Business

Planet Money
4:52 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

A Lost Decade For American Families

NPR

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 6:17 pm

American families got poorer in the first decade of the 21st century.

The wealth of the median U.S. household — the family at the middle of the middle class — fell from $106,000 in 2001 to $77,000 in 2010.

The fall was driven, not surprisingly, by the housing bust. Homes are the single largest asset for many families, and they represent a particularly large share of wealth for the middle class.

What's more, homes tend to be highly leveraged. People borrow lots of money to buy them. That means huge gains when prices rise — and massive losses when they fall.

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Technology
2:38 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Apple To Drop Google Maps From Mobile Devices

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 6:10 pm

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference Monday with the announcement of its own maps in the mobile operating system. It's Apple's bid to challenge the dominance of Google maps for all kinds of location-based apps. Maps underlie many important things people do with mobile and up until now Google has had a lock on maps.

All Tech Considered
11:32 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Facebook's Growth: A Tale Of Two Headlines

Are its days of "wild user growth" over, or is Facebook "eating the world"?
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

I love this. Here is a headline today at The Wall Street Journal's online edition: "Days of Wild User Growth Appear Over at Facebook."

And over at The Next Web: "Facebook is eating the world, except for China and Russia."

And the best part is the two sites really are telling the same story.

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Economy
9:34 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Why Is Poverty, Inequality Growing?

The number of people living in poverty is the highest it's been since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking poverty estimates. Plus, the gap between those earning the most and the least continues to grow. Host Michel Martin discusses the current state of poverty and income inequality with two experts on the subject, Timothy Noah and Peter Edelman.

The Salt
9:13 am
Mon June 11, 2012

The Psychology Of The Honor System At The Farm Stand

Swanton Berry Farm's famous honor till
Sarah Twitchell Flickr.com

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 10:04 am

In a state full of tasty surprises, count the Swanton Berry Farm, along the coast highway just north of Santa Cruz, California, among the most charming. At this pick-your-own, certified-organic berry field and farm stand cafe on the planted bluffs above a tumbling surf, you can pick or picnic with ocean views — and, if you're lucky, catch a glimpse of a grey whale and her calf migrating north from Baja.

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All Tech Considered
8:44 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Hey Celebs, Are You Lonesome Tonight? Siri's Gotcha

Zooey Deschanel appears in an iPhone 4S Siri commercial.
Apple.com

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 11:44 am

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Shots - Health Blog
7:35 am
Mon June 11, 2012

UnitedHealthcare Pledges To Keep Popular Coverage, Regardless Of Supreme Court

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 10:38 am

One of the nation's largest insurers said early Monday it would continue to follow some of the rules in the federal health law that are already in effect, including keeping young adults up to age 26 on their parents' plans and ending lifetime dollar limits, no matter what the Supreme Court decides.

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Mon June 11, 2012

'Relief Rally' Weakens As Markets Study Spanish Deal

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 11:07 am

  • NPR's Philip Reeves, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

After rising sharply earlier today, European financial markets have come off their highs as investors "question the logistics of the $125 billion bailout of Spanish banks and wonder ... whether Monday's gains in financial markets were nothing but a relief rally," Dow Jones Newswires reports.

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Election 2012
4:54 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Fundraising By Text Message

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE HOST: If you've ever felt a sudden urge to give money to a politician but you just couldn't get to your checkbook or your computer in time, well, the Federal Election Commission is getting ready to help. The Commission today might approve a proposal to allow contributions via mobile phone. Here's NPR's Peter Overby.

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Business
4:54 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Spain, one man is trying to make himself and his country healthier. Today's last word in business is: Fat for Charity.

Oscar Rando is selling his body fat for charity.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Well, not literally. Rondo is losing weight by walking and running the full length of Spain - almost 2,000 miles. Sponsors are donating about three dollars to charity for every gram of fat he loses. And for some perspective, there are 454 grams in a pound.

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Health Care
4:41 am
Mon June 11, 2012

For Uninsured In Ore., A Flat Fee For Health Care

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the U.S., as we all know, getting basic health care can be financially out of reach for many people who don't have insurance. Some doctors are trying to fill that need by charging patients a flat monthly fee for medical care.

From Oregon, we have story about one of those medical clinics where the doctor is effectively on retainer. Rachael McDonald of member station KLCC reports.

