Business

NPR Story
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In the world of advertising, the success of a billboard often depends on its location. And in the sporting world, what's a better local than the tall, imposing bodies of professional basketball players - which brings us to our last word in business: basketball billboard.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At an NBA meeting last week, team owners floated the idea of slapping corporate logos on team uniforms.

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Europe
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Euopean Central Bank Removes Risk Of Global Crisis

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

The turmoil in Europe appears to have died down, at least for now. Interest rates have fallen except for Spain. European Central Bank officials say they have contained the crisis — even if a recession occurs. But not everyone is so sure, and the recent rise in interest rates in Spain is making some investors nervous.

Law
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Generic Drug Industry Wins Patent Court Case

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The Supreme Court yesterday handed a victory to the generic drug industry. In a unanimous decision, the high court said generic drug makers can challenge how the big pharmaceutical companies describe their patents to the Food and Drug Administration.

It sounds like an obscure legal battle, but as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, it has potentially big implications for the industry.

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Business
1:01 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate

A crane lifts a Toyota to the top level of New York's Javits Convention Center on April 2, before the New York International Auto Show.
Joe Polimeni PR Newswire

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:23 am

Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.

The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."

The Schuberts still had a working car.

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It's All Politics
12:57 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Small Businesses Get Big Political Hype. What's The Reality?

Tourists walk near shops in the Maine seaside village of Northeast Harbor.
Dina Rudick Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:46 am

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a small-business tax cut bill offered up by Republicans. It's just the latest piece of legislation to focus on small businesses, which are widely praised in the political discourse as engines of job creation. The adoration is nearly universal — and it reflects something beyond economic reality.

"Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs in this economy, so our recovery depends on them," President Obama said in 2012 at a New Jersey sandwich shop where he met with small-business owners.

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Digital Life
3:44 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

In Noisy Digital Era, 'Elegant' Internet Still Thrives

Many computer users today use tools like Facebook MySpace to connect online. But some computer hobbyists still use pre-Web technologies to interact.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Before Facebook and MySpace transformed how we interact virtually, there was another kind of Internet — a 1980s network, where users connected via phone lines and communicated through simple lines of text.

And while that may sound outdated, that version of the Internet is still very much alive.

'A Lot More Elegant'

Pat McNameeking, a college student in Concord, N.H., is one champion of this throwback social network known as SDF, or Super Dimensional Fortress.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Warren Buffett Has Prostate Cancer; Detected At Early Stage, He Says

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that the billionaire investor has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Seth Wenig AP

Warren Buffett, 81, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his Berkshire Hathaway company announced Tuesday afternoon. The cancer is at Stage 1, according to MarketWatch. The billionaire investor's condition is not life-threatening, he says.

Buffett send a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to inform and reassure them. Here's the text of that letter:

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Digital Life
12:29 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

What Makes Games Like 'Angry Birds' So Addictive?

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 12:31 pm

Angry Birds — a mobile phone game in which players use a slingshot to propel birds at tiny little green pigs — has been a runaway hit since its 2009 release, with more than 700 million downloads, a TV show and a feature film in the works. It isn't alone. NPR's Neal Conan talks with New York Times Magazine critic-at-large Sam Anderson about people's fascination with — and addiction to — what Anderson calls "stupid games."

The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Shifting Into Reverse, Detroit Automakers Lose Some Market Share

A worker assembles a Silverado truck on the assembly line at the GM Flint Assembly plant in Michigan.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.

Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:45 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. But half that statement appears to be under challenge by one late rap star and some special effects, which brings us to today's last word in business - virtual comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALIFORNIA LOVE")

TUPAC SHAKUR: (Singing) California love.

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Politics
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Senate Republicans Block Debate On Buffet Rule

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:48 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

President Obama's so-called Buffett rule has slammed into a wall of GOP opposition. On the eve of tax day, Senate Republicans voted yesterday to block a measure that would have made mega-investor Warren Buffett and billionaires and millionaires like him pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. Although Buffett endorses such a rule, Senate Republicans call it an election year gimmick. Their Democratic counterparts insist it's all about fairness. NPR's David Welna has our story.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Business News

Apple share prices dropped more than 4 percent on the NASDAQ Monday — continuing a five-day decline for the maker of iPads and iPhones. In that span, the company's market value has dropped by almost $60 billion. Analysts say this may just be a price correction but warn that it could drag the markets down with it.

Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Tax Day Isn't Bad If You're Getting A Refund

The day that many dread is here: It's Tax Day. Of the 143 million federal tax returns filed last year, more than 80 percent qualified for a refund. Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the economics of tax refunds.

Presidential Race
1:01 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Did Obama's Policies Help, Or Hinder, The Economy?

President Obama signs the economic stimulus bill in February 2009, as Vice President Biden looks on. Experts disagree over the impact of the administration's economic policies on the recession.
Darin McGregor AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:14 am

The 2012 presidential election is approaching, and President Obama's fate may hinge on how well the economy fares over the coming months.

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been highlighting the economy's weaknesses. The former Massachusetts governor has made a similar claim about the president, and the recession, at almost every campaign stop.

"I don't blame the president for the downturn," Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier this year. "He didn't cause it. But he made it worse and made it last longer."

