Business and economic news

Let's talk about the real monster in 'Get Out'

Mar 15, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

President Donald Trump has promised to take a tough line with China over bilateral trade. Now word comes that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at China’s National People’s Congress that China does not want a trade war, but that if it did happen, the U.S. could be hurt. Neither the U.S. nor China has taken significant steps to punish the other on trade since Trump took office. But if the U.S. were to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, U.S.

Janet Yellen's job explained in five questions

Mar 15, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, took the stage this afternoon in Washington, D.C., to answer questions about the Fed's decision to raise interest rates for the third time since the 2008 financial crisis. 

US charges Russian officials, hackers in mass Yahoo breach

Mar 15, 2017
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States announced charges Wednesday against two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers, accusing them of a mega data breach at Yahoo that affected at least a half billion user accounts.

The hack targeted the email accounts of Russian and U.S. officials, Russian journalists, and employees of financial services and other businesses, officials said.

With the Fed expected to hike interest rates today, will take a look at what the move could mean for your loans. Afterwards, we'll discuss how layoffs at the Alcoa aluminum plant in Wenatchee, Washington have led former employees to figure out their passions.

What do Trump's 2005 tax returns reveal?

Mar 15, 2017
Kim Adams

President Donald Trump has not released his taxes like his predecessors, but a tiny window is now open to the public. Longtime tax journalist David Cay Johnston got a hold of two pages from his 2005 tax return — which he says were sent to him through the U.S. Postal Service — and talked about them on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Tuesday night. 

How the Fed increasing interest rates affects you

Mar 15, 2017
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Update (11:15 p.m.): The Federal Reserve is raising rates a quarter of a percentage point. Chair Janet Yellen announced the long-awaited hike, the third since the financial crisis, end of the Fed's two-day meeting Wednesday. The Fed has signaled it’ll boost rates two more times this year, increasing them by a total of three-quarters of a percentage point.

After years of super-low interest rates, consumers will now start feeling the pinch.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a swing through Asia today. He’ll talk with leaders about the North Korean nuclear threat and bilateral trade deals. Tillerson’s first stop is Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to combat the country’s shortage of skilled labor with a new proposal — free education for some students. This comes as Japan’s birth rate continues to dive.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Sometimes a layoff can lead to more happiness

Mar 15, 2017
Mitchell Hartman

Well-paid factory jobs producing primary metals such as steel and aluminum have been disappearing in the past several decades in the U.S.

What's next for Brexit?

Mar 15, 2017
Mark Garrison

The United Kingdom's Parliament has backed a law that will grant Prime Minister Theresa May the ability to leave the European Union. 

After the Queen signs it into law, May can trigger Article 50, officially beginning the process.


A single March Madness tournament bracket has 9.2 quintillion possible combinations. Luckily, people making wagers now have technology on their side. CNET's Lindsey Turrentine dropped by to discuss the different tools people can use to increase their odds of winning. Next, we'll talk about the downfall of shopping malls — a decline 20-some years in the making — and then look at an iPhone case by Esti Inc. that runs Android 7.1's operating system. 

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.

The acknowledgement came as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said she has obtained part of Trump's 2005 tax forms, and prepared to discuss the document on her Tuesday night show.

The records have become highly sought-after because Trump refused to release his returns during the campaign, breaking a decades-long tradition. He claimed he was under audit.

NBA's D-League partners with Gatorade

Mar 14, 2017
Andy Uhler

The NBA Developmental League won’t be called the D-League next season. It’s going to be the “G” league, because Gatorade bought the naming rights. The NBA hopes Gatorade will throw its brand behind marketing and that more people will watch.

Sam Beard

Journalists in search of supporters of the far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders gravitate toward the small lakeside town of Volendam, northeast of Amsterdam. The town, once a major fishing port and now a flourishing tourist attraction, is a Wilders stronghold.

Kai Ryssdal

Tom Scocca has made it his personal mission to bring truth to the internet when it comes to caramelizing onions. Frustrated by recipes grossly understating the amount of time necessary for onions to turn brown and soft in a pan, he wrote a blog post for Slate in 2012 to correct the record.

Who wins and loses under the GOP’s health care proposal?

Mar 14, 2017
Kim Adams and D Gorenstein

Nearly 24 million people will lose their health insurance coverage under the House GOP plan to replace Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated. Republicans have defended the plan, with House Speaker Paul Ryan arguing that it’s about “giving people more choices and better access to a plan they want and can afford.” So who exactly would benefit from this reform?

