

NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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