Business

Planet Money
2:11 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Just How Blind Are Blind Trusts, Anyway?

J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:32 am

As Mitt Romney has faced questions about his investments and tax returns, the likely Republican presidential nominee has responded with two words of explanation: blind trust.

Romney keeps most of his wealth in a blind trust designed to prevent him from knowing exactly where his money is and what it's doing. It's a long tradition for presidents and candidates, though anyone can set one up if he wants to.

But it turns out that not all blind trusts are equally blind. Some are cast into complete and utter darkness. Others are more nearsighted.

Read more
Planet Money
12:02 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Episode 388: Putting A Price-Tag On Your Descendants

Waves pound a sea wall in Pacifica, Calif., during a storm in 2010. Small assumptions can make a big difference when putting a price-tag on future disasters.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 8:32 am

  • Listen to the Episode

Given a choice between $50 now and $100 in a month, many people would take the money now. But offered $50 in a year, or $100 in 13 months, they'd wait the extra month to double their money.

The lesson: People have a "present bias," says Frank Partnoy, a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego. "So people have more impatience in a one-month time period than they do in a one-year time period."

Read more
Planet Money
10:13 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Ni Hao, Siri! Apple Woos Asia, In Two Charts

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

In June, Apple announced that the iPhone's virtual personal assistant, Siri, had learned Chinese. The smartphone's operating system will feature Chinese search engine Baidu, plus popular video sites like Youku. Today the newest iPad arrives in China.

Read more
Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a recall from Ford.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: A recall from Ford Motor Company comes with a strong and unusual message. If you own a certain 2013 model of the Ford Escape, the company says stop driving it. Ford issued this warning yesterday and said dealers will come pick up the SUVs from owners and drop off a loaner car.

Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

GM Retirees Face Friday Pension Deadline

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You've got to escape from your Escape.

Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.

Read more
Economy
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Tough Austerity Plan Incites Spanish Protesters

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Spain, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in scores of cities yesterday, protesting austerity measures meant to pull the government out of the red. Sales tax is going up, and civil servants are taking pay cuts. All this as Europe readies a bailout of Spain of up to $125 billion.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: About 100,000 Spaniards flooded Madrid's center once the sun went down on another 100-degree day.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR CANNONS)

Read more
Business
2:39 am
Fri July 20, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Sylvia - Sylvia Woods, the name behind soul food haven Sylvia's.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's a restaurant, and for many, it's much more. The Harlem institution has been around for half a century, but it will never be the same because yesterday, Sylvia Woods died at the age of 86, on the same day New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was due to celebrate her legacy.

Read more
Planet Money
1:44 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:06 am

The health of public pension plans — the retirement plans for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state and local governments — has gotten plenty of attention lately.

Some plans are hurting, and numbers from state and local governments suggest their public pension plans are underfunded by about $1 trillion.

But that gap between what they owe and what they have on hand today is about to look bigger — much bigger, in some cases.

Read more
The Salt
3:19 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

As Drought Kills Corn, Farmers Fight Over Ethanol

Stunted corn grows in a field next to a cattle feed lot in rural Springfield, Omaha, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

We often talk about the "farm lobby" as though farmers spoke with a unified voice. And it's true, they usually try to.

But an unusually bitter and public fight is breaking out right now between the farmers who grow corn and other farmers who need to buy that corn.

Read more
The Salt
1:19 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

High-Tech Shortcut To Greek Yogurt Leaves Purists Fuming

A supermarket's dairy case with shelves of yogurt.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 10:30 am

America's food companies are masters of technology. They massage tastes and textures to tickle our palates. They find ways to imitate expensive foods with cheaper ingredients.

And sometimes, that technological genius leads to controversy.

Read more
Planet Money
12:29 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)

A marijuana cigarette in British Columbia. Our panel of economists agrees that criminalizing pot is a huge waste of resources.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 10:18 am

Tuesday's show presented the common-sense, no-nonsense Planet Money economic plan — backed by economists of all stripes, but probably toxic to any candidate that might endorse it.

You can still listen to the show, but we've had some requests for a post with our six-step plan spelled out in brief.

So here they are, along with a few words about each of the economists who helped craft it:

Read more
The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Ford Recalls Some 2013 Escapes, Tells Owners Not To Drive Them

Ford's Escape was redesigned for the 2013 model year. Last month, this one rolled of the assembly line in Louisville, Ky.
Brian Bohannon AP

Warning that a fuel line could leak, "potentially resulting in an underhood fire," Ford Motor Co. today told owners of about 11,500 model year 2013 Escapes "to stop driving their vehicles and to immediately contact their dealers."

The company said that "dealers will deliver a loaner vehicle to customers and will then transport their 2013 Escape to the dealership until the repair has been completed."

There have been no injuries reported in connection with the problem, the company said.

Read more
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).

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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).

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.)

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages