Business/Economy | KERA News


FCC targets net neutrality

2 hours ago

The next target of the Trump administration's regulatory rollback appears to be net neutrality. The Obama-era rule that says all internet traffic has to be treated equally. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to release a new net neutrality rule this week reversing that decision.

Here's how net neutrality works. Think of the web as a highway.  Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon are the on ramps.  Content providers like Netflix are the cars. All going at the same speed.

Holiday jobs changing to keep up with online demand

4 hours ago

Some of the country’s major retail chains are in trouble this holiday season, closing stores and losing evermore sales to online shopping sites. And yet, hiring of temporary seasonal retail workers is predicted to be about on par with 2016, according to a report by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas.

(U.S. Edition) The Trump administration is now set to roll back network neutrality, which says all internet traffic has to be treated equally. We'll explain how all of this would work. Think of the web as a highway, and content providers like Netflix as the cars who now may have to pay extra for high-speed lanes. Next, we'll discuss the European Union's decision to choose new cities to host two European agencies that had been based in London.

Earnings are out this today for the Campbell Soup Company, and investors are likely to hear more about the company’s move toward plant-based foods. Not only has the company been buying up specialty companies like juice maker Bolthouse Farms, but last month Campbell’s joined a new trade group, the Plant Based Foods Association. What's behind these moves from the company known for its iconic chicken noodle and other soups?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Tencent — a huge Chinese tech firm that's barely known globally — has jumped in value to over half a trillion dollars to become one of the biggest companies in the world. Afterwards, global food prices could start to rise in 2018 because of uncertainty over climate and trade deals, according to a report out today by Rabobank. Then, in a global first, a London company called Bio-Bean is using coffee-waste powered London buses.

Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, "the Angelina Jolie of her day," was also an avid inventor and the person behind advances in communication technology in the 1940s that led to today’s Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Alexandra Dean is the director and producer of a new documentary about Lamarr called “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.”

Tech in retail, from the good to the gimmicky

5 hours ago

Stores are trying their hardest this holiday season to compete with online shopping by using technology to encourage more in-store buying. Some of this tech is already noticeable. There are more sales associates on the floor available to ring you up with a mobile devices, more in-store charging kiosks for customer's to park their cell phones while they shop, and interactive "magic mirrors" that let customers call for help or share photos of what they're trying on with friends or on social media.

The National Retail Federation estimates that shoppers will spend around $680 billion this holiday season, up 4 percent from last year.  In an effort to compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are trying to figure out what tech they can add to enhance the shopping experience, like phone charging kiosks and interactive "magic mirrors." Marketplace’s Adriene Hill spoke with Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru about how tech is changing how we shop in stores. 

Disaster relief bill funding hits roadblock

17 hours ago

The Trump administration has asked Congress to pass the third disaster-relief spending bill this year in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the devastating California wildfires.

Germany won't have a government anytime soon

18 hours ago

Germany still has no government. The leading party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union, has been unable to form a coalition with rival parties for control of the parliament as is customary in German politics. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talks with Eric Graydon, a business reporter based in Berlin, about the ramifications of this development for the rest of Europe.

Kai Ryssdal: This is obviously a political story but there is—there are rather— some some fundamental economic issues behind it right?

Immigrant lending clubs provide capital, at a cost

18 hours ago

When Chinese immigrants in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park have problems — legal, financial, marital — they come to see John Chan.

Lately, they’ve been coming to John Chan about money — specifically the collapse of informal lending clubs known as "biao hui."

The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, legally challenging a $85 billion deal that would give the telecom giant control of a media empire including CNN, Warner Brothers, HBO, and other major media brands.

Should VR headsets be "ugly and a little awkward"?

19 hours ago

With the stipulation that there are always new fads in the technology world, one of the most enduring tech trends is virtual reality. Facebook, Google, everybody who's anybody in Silicon Valley is developing something in VR.

Why the House tax plan has students worried

20 hours ago

The major House bill overhauling the tax code would roll back several deductions and credits benefiting college students and their families, saving money for the government but potentially raising the cost of an education.

11/20/2017: You can't spell antitrust without AT&T

20 hours ago

You might have seen it coming. President Donald Trump decided not to reappoint Janet Yellen to a second term chairing the Federal Reserve, and today Yellen announced she's leaving the Fed completely once her successor is confirmed. The way terms of the board of governors are set up, she could have stayed for another seven years. We'll talk about what's next for her and the central bank. Then, we'll bring you the latest on the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, which the Justice Department is trying to block.

Janet Yellen to depart the Fed, once Powell is confirmed

21 hours ago

After President Donald Trump decided not to reappoint Janet Yellen to a second term chairing the Federal Reserve, it seemed like a matter of time before she announced her departure. And then, this morning, Yellen said in a letter to the president that she'll be leaving the Fed completely once her successor is confirmed.

The word "completely" is key because, due to the terms that the governors work under, Yellen could have stayed for another seven years as a member of the board of governors.

But she chose not to stay. And therein lie some changes for the Fed.

Killing the "death tax": Is it fair?

23 hours ago

With the U.S. Congress determined to get tax reform done before the end of the year, one of the taxes on the chopping block is the estate tax. Up till now, if you had a lot of money —  more than $5.5 million for an individual or $11 million for a couple — and you wanted to leave it to your kids when you died, Uncle Sam would get a piece. And not a small piece: 40 percent.