RACHAEL MCDONALD, BYLINE: Steven Kennedy sits in an exam room with Dr. Steven Butdorf. He's getting a physical.

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Around the Nation
4:39 am
Mon June 11, 2012

A Comeback For Downtown Cleveland

Outdoor dining spaces are filled on a warm spring day on E. 4th Street in downtown Cleveland. Like many former industrial towns, downtown Cleveland has seen a revival in the last few years to become an urban hotspot.
Joshua Gunter The Plain Dealer

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:11 am

Almost 11 years ago, Phil Alexander opened his company, BrandMuscle, in the affluent Cleveland suburb of Beachwood.

The company sells marketing software to corporate clients worldwide, and its offices have a lean, energetic vibe, with 20-somethings tossing around ideas in multiscreened meeting rooms or a comfortable coffee bar.

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Planet Money
2:39 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Three Ways To Stop A Bank Run

This is what you don't want.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:11 am

There's a slow-motion bank run happening in Europe, as depositors move their money from financially troubled countries like Greece and Spain to stronger countries like Germany.

Banks take depositors' money and lend it out. So even a strong bank is in trouble if all the depositors suddenly decide to pull their money out. A full-blown run can sink a bank in an afternoon.

Once a run starts, there are basically three ways to stop it.

1. Slow it down

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Judging The Health Care Law
2:34 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Health Care Decision Hinges On A Crucial Clause

For more than 200 years, the Supreme Court has interpreted the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Its latest test is the case challenging the Obama health care law.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 9:12 am

All of Washington is breathlessly awaiting the Supreme Court's imminent decision on the Obama health care overhaul. Rumors circulate almost daily that the decision is ready for release. As usual, those rumors are perpetrated by people who know nothing, but the decision is expected by the end of this month.

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The Salt
8:13 am
Sat June 9, 2012

To Grow A Craft Beer Business, The Secret's In The Water

Craft brewers are reaching markets far from their home breweries. In a Washington, D.C., store, beers from California, Colorado, Louisiana, Vermont, and elsewhere are for sale.
Bill Chappell NPR

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 7:47 pm

It's a good time to be a craft brewer, as Americans are thirsty for full-flavored and local beers. But when small breweries grow, they can also risk losing some of the "craftiness" their fans love. And when they expand, many brewers have to rewrite their recipes — starting with the water.

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The Two-Way
4:16 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Markets Post Best Week Of The Year

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 4:30 pm

The markets ended in positive territory for the fourth day in a row, capping off the best week this year.

Of course, last week, was painful with big losses. The Wall Street Journal reports on the numbers:

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Economy
3:09 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

As Economic Headwinds Pick Up, Employers Lie Low

Srinivas Konanki and his wife own a small laboratory device company near Boston. Concerns about the economy have left them wary of hiring new employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 4:59 pm

After adding a robust 275,000 new jobs back in January, job growth appears to be slowing. The Labor Department reports that the economy added only 69,000 jobs in May.

Meanwhile, despite the worst recession in generations, there are still countless small business owners plugging away around the country, seeking to expand and hire more employees.

"This year we hired two more technicians, and we hope to hire one more," says Srinivas Konanki, who employs 20 people at Pipette Calibration Services, a laboratory equipment company he owns with his wife.

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Planet Money
1:38 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

What America Spends On Groceries

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:13 pm

See related posts from this series, including What America Buys and What America Does For Work.

We spend less of our money on groceries than we did 30 years ago.

The way we spend our grocery money has also changed.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Chesapeake Energy CEO In Hot Seat Today

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.
Scott Detrow StateImpact/Pennsylvania

The NBA finals aren't the only big news in Oklahoma City.

This morning, shareholders of Chesapeake Energy, the natural gas driller at the center of the nation's hydraulic fracturing controversies, are meeting in Oklahoma City, where the company is headquartered. But the buzz at this gathering won't be about fracking or basketball. It will be about Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake's controversial CEO.

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Business
3:19 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Demands Outweighs Supply Of Spain's Bonds

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Spain's banking crisis.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: What a roller coaster week it has been for Spain. There are fears that Spain lacks the money to rescue its own troubled banks and may need Europe's help.

Madrid did hold a successful bond auction Thursday and markets responded, but only until the Fitch ratings agency downgraded Spain's debt rating several hours later.

