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Business, the economy, and events that influence them. Presented by American Public Media.

04/24/2018: How'd interest rates get this high?

2 hours ago

(Markets Edition) A key benchmark for interest rates in America — the government's 10-year Treasury note — just crossed above 3 percent since the first time since 2013. We'll talk with economist Julia Coronado about some of the causes for this increase. Afterwards, we'll look at the disparities between the rich and poor in oil-rich Midland, Texas — an area where the median household income  is $70,000. Plus: A look at the quarterly earnings report of Google's parent company, Alphabet.

Torrance Neal cleans rooms at the Doubletree hotel in downtown Midland, Texas, but he considers it a side gig.

“This is my part-time job," Neal explained while on a break in the hotel lobby. "My night job is more my full-time job because I’m the operations manager for a cleaning company." 

Steel may be on the menu at the state dinner

5 hours ago

French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a permanent exemption from tariffs for the European Union.  Today will be the second day of Macron’s three-day state visit, and the biggest event will be the first state dinner since President Donald Trump took office 15 months ago. But it won’t be all glitz and glam. Macron is here to make a deal that will keep Trump from starting a potential trade war with Europe.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

04/24/2018: Globalism is facing a global backlash

6 hours ago

(U.S. Edition) As French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to meet with President Trump at the White House today, we'll discuss what's on the agenda. A major item you can expect: steel and aluminium tariffs. Afterwards, we'll look at how smaller banks are restructuring to get away from tougher Federal Reserve regulation, and then we'll talk with political scientist Ian Bremmer — founder of the political risk consultancy The Eurasia Group — about why he thinks globalism has failed. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Iran’s president today warned of “severe consequences” if President Trump pulls America out of the nuclear deal Iran signed with global leaders in 2015. Can French President Emmanuel Macron talk the American leader into staying in the pact during his state visit? Then, a report from McKinsey says Asian countries could add $4.5 trillion to their collective annual GDP by getting more women in the workplace.

Is globalism a failed policy?

7 hours ago

In the last few years, protectionist-driven political campaigns and policies have gained popularity in countries like the United States, Britain and France. Globalism, on the other hand, has more detractors than supporters these days. Does this mean that globalism has failed the world's citizens, and if so, how? 

04/24/2018: Can states regulate the internet?

7 hours ago

The days are numbered for federal net neutrality regulations. In response, some states are working on their own versions to prevent internet service providers (ISP) from blocking, slowing or charging more for some web traffic. Oregon, Washington and several other states have made new rules, but a bill working its way through the California legislature would go the furthest. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford Law School, about how a state can regulate a business that crosses state lines.


Forget comic book movies — in Hollywood, horror pays

17 hours ago

In Hollywood, horror pays. And the reason might have more to do with how cheap these films are to make relative to their production costs. Movies like John Krasinki's "The Quiet Place" continue to sell tickets weeks after the premiere weekend. So far, "A Quiet Place" has made more than $130 million at the box office, and that's on a $17 million production budget.

Despite documented risks to people and wildlife, a controversial pesticide has escaped regulation under the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration and now may receive additional protections from Congress.

The history of the song "Louie Louie"

20 hours ago

Back in the 1960s, the FBI starts hearing about a song with filthy lyrics. Lyrics so dirty that they launched an 18-month investigation to prove how obscene that song really is.

Three nights and days I sailed the sea

Me think of girl constantly 

On the ship, I dream she there

I smell the rose in her hair 

Louie Louie, oh no, me gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby 

04/23/2018: The cost of money

22 hours ago

We begin today with a number, a relatively simple number that brings with it meaning for everybody in this economy who has debt: 3 percent. That's the interest rate that the government's 10-year Treasury note is getting really close to, for the first time since January 2014. In isolation, it's not a huge deal, but in the context of the low-rate environment, it's really something. We'll start today by explaining all the hype.

(Markets Edition) The fiduciary rule — which says investment advisers and stockbrokers have to act in the best interest of their clients — is going away. We'll look at the standards that were previously in place, and what the Securities and Exchange Commission is pushing for now. Afterwards, we'll talk about one personal finance expert's decision to sue Facebook after he saw his image used in ads for get-rich-quick schemes. 

Net neutrality rollback begins

Apr 23, 2018

Businesses, states, Democratic senators are mounting challenges to the FCC repeal of internet protections.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Forecast is sunny for business

Apr 23, 2018

The National Association for Business Economics quarterly survey of corporate economists finds U.S. businesses are very upbeat about growth for the rest of this year. But those strong hiring plans and expectations of rising sales and profits are set against the realities of a rapidly tightening labor market. It’s just increasingly difficult for businesses to attract and retain the workers they need.

Meanwhile, recent tax legislation backed by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans appears to be having little impact on corporate decision-making.

04/23/2018: The history of the song "Louie Louie"

Apr 23, 2018

(U.S. Edition) In the coming days, the Supreme Court will feature arguments in some interesting cases. Today, we'll look at Lucia vs. the Securities and Exchange Commission, which focuses on whether judges within the SEC should be political appointees. Afterwards, we'll discuss what net neutrality advocates are still doing to challenge the Federal Communication Commission's repeal of the law. Plus: A conversation with reporter David Weinberg about the backstory of the famous song "Louie Louie."

