Business

Planet Money
7:35 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Wait, Investors Paid Germany To Hold Their Cash?

Monument to headier times: The euro logo outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. The International Monetary Fund has warned of possible deflation in parts of Europe.
Frank Rumpenhorst AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:00 pm

On Wednesday, investors paid Germany to hold on to their money for a couple years.

That's right: Germany got to borrow more than 4 billion euros (about $5 billion), and instead of Germany paying interest to its lenders, the lenders are paying Germany. This a lot like Citibank paying you a smidgen to carry a balance on your credit card or to take out a loan (without also charging you interest).

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose By 34,000 Last Week

There was a 34,000-increase in the number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

It says 386,000 people filed claims, up from 352,000 the week before. "The 4-week moving average was 375,500, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 377,000."

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Around the Nation
6:01 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Drought Hits Farmers And Residential Landscapers

The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.

Business
5:11 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Yahoo May Be Marissa Mayer's Biggest Challenge Yet

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:00 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to hear more now about the woman taking the reins of one of Silicon Valley's most famous and challenged companies. Marissa Mayer took the tech world by surprise this week when it was announced she was taking the CEO job at Yahoo. The buzz grew louder when it came out she's pregnant and planning on working during her maternity leave.

Mayer is known for being one of Google's first employees and its first female engineer. NPR's Laura Sydell has this profile of Mayer and what she brings to her new job at Yahoo.

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Business
2:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Capital One Settles Over Vendors' Missteps

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:01 am

Capital One Bank will pay $210 million to settle federal charges that it tricked credit card customers into buying costly add-on services like payment protection and credit monitoring. The case is the first enforcement action from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Health Care
2:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Health Care Is An Advantageous Topic For Candidates

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The Supreme Court made a decision on President Obama's health care law, but did not end the debate. Voters in battleground states remain polarized about that law. There are signs, though, that the gap between opponents and supporters has become a little smaller. This is the first NPR poll of the 2012 general election season, and we have more, this morning, from NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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NPR Story
2:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:01 am

United Airlines posted a deal last week that got Brian Kelly's attention. He writes a blog about frequent flyer miles called "The Points Guy." The flight he was looking at was to Hong Kong that would require four frequent flyer miles.

NPR Story
2:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Interest Rate Scandal Follow Up

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:01 am

An influential group of bankers comes up with the critical interest rate known as the LIBOR. The world uses it as a benchmark for how much to charge consumers on mortgages and other loans. For more on how the rate is set, Renee Montagne talks to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times.

Presidential Race
1:07 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Tax Professionals Scrutinize Mitt Romney's Returns

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Bowling Green, Ohio, on Wednesday.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:58 am

President Obama's campaign continues to hammer presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney over the GOP challenger's refusal to release more of his tax returns. Romney has provided one year's record and promised a second year's worth of returns. But even some of his fellow Republicans now say that's not enough.

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The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Is American Stalling On A Merger With US Airways?

US Airways CEO Doug Parker waits to be introduced prior to his address to a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:05 pm

Could it be that American Airlines CEO Tom Horton is resisting the warm embrace of US Airways CEO Doug Parker over a little thing like money?

During a National Press Club luncheon Wednesday, Parker didn't exactly shoot down suggestions that American's leadership has been stalling on a merger of the two carriers because of the potential for personal gain.

Asked whether Horton is focused on the payday he would get if American were to remain independent a while longer, Parker hesitated. For more than 8 seconds, his answer was: "Um. The. Uh. Let's see."

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Planet Money
3:27 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Capital One's Credit-Card Settlement In Context

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:58 pm

The federal government's new consumer protection bureau notched its first major enforcement action today. Capital One Financial has agreed to shell out $210 million to settle allegations that it tricked credit card customers into buying unwanted services — mostly credit insurance and similar products — while activating credit cards.

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Business
2:07 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

A Look Back At MSNBC's Heady Early Days

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR.

On Monday, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its office suite. CEO Steve Ballmer called it the most vibrant, exciting new version of Windows in years. He said it feels to us a lot like 1995, which happens to be when our commentator Andrei Codrescu got a close-up look at the company.

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Economy
12:23 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Rethinking Prosperity: Ideas For 'Fixing The Future'

Raquel Rodriguez and Sylvia Barrios work at Yo Mama's Catering Cooperative, the first worker-owned catering business in Austin, Tx.
JumpStart Productions LLC

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:42 am

In the documentary Fixing the Future, reporter David Brancaccio traveled across America to talk to people who are working to reinvent the American economy. Through innovative approaches to creating jobs and wealth — like time banking, worker cooperatives, local currencies and community banking — Americans are rethinking how we measure prosperity and calculate GDP.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden talks with Brancaccio about new experiments in the economy of the future.