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Business
3:19 am
Fri June 8, 2012

New Products Unveiled At Electronic Entertainment Expo

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here in Los Angeles this week, the video game industry gathered for its annual convention, the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3. Companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo unveiled new products and games.

For some highlights, we're joined by Harold Goldberg. He's a video game critic who was at the convention all week. Good morning.

HAROLD GOLDBERG: Good morning, Renee.

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Business
3:19 am
Fri June 8, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Crispy and cheesy and really, really profitable.

You might remember when we introduced you to Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco a few months ago. It's a taco made with a shell of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Taco Bell's chief executive hailed it as a flavor pairing waiting to happen. And after a huge media rollout, taco lovers have spoken by buying 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in about 10 weeks. That is a whole lot of tacos.

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Business
1:18 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Despite Low Rates, Investors Rely On Treasurys

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee Thursday that the U.S. economy faces some significant risks, and Fed officials are still deciding what to do about it.

His remarks disappointed a lot of investors who want the Fed to do something to revive growth. Bernanke spoke at a time when interest rates on government debt are hitting lows not seen since the Great Depression.

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Election 2012
1:02 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Will Economy Push Washington To Make A Deal?

President Obama speaks with House Speaker John Boehner during a meeting at the White House in 2011. A slowdown in job growth and a looming tax deadline could force the president to try to revive his "grand bargain" with Republicans.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

The Obama administration is searching for a "sweet spot" in economic policy: measures that could increase job growth right now without worsening the federal deficit. That task gained new urgency this month when the Labor Department reported a sharp slowdown in job growth in May.

The challenge could force the president to try to revive his "grand bargain" with Republicans.

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Business
12:12 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Which Workers Need Unions, And Which Don't?

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 12:34 pm

Union shops in the private sector have dwindled in recent decades. Now, public union leaders across the country worry that they're losing political clout, bargaining power and members. That raises questions about whether unions fallen victim to their own success, and who needs unions.

Economy
10:55 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Generation Rent: Slamming Door Of Homeownership

Neal Coleman and his wife, Rachel, are both in their mid-20s and attend graduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. They say renting makes more sense for them and their young daughter until their family is a bit more settled.
Courtesy of Neal Coleman

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 12:07 pm

Kristi Taylor can pinpoint the precise moment she let go of the dream of homeownership. It was a few months ago, as she and her husband and infant son were driving through a neighborhood of homes near their apartment in Athens, Ga.

"As we were passing through, I realized that I don't really look at houses like I used to, when we would point out homes and say, 'That can be ours someday,' " says Taylor, who is 28. Now, she says, "the idea of homeownership is so vague, it doesn't even strike me as something that's in our future."

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Economy Is Poised For More Growth, But 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms, Bernanke Says

A word cloud of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's prepared testimony to the congressional Joint Economic Committee.
wordle.net

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 10:37 am

"Economic growth appears poised to continue at a moderate pace over coming quarters," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is telling Congress this hour, and will be supported in part by additional "accommodative monetary policy" from the central bank.

While there's been a slowing in job growth, Bernanke says that Fed policymakers believe household spending has been "relatively well sustained" and are encouraged by "consumer spentiment [that is] ... up noticeably from its levels late last year."

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Greek Unemployment Hits Record High, Is Nearly Double Eurozone Average

An elderly man walked by riot policemen guarding the Interior Ministry in Athens on Wednesday.
Kostas Tsironis AP

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 1:14 pm

  • Joanna Kakissis, reporting for NPR

(From Athens, correspondent Joanna Kakissis tells us about the latest news regarding the troubled Greek economy.)

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Jobless Claims Dipped Last Week

There were 377,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

But in yet another mixed signal about how the economy's doing, that welcome dip is tempered by the fact that the "4-week moving average was 377,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 376,000." Economists watch that average because it offers a slightly larger look at the trend.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Thu June 7, 2012

After Big Gain, Markets Look To Rise Again; All Eyes On Bernanke

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 8:21 am

Following up on one of the best rallies in months on Wednesday, stock index futures are pointing to a higher start today on Wall Street, Dow Jones Newswires says.

The Associated Press says there are "hopes that Europe is preparing to take action to tackle the region's financial crisis and that the Federal Reserve will consider additional support for the U.S. economy."

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