(Markets Edition) On today's show, we'll take a peek at what leading indicators have to say about our economy. Turns out it's looking much better because our major trading partners are on a roll. Afterwards, we'll look at news that a former Obama official — Maria Contreras-Sweet — is making a $275 million bid for The Weinstein Co., with plans to reform it by installing a female-majority board. And finally, we'll discuss what the GOP's planned tax overhaul would mean for independent contractors. 

Former Obama official makes bid for Weinstein Co.

Nov 20, 2017

The movie studio The Weinstein Co., has seen its value plummet after numerous allegations of sexual abuse by its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

It’s been looking for a buyer, and now it appears to have at least one offer. Maria Contreras-Sweet — the head of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama — has brought together a group of investors that’s offering $275 million for the embattled movie studio.

There's news a former Obama administration official is leading a team that has offered to buy the disgraced Weinstein movie studio. 

Maria Contreras-Sweet, who used to run the Small Business Administration, is reportedly offering $275 million for the company. If the deal goes through, the plan is to set up a majority female board and establish a $30 million fund to support those allegedly abused by Harvey Weinstein. 

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) report for October is expected to rebound from a 0.2 percent decline the previous month. That drop—the first in a year—resulted in part from weak employment and residential construction activity tied to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to the Conference Board. (LEI is compiled from ten economic indicators—including first-time unemployment claims, factory orders, building permits, stock prices and interest-rate spreads.)

(U.S. Edition) In Germany, talks aimed at forming a ruling coalition fell apart last night. Chancellor Angela Merkel won the most votes in a general election in September, but not enough to rule outright. On today's show, we'll take a look at the current state of Germany's economy and what political instability could mean for it. Afterwards, we'll look at Toshiba's financial woes: it faces $6 billion in liabilities because its U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse is in bankruptcy.

11/20/2017: German coalition talks fail

Nov 20, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … German Chancellor Angela Merkel is back to square one after a potential partner walked out of negotiations to try and form a coalition government. We find out what the political uncertainty means for Europe's largest economy.  Afterwards, the Japanese corporate giant Toshiba's shares fell nearly 5 percent on news it's trying to raise more than $5 billion through a massive new stock listing. Then, we hear how Cuba's recent boom in tourism could be reversing as diplomatic relations with the United States become icy again. 

Predicting the technology of the future for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles

Nov 20, 2017

The city of Los Angeles has more than a decade to plan for the 2028 Summer Olympics. That means upgrades to sports venues, transportation and security. The thing is, no one can predict exactly what technology will look like that far into the future. For a little perspective, the iPhone came out just 10 years ago. And back then, we didn't have Google Chrome, Uber or the 4G network.

11/20/2017: Planning for the 2028 Olympics

Nov 20, 2017

Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics in 2028. That gives the city more than a decade to plan the international event. But how do you do that if no one knows what technology will look like in 2028, and how it will affect the way athletes compete, judges judge and viewers at home watch? Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks with Proday’s Sarah Kunst about everything from body-enhancing technology to LA’s notorious traffic.

11/17/2017: Taxes, trade deficits and peanut butter

Nov 17, 2017

On today's Weekly Wrap, we're consumed by tax reform and discuss voodoo economics, which is a euphemism for trickle-down economics coined by a Republican. Then it's on to President Trump's goal to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and whether or not the tax plan could further that. And in Zimbabwe, negotiations continue for a political settlement after Tuesday's intervention by the country's military. Finally, we play a clip from this season of The Uncertain Hour about how one ordinary citizen helped change the peanut butter industry.

Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post and Linette Lopez of Business Insider join us to discuss this week’s business and economic news. We discuss the viability of trickle-down economics, the concept the new GOP tax bill is built upon, and it’s rocky history in the public eye. We also talk about the differing versions of the tax bill going through both the Senate and the House. Plus, how will this tax bill truly affect both smaller and larger businesses? 

Save the world by scaling down your Thanksgiving turkey

Nov 17, 2017

It's the weekend before Thanksgiving, and odds are, you already have a menu in mind, whether it is family traditions, potluck plans or maybe even some new recipes. Mark Bittman, author of "How To Cook Everything" and, most recently, the new edition of "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," hopes it won't be meat. 

NFL owners may be headed for a showdown

Nov 17, 2017

This has not been the greatest of seasons for the NFL.

There's been the political turmoil over players taking a knee during the national anthem, the declining television audiences, and there's now some boardroom drama in a $14 billion-a-year enterprise. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is in a back and forth with his fellow owners over whether to renew Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract.

So far, Jones has tried to slow or halt the negotiations. And his interference is threatening to become a PR problem for the NFL. 

What’s peanut butter?

That’s the question the Food and Drug Administration was trying to answer in 1959. You’d think it’d be an easy one. They did too.

Federal regulators first set the definition of peanut butter at 95 percent peanuts, five percent sweeteners, oils, and other stuff. Because that’s what peanut butter is, the FDA reasoned. It’s peanuts.

What they didn’t know is that first, short memo would set off a long, complicated legal battle that would change the way we think about food in this country.