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  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

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

The White House budget proposal would cut SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as food stamps, by $193 billion over 10 years. Right now a family of six gets about $900 a month in food aid. Under Trump’s proposal, that would be the cap, even for households with more people. Many families that receive SNAP and have more than six people are extremely poor — and have multiple young children.  

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Travis Bubenik

Jack Gregg with tech company Honeywell shows me around a sort of new car showroom for companies shopping for “smart” oilfield gear. The energy industry is increasingly investing in ways to make oil production easier and cheaper. Companies are using cloud technologies and mobile devices. The time-consuming work of driving out to a field to check on equipment can now be done from afar.

David Brancaccio

If your financial awareness was formed in the 1980s and 1990s, you may have learned to expect too much out of the stock market. There was a long Reagan-Bush-Clinton-era run that led people to believe the stock market had almost magical powers.

But since then, returns haven't been quite the same — a dip that may be playing a role in our country's retirement crisis


You've heard it before: the robots are coming and they're going to steal our jobs. But, wait a second — the Economic Policy Institute has crunched the data and is now arguing that the effects of automation are a little overstated. One of the authors of the report, Lawrence Mishel, joined us to break down why and what he thinks workers should actually be worrying about. Then to cap off the week, we'll play Silicon Tally with Rachel Metz, an editor at the MIT Technology Review. 

05/26/2017: The future of global trade

14 hours ago

President Trump is preparing for his first G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, where trade policy and climate change will be on the agenda — topics that he and other countries don't exactly see eye to eye on. On today's show, we'll take a closer look at these sources of tension. Afterwards, we'll discuss how much U.S. lemon growers could lose out on from the USDA's decision to lift an Argentine lemon ban, and then examine how the affordable housing crisis is affecting minority families. 




Andy Uhler

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands?

Tax collectors are crying poor

May 25, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney were on Capitol Hill this week sounding the alarm on the debt ceiling. That’s the limit on how much debt the government can rack up. Mnuchin and Mulvaney said Congress might have to lift or suspend the debt limit sooner than planned. Mulvaney said that’s because tax revenues are coming in slower than he expected. Why is there a revenue shortfall?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faced his second day of grilling on Capitol Hill today, this time appearing before the Senate Finance Committee to discuss his boss's proposed budget for next year. Baked into that budget is the assumption that the U.S. economy will start growing at 3 percent or higher by the year 2021, which is about the average for the past 60-plus years. But it's a lot faster than the more sluggish rate of around 2 percent we've been stuck at since the recession.

3 things you may have missed about Trump's budget

May 25, 2017
Janet Nguyen

President Trump released his budget proposal this week, a plan that could have long-ranging consequences on the future of the U.S. economy, education system and country's voting preferences. 

With many programs expected to see billions slashed, let's take a closer look at the specific programs that could be negatively impacted and the rationale behind such huge cuts.  

First, what’s going to happen to the debt ceiling?

Trump’s plan calls our economy “broken” and “stagnant,” alerting readers to the country’s $20 trillion debt.

Here's why so much news seems to break late in the day

May 25, 2017
Adrienne Hill

The early evening on the East Coast has become a pretty dramatic time of day. Phones start pinging with news alerts. Ping. Ping. Twitter goes crazy. Cable-news anchors jump in with breathless breaking news reports.

Even White House aides live in "dread" of 5 o’clock; worried about the latest news dump, reports The New York Times.

Why is that the time of day it seems like big news has been breaking?

Is the craft movement making service jobs hip?

May 25, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

What makes a job "cool?" That's the question behind Richard Ocejo's book, "Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy." Ocejo, an associate professor of sociology at John Jay University and The City University of New York," interviewed bartenders, distillers, barbers and butchers to understand why these folks pursue a craft service career. Ocejo even joined the bandwagon and got a job as an intern butcher at Dickson's Farmstead Meats in New York.

David Weinberg

In January of next year, California will become the largest state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is already legal in the state. Now, some cash-strapped cities in California are hoping to revive their struggling economies by becoming the first to open their doors to the marijuana industry.

05/25/2017: What, me worry?

May 25, 2017

We've talked a lot about the economic anxiety normal Americans face every day, but today we're casting and eye toward economic anxiety in and about Washington. First, the White House's budget. There are some assumptions that don't quite add up, but today Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated his confidence that tax cuts, deregulation and trade policy will ratchet up economic growth. But what if it doesn't? Then: Mnuchin and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney both testified on Capitol Hill this week to sound the alarm about the deb limit.

Jana Kasperkevic

On Wednesday evening, Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s lone House seat, allegedly “body-slammed” Guardian U.S. political reporter Ben Jacobs and broke his glasses in the process. The altercation took place when Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte for his take on the recently released Congressional Budget Office score of the new health care replacement bill. The exchange was recorded by Jacobs and later released to public by the Guardian.

Let’s do the numbers: the 'Star Wars' empire

May 25, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Happy 40th birthday, "Star Wars"! May the Force be with you.