For the sixth time since 2000, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament comes to Buffalo this week. The experience has helped tourism officials better plan for the crush of visitors, says Jim Fink of Business First. During WBFO's Press Pass, Fink talks about the tournament and the many development projects that are emerging in some long-forgotten parts of Buffalo.

The Netherlands' Donald Trump?

Mar 14, 2017
Sam Beard

First there was Brexit. Then there was Trump's presidential victory. Where next for the populist, anti-establishment wave that was in full flood last year? Has it petered out or is it about to wash up on mainland Europe? The first test will be this Wednesday when the Dutch hold a general election, and all eyes will be on one of the front-runners, Geert Wilders, leader of a far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigration and anti-European Union party.

“I support Geert, and so do many of my parishioners," Pastor Henk-Jan Prosman told Marketplace.

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, joins us to discuss the economic impact of the GOP's new health care proposal and how seasonal changes can affect the government's monthly jobs report. Next, we'll look at a new survey that finds 40 percent of colleges and universities have seen a drop in international applicants, and then explore the economic factors driving the upcoming Dutch election. 

For a while now, universities and colleges have been concerned about international applicants and whether they’d be scared off by the politics surrounding immigration to the U.S. Now we have some signs those fears are founded. A new survey of about 250 schools finds about 40 percent of them have seen international applicant numbers drop this year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Andy Uhler

Puerto Rico's financial oversight board was a central part of last year’s PROMESA bill, a law passed in the U.S. Congress that allowed the commonwealth to avoid defaulting on billions of dollars in bond payments for a time. The board's revised plan, announced Monday, calls for austerity measures and big cuts in public spending.

03/14/17: Going from a science lab to Capitol Hill

Mar 14, 2017

Intel is entering the self-driving game by purchasing chipmaker Mobileye for $15 billion. Johana Bhuiyan of Recode explains why big companies are acquiring other businesses, instead of creating their own products. Next, we'll talk about Uber's court loss in London over a requirement that all drivers have to take an English-language test. And finally, we'll look at why the nonprofit 314 Action wants to helping scientists run for office.



The Congressional Budget Office has revealed how many people would lose insurance coverage under the GOP's new health plan. We'll look at who would benefit from the proposal and who's expected to see costs go up. Next, we'll look at a plan from Puerto Rico to get the island out of crippling debt, and then explore the leading candidate in the upcoming Dutch election: Geert Wilders, a politician that has drawn comparisons to President Trump. 

WBFO file photo

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has selected an architectural firm, known for its work with historic buildings, to design several future structures for Buffalo's Canalside. On Monday morning, the Corporation's board approved a $1.3 million contract for the firm's services.

24 million Americans could lose health insurance under GOP plan

Mar 13, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office released its long-awaited score for the Republican replacement for Obamacare, what the GOP is calling the American Health Care Act. The CBO's report estimates the impact of the bill on people. Sarah Kliff covers health care for Vox, where she is a senior editor. She breaks down what we've learned from the report. 

Kai Ryssdal: Give me the headlines on this one. What's a big takeaway for you?

It’s FAFSA season, when families apply for federal aid to pay for college. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool makes it easier for applicants to add the required tax information to their forms by transferring it directly from the IRS. Or it did. The IRS has suspended the service for several weeks, and if history is any guide, this could mean fewer students complete the forms and go to college.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

D Gorenstein

The Republican plan – or the American Health Care Act – radically reconfigures Medicaid by cutting federal funding by $880 billion over 10 years, according to recently released figures from the Congressional Budget Office. That could mean a loss of services for millions of people, including one in 10 million Americans with disabilities on the program.

Reaching Mars is a hard sell, but not impossible

Mar 13, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

During his address to Congress, President Donald Trump said that “American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.” While the details about that dream are unclear, what is clear is that last month Congress approved an authorization bill for NASA. That bill allows NASA $19.4 billion in spending money for 2017, and NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot has already instructed his team to consider what it would take to send people to Mars. So how likely is it that we'll see a televised Mars landing?

Trump executive order calls for downsized government

Mar 13, 2017

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on "a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch" today. The White House said it'll make government more efficient, effective and accountable. It's not the first time a president has done something like this. But, the plan is more about Trump making good on his campaign promises on military strength and border security than it is about budget austerity.

When people hear the term “student loans,” they typically think of tuition bills, pricey textbooks and other campus-related expenses.