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Business
1:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:43 am

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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Business
12:32 am
Tue April 17, 2012

World Bank Names Obama's Pick As Its New President

Jim Yong Kim, 52, who immigrated from Korea at age five, is currently the president of Dartmouth College. He faced an international campaign challenging his nomination to lead the massive global development bank. Kim's selection continues a decades-long tradition of having a U.S. citizen lead the World Bank.

Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
10:02 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

One Roof, Three Generations, Many Decisions

Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida's full-time caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:52 am

Part of the Family Matters series

The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
10:01 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Family Matters: Meet The Families

AnnaBelle Bowers, 87, talks to her granddaughter Carley, 17 (right), and her friends after they returned from lacrosse practice. "I'm not rich money-wise, but with my family I'm a millionaire," Bowers says.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

Even as the recovery gains steam, record numbers of people are living under a roof where adult children, middle-aged parents and elderly grandparents must learn to live together. In a series called "Family Matters," NPR's Morning Edition explores the lives of three multigenerational households struggling with issues of money, duty and love.

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All Tech Considered
3:35 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Another Tech Bubble? Maybe Not

Jean-Paul Rodrigue Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 5:16 pm

It's beginning to feel frothy in Silicon Valley. Here are a few numbers:

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Latin America
3:06 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Panama Booms While Poor Watch From Afar

Tourists visit the San Felipe neighborhood in Panama City in December 2011. Panama is experiencing record economic growth, but many fear the benefits aren't trickling down to the poor.
Rodrigo Arangua AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 4:12 pm

The Central American nation of Panama is booming. Fueled by a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal, a thriving banking industry and capital flight from Venezuela, the tiny nation has the highest economic growth rate in the hemisphere.

But even as the government builds a subway system and markets the country as a tropical paradise for multinational corporations, not everyone is sharing in the prosperity.

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Economy
1:00 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

World Bank Selects Another American Leader

The World Bank has named Dr. Jim Yong Kim as its new president. Kim is a Korean-born American and currently the president of Dartmouth University. Kim is a health expert who doesn't have strong finance credentials. Audie Cornish talks with John Ydstie about Kim's appointment.

Economy
11:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Spring Is Here, Will The Housing Market Bounce Back?

Foreclosure filings in March fell to their lowest level in four years. Some analysts see the market healing and turning around, yet others argue the next wave of foreclosures are just around the corner. NPR's Chris Arnold discusses how housing markets are faring across the nation.

Business
2:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Business News

The action by China's central bank widens the range at which the currency can be traded on the international market. The move is seen as seen a step toward addressing foreign complaints that China was suppressing the value of its money to boost Chinese exports, and hurt foreign imports.

Business
2:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

'New Rules For Everyday Foodies'

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's turn now, to the economics of a good meal. Tyler Cowen is an economist, author of the blog Marginal Revolution, and a serious eater. He seeks to use his understanding of economics to zero in on the best food and best restaurants, and he shares what he's learned in a book called "An Economist Gets Lunch." Cowen is a fan of local food. But for the taste, not because he thinks it will save the world.

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Business
2:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

The Last Word In Business

It's in a ritzy section of town, so the company is hoping to appeal to high end customers with a retro farmhouse style decor. This includes Ottomans covered in vinyl cowhide fabric and the front of a 1960s van mounted on the wall.

Around the Nation
2:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Tornado Hits Wichita's Ailing Aviation Industry

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 5:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The tornado season started early in much of the nation and continued over the weekend. Spotters reported more than 120 tornadoes on Saturday. One killed five people in Woodward, Oklahoma. Others ripped into homes and businesses in Iowa and Kansas. And that includes the heart of the economy in Wichita, the aviation industry. Here's Frank Morris from member station KCUR.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
1:23 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Hoping For Payout, Investors Become Landlords

Renzo Salazar maintains the yard around a foreclosed house in Miami after the bank hired him to keep the home from falling into complete dilapidation.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 3:08 am

The housing market has a new frontier — turning foreclosed homes into rental properties. Some big-time investors are starting to buy up thousands of homes to turn into rentals. That might help shore up home prices. But some housing advocates are nervous.

For decades, most single-family homes available for rent have been owned by mom-and-pop landlords. Sometimes it's the nice old guy up the street who owns a couple of rental homes, and some even offer advice on the Internet.

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Religion
1:22 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government?

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with his 2012 budget plan. Ryan cites his Catholic faith in justifying his proposed cuts to social safety-net programs.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 7:45 am

What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?

That's a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.

After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus' command to care for the poor.

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Your Money
3:36 pm
Sun April 15, 2012

The Tax Man Cometh! But For Whom?

In the U.S., the top 10 percent of income earners pay 70 percent of all federal income taxes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 7:30 pm

It's that time of year again – tax week.

With the deadline for Americans to file their income taxes looming, there's a good chance you've heard or will hear from politicians, on cable news and on talk radio about those who pay little or no taxes.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said that we "have a situation in this country where you're nearing 50 percent of people who don't even pay income taxes." There are even those who say that there are nearly 50 percent of Americans who pay no taxes at all.

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Technology
6:00 am
Sun April 15, 2012

Redefining 'Hacker' In Technology Hotbed

Palo Alto, Calif., recently hosted a 12-hour bonanza for software developers, artists and families. The "Super Happy Block Party Hackathon" was a marathon for coders to make new software in a short amount of time. It also featured food trucks, music and homemade robots. Corey Takahashi reports.

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