Disappointment over declining oil prices abound. OPEC had agreed to make production cuts to help with an oil glut, but it seems these policy changes aren't helping — and neither is the U.S. We'll look at how America's own production habits undercuts the cartel's. Afterwards, we'll examine how state insurance markets that get waivers for pre-existing conditions would react to the GOP's new health care bill, and then talk about the stock market's inability to yield the magic it used to.

The Congressional Budget Office has released its report on the health care bill passed in the House of Representatives. It projects an additional 23 million people would be uninsured under that bill. And it also imagines what the insurance market would look like in states that take advantage of one of the bill’s key provisions: waivers from federal rules on pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits. 

The struggle is real for Sears Holdings — the company behind Sears and Kmart. The once-powerful brand warned investors back in March that there was “substantial doubt” about its future. This week, Sears announced it’s pushed back a deadline on a $500 million loan by six months. That’s got Sears vendors even more anxious about a looming bankruptcy.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

NYU program piles on classes for early graduation

May 25, 2017
Kristin Schwab

Colleges across the country are trying new ways to confront the rising cost of tuition. One increasingly popular option: accelerated degrees.

New York University recently announced a program that helps students graduate a semester early by taking extra courses throughout the year and during winter and summer breaks. There are similar programs at the University of San Francisco and American University in Washington, D.C., among others.

First-time homebuyers are taking out more new loans

May 25, 2017
Ryan Kailath

The number of people taking out new home loans is at a three-year low, according to a report out today from the real estate data firm ATTOM. But one group taking out more new loans, ATTOM said, is first-time homebuyers.

Mortgage rates are rising, which means buying the same priced home costs more money every month. And that naturally scares some people away. So what edge do these first-time homebuyers have?


If you're an independent video game company, it can be hard to get exposure. Ian Bogost, an interactive gaming professor at Georgia Tech, joins us to talk about issues of access and discovery within the indie game market. Plus: a conversation with The Economist's Daniel Franklin, author of the new book "Megatech."


Part of Trump's agenda during his meeting with NATO leaders includes pushing them to join an anti-ISIS coalition and invest more in their militaries. We'll take a look at the numbers behind Europe's defense spending. Then back in the U.S., we'll discuss the increase in mortgage co-signing for first-time home buyers, and explore NYU's new effort to help college students graduate early. 

Kai Ryssdal

There's finally a price tag on the amended American Health Care Act that was passed by the House of Representatives almost three weeks ago. The report from the Congressional Budget Office is sort of like the report card for the bill. It explains what it’s going to do and how much it’s going to cost.

Online shopping is sometimes just that — shopping. The actual buying happens later — in an actual store. Until now, retailers haven’t been able to connect those dots. Google says it has a tool that will let them connect online clicks to in-store buys. Good for Google, which may be able to sell more search ads. But maybe not so good for us. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Kai Ryssdal

Arguably no company has done more for the cause of digital money than PayPal. But after Venmo, where does PayPal take our money next? And more importantly, how does it keep that money safe? Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and got some answers about cybersecurity and the digitization of money. An edited transcript of their conversation is below. 

Trump's NATO visit is going to be awkward

May 24, 2017

President Trump has arrived in Brussels on the latest leg of his first official foreign trip since his election. Apart from meeting European leaders, he will visit NATO’s shiny new headquarters in the Belgian capital. This could be a tricky visit. During the election campaign, Trump was not overly complimentary about the alliance.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was on the Hill today defending the president’s 2018 budget request before a House appropriations subcommittee. The White House has proposed cutting or shrinking more than 30 federal education programs, shaving more than 13 percent off the overall budget. That’s the biggest proposed cut to the department’s discretionary funding since the Reagan administration. And there’s a lesson in that history about the reality of presidential budgets.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Mobile banking could ruin retail, or save it

May 24, 2017

Venmo. Bitcoin. If there's one company that's become synonymous with digital money, it's PayPal. On this episode of the Corner Office, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Dan Schulman, the who became CEO of PayPal in 2014. They talked about the future of digital money, how PayPal keeps closes tabs on its users in order to prevent fraud and how mobile banking could change the landscape of small businesses. According to Schulman, mobile banking may not destroy brick-and-mortar stores but re-envision them.  

How health care is healing Erie's ailing economy

May 24, 2017
Erika Beras

Like a lot of people in Erie, Marc Bryant spent decades in manufacturing. He was an engineer at Hammermill Paper, which became International Paper. And then the mill closed in 2002. Bryant said some of his co-workers retired. Others, “honestly, ended up on a bar stool somewhere complaining about how things were bad until their benefits ran out,” he said.

And the rest did what he did.

“I elected to, at the age of 48, take a leap of faith and go back to college,” he said.

05/24/2017: The CBO has spoken

May 24, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the American Health Care Act today. That's the revised version, passed by the House already. The CBO says this bill will leave 23 million people without insurance by 2026, while reducing the deficit by $119 billion. The last version scored by the CBO came out to a million more uninsured, but a steeper deficit reduction. We'll get some initial analysis from Vox's Sarah Kliff. Then, we'll return to Pennsylvania for our series The Big Promise, exploring how health care is propping up Erie's faltering manufacturing economy.