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Opinion
9:20 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Weekly Standard: Time To Get Tough With The Banks

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally at Horizontal Wireline Services July 17 in Irwin, Penn.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Irwin M. Stelzer is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute, and a columnist for the Sunday Times (London).

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Opinion
9:20 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The New Republic: Where's The Outrage Over LIBOR?

The Canary Wharf headquarters of Barclays Bank, who have been more than $450 for manipulating the LIBOR inter-bank lending rate, on June 28 in London, England. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said the bank's management has 'serious questions' to answer regarding their practices.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Noam Scheiber is a senior editor at The New Republic.

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Opinion
9:19 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The Nation: Can LIBOR Force U.S. Banking Reform?

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill July 17 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

John Nichols is a Washington correspondent at The Nation.

As lies go, none is greater than the one that suggests banks are capable of "self-regulation."

Given authority over their own affairs, through fantasies such as "self-reporting," CEOs, CFOs and COOs who travel in limousines, wear very expensive suits and give to all the right charities will do what comes naturally to them: lie.

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Planet Money
7:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Hurricane Doubts And Salvation Army Socks

Cesar Rodriguez American Red Cross

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:53 am

Friday's pieces on the Red Cross and the lasting harm it suffered after it briefly charged soldiers for doughnuts during World War II drew a big response. (A longer version made up the bulk of Friday's show, while a shorter version aired that afternoon on All Things Considered.)

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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Around the Nation
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Politics Weighs Down San Bernardino's Economic Problems

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:41 am

The city of San Bernardino, Calif., is expected to declare a fiscal emergency, and officially file for bankruptcy on Wednesday. The declaration would be the third by a California city in recent weeks. Some analysts believe San Bernardino's problems may be more about its dysfunctional local politics.

Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some surprise earnings are at the top of NPR's business news.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Are Pagers Obsolete?

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story is for people who go for old-school technology. If you're the kind of person who owns a tube television - not one of those flat screens - nothing wrong with that. Or maybe you're the kind of person who has an old Walkman with cassette tapes hiding in a drawer somewhere. Maybe you even still use it. And if you're holding on to technology that others have deemed obsolete, you are not alone.

Reporter Tracey Samuelson found some dated devices in a place that might surprise you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)

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Economy
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Fed Chief Gives Gloomy Economic Review

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We begin our program with two very different views of the economy. Two observers of the economy think the long-term looks very good, as we'll hear in a moment.

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Economy
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Update

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:58 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If Ben Bernanke is frustrated by the economy, as he seems to be, he might look at a recent issue of The Economist magazine. Editors there see enough strength that they saw fit to print an illustration of Uncle Sam as a bare-chested muscleman.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about that and more with regular guests on this program, Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist. Welcome back to the program.

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: Nice to be here.

INSKEEP: And David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal. Hi, David.

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NPR Story
2:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Would-Be Homebuyers Appear To Be More Confident

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the nation's homebuilders are feeling more optimistic than they have since March, 2007, just before the beginning of the Great Recession. What's more, the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has posted its largest one-month gain in roughly a decade.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: David Crowe, the chief economist at the Home Builders Association says things are definitely looking up. It's a trend that began last September.

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NPR Story
2:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:39 am

One big reason Canadians have pulled ahead, is the U.S. housing bust destroyed a lot of wealth. Home values in Canada have remained steady, and lately, they've even enjoyed a housing boom.

All Tech Considered
5:04 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

New Yahoo CEO Among A Rare Few: Women Execs With Tech Creds

Marissa Mayer left Google to become the CEO of Yahoo. She was Google's 20th hire and is responsible for the look and feel of many of Google's major products.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 6:49 pm

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HSBC Executive Resigns During Money Laundering Hearing

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:06 pm

David Bagley, HSBC's head of group compliance, resigned in the middle of a Senate hearing today that was looking into charges that the bank had been lax in meeting government requirements, allowing Mexican cartels to launder money and giving terrorists access to the American banking system.

Bloomberg reports:

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Business
2:55 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

All Eyes Are On Yahoo's New Female CEO

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Marissa Mayer started work today at Yahoo. The fact that Yahoo's new CEO is a woman - and a young woman, just 37, has generated attention, but then came more unusual news. Marissa Mayer is pregnant. She's due to have her first baby in early October.

She told Fortune magazine: My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it. That, as you can imagine, has amplified this moment as a significant one in the history of women leaders in Silicon Valley.

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Business
2:54 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HSBC Accused Of Letting Cartels Launder Money

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

A Senate committee looked at the failure of HSBC bank to police money laundering.

Economy
11:58 am
Tue July 17, 2012

States Make Tough Calls To Close Budget Gaps

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:30 pm

Over half of U.S. states will have to close a combined budget gap of 55 billion dollars, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in the 2013 fiscal year. To avoid raising taxes, most states are implementing continued cuts to deal with budget shortfalls.

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