04/23/2018: Where national divides run deepest

Apr 23, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Politics, income differences and immigration are some of the biggest factors dividing societies around the world, according to a new study commissioned by the BBC.  We’ll explain where the tension is strongest, and why people think their countries are more divided now than 10 years ago. Then, Fashion Revolution Week is raising awareness about transparency in the fashion supply chain as it marks five years since a factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,000 people.

If a wave of automation is coming, which countries are best prepared?

Apr 23, 2018

Robots are coming for all our jobs, right? It can be hard not to feel that way given the pace of automation. But if it really is inevitable, are we doing anything to prepare for it? Enter the Automation Readiness Index; a research project put together by The Economist and funded by Swiss robotics giant ABB.

Robots are coming for all our jobs, right? It can be hard not to feel that way given the pace of automation. But if it really is inevitable, are we doing anything to prepare for it? Enter the Automation Readiness Index, a research project put together by The Economist and funded by Swiss robotics giant ABB. It’s a global list ranking the nations most prepared to smoothly integrate “intelligent automation into their economies.” Marketplace Tech Host Molly Wood spoke with Guido Jouret, ABB’s chief digital officer, about which countries came out on top and how the United States is faring. 

A fundamentally different American economy?

Apr 20, 2018

Has the current administration “fundamentally changed the structure” of the American economy, as Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,  said? We break it down with David Gura from MSNBC and Ana Swanson from The New York Times. We also discuss International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s comments on the United States regarding the tax plan and what it means for American economic growth. Later, we talk about the push to reach a NAFTA deal before May and bilateral versus multilateral trade.

Global economic recovery eats through oil glut

Apr 20, 2018

This morning President Donald Trump turned his ire on OPEC: “OPEC is at it again,” he tweeted. “Oil prices are artificially Very High!” Sure, it’s convenient to blame someone for high gas prices. But the broader story — beyond the 280 characters that Twitter allows — is that something bigger is happening in the world oil market.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Looking for a luxury apartment? Try Pittsburgh

Apr 20, 2018

There's plenty to see in Pittsburgh's East End. Carnegie Mellon is based here. So is the University of Pittsburgh. And the hip neighborhood, Lawrenceville. Another thing you can find: plenty of construction, mostly apartment buildings with signs touting amenities – pools, gyms, rooftop decks.

It's time to get your financial life in order

Apr 20, 2018

Tax season may be over, but that doesn't mean you should stop thinking about your finances. That's one conclusion from John Schwartz of the New York Times, who decided that after many decades of keeping his nose to the grind and ignoring his letters from Vanguard, he should take a step back and look at how his financial life was really doing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued its first penalty under the leadership of Mick Mulvaney. Wells Fargo will pay a total of $1 billion to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as part of a settlement over charges tied to the company's mortgage and auto lending business. 

Wells Fargo will pay the federal government a billion dollars to settle charges of misconduct in its car and home loans. That's a lot, but only a small percentage of the banks' recent profits. It's also the biggest bank fine imposed by the Trump administration and the first by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the direction of Mick Mulvaney. He's no fan of the agency he's now in charge of, and he's still Trump's budget guy, so we had him on today to talk about all of it.

Wells Fargo will pay $1 billion to federal regulators to settle charges tied to its mortgage and auto lending business, the latest chapter in years-long, wide-ranging scandal at the banking giant. However, it appears that none of the $1 billion will go directly to the victims of Wells Fargo’s abuses.

In a settlement announced Friday, Wells will pay $500 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, its main national bank regulator, as well as a net $500 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

(Markets Edition) When it comes to the market, traders look at three influential figures: the chair of the Fed, its vice chair, and the president of the New York Fed. We'll talk to Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, about why some were "disturbed" by what John Williams, the next NY Fed president, recently had to say at a press conference in Madrid. Afterwards, we'll look at one major domestic appliance company that could come out ahead amid all this tariff talk. Whirlpool may have an advantage thanks to a protective tariff on foreign washing machines. 

Critics of President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs say the policies hurt U.S. manufacturers that use a lot of those materials. And one industry likely to feel the pinch of higher production costs: home appliance manufacturers. Still, at least one major domestic appliance company, Whirlpool Corp., may come out ahead, thanks to another protective tariff — on foreign washing machines.

Ideastream's Adrian Ma is with the Marketplace Hub in Cleveland.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, which was up 0.3 percent in March, indicates the economy looks pretty good heading into summer and fall. The index crunches forward-looking measures like building permits, factory orders and unemployment claims to predict where the economy will be six months from now. And it looks as if the economy is growing at a fairly strong rate. But there are potential clouds on the horizon: President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs and potential retaliation by China, which could lead to price spikes, industry contraction and layoffs.

04/20/2018: The cannabis brand wars

Apr 20, 2018

(U.S. Edition) There are reports that Wells Fargo is close to a $1 billion settlement with federal regulators after charging customers for car insurance they didn't need. On today's show, we'll recap the controversy. Afterwards, we'll talk to Drake Sutton-Shearer, CEO of PROHBTD Media, about how quality cannabis brands could start emerging within the next decade, Wall Street's valuation of the industry, and his push to change the "stoner" stereotypes surrounding the product. Plus: A look at the financial struggles General Electric is facing. 

We're still waiting to see which company will become the Grey Goose of marijuana.

Right now, there isn't a whole lot of brand awareness about specific cannabis companies. But with marijuana legalization on the rise, that could all change within the next decade.