Business/Economy

The WBFO Business & Economy News Desk is funded by The M&T Charitable Foundation.

Congressman tries to kill election commission

Feb 27, 2017
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Nancy Marshall-Genzer

A congressional committee has voted to close a federal agency set up to ensure states meet certain standards for voting machines. The agency is called the Election Assistance Commission, and it was set up after the controversial 2000 presidential election in an effort to make sure states have secure, dependable voting equipment. 

02/27/17: Trump's spending plan isn't new

Feb 27, 2017
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Marketplace

President Donald Trump will outline his approach to budgeting tomorrow in a speech to a joint session of Congress. It goes like this: a big boost to defense spending and no cuts to entitlements like Medicaid or Social Security. That means reductions for domestic programs. But Trump's budget proposal really changes very little about the nation's spending priorities. Later in the show, we'll talk with Wisconsinites who are watching Trump's promises very closely, and, of course, we're talking about the Oscars.

A simple blood test could help doctors determine whether someone suffers from coronary heart disease, the most common form of heart disease, killing more than 370,000 Americans every year. This test may more accurately identify the condition compared to the current crop of diagnostic tools, including stress tests and CT scans. If approved by the FDA, the blood test could improve health and save money. Or, if adopted widely, the test could become overprescribed, adding to wasteful health spending estimated to be $1 trillion annually. 

After years, even decades, of waiting, victims of terror attacks against Americans overseas will soon begin receiving compensation. A $1.1 billion fund has been created as part of a settlement struck by the U.S. government with French bank BNP Paribas. BNP pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy after evading U.S. sanctions in Iran and other countries that resulted in harm to Americans overseas.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

02/27/17: The U.S. vs. the World Trade Organization

Feb 27, 2017

Relations may not be warm between the Trump administration and the World Trade Organization. Financial Times editor Shawn Donnan  joins us to discuss news that the U.S. may start bypassing the WTO if it thinks other countries are cheating on trade. Next, we'll look at a simple blood test that could help identify coronary heart disease, and then explore the possibility of a gas tax in Tennessee.

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Chas Sisk

Nashville, Tennessee, is growing fast. As many as 85 people a day move into the city and its suburbs. That's meant congestion, deteriorating roads and scores of overstressed bridges.

So some say this is a good time to raise Tennessee's gas tax, the 10th-lowest in the nation. But not Tricia Stickel, president of the Maury County Tea Party.

Border adjustment tax plan gets mixed reception

Feb 27, 2017

Republican plans to change the corporate tax structure include a border adjustment tax. It will impact how imports and exports are taxed. The proposal is causing a lot of uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, and while some energy companies support the move, others oppose it.  

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Baby boomers retrain in sought-after skills

Feb 27, 2017
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Amy Scott

When Joe Snyder was 23 years old with just a high school diploma, he got a job at auto parts supplier Dana Corp. in Reading, Pennsylvania, as a press operator.

“I worked there for 17 years, and they closed the plant and moved some things to Mexico, Venezuela,” he said.

02/27/17: The next generation of mobile tech

Feb 27, 2017
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Marketplace

5G tech, the next generation of cell service that will bring us even faster internet, is approaching. Michael Nunez, tech editor at Gizmodo, breaks down how telephone technology has evolved over the course of history. Afterwards, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince joins us to discuss a bug found in the company's code. 

02/27/17: And best picture goes to 'Moonlight'

Feb 27, 2017
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Marketplace

During last night's Oscars telecast, the award for best picture mistakenly went to "La La Land" instead of "Moonlight." We'll take a look at the accounting firm behind the vote tallies. Next, we'll discuss a fund that will compensate overseas victims of terror attacks, and then explore how some baby boomers are starting to retrain so they can gain in-demand skills.

Weekly Wrap: What's the plan?

Feb 24, 2017

Nela Richardson of Redfin and Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post join Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal to discuss the week's business and economic news. This week, they talk about President Donald Trump's infrastructure stimulus package, which will be delayed until 2018, and why he could use an economist in his cabinet.

Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal

Should you be worried about a data bug named Cloudbleed?

Feb 24, 2017
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Bruce Johnson and Marketplace staff

One frame from a video, a few words from a private message — these are the types of fragments that were leaked because of a glitch in the code of Cloudflare, the widespread internet security and website delivery service.

Yayoi Kusama exhibit is an economic puzzle for museum

Feb 24, 2017
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Mark Garrison

What may be the most anticipated art exhibition of the year opened Thursday at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Record crowds are expected to see the work of Yayoi Kusama, that rare kind of living artist who draws in collectors, critics and casual fans by the millions. Even a single piece of her work has been enough to inspire fans to line up around the block. And now the Smithsonian has an entire exhibition.

02/24/17: Encore, encore, encore!

Feb 24, 2017
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Marketplace

Since Lizzie is reporting from Wyoming, we’re revisiting some of our favorite stories from the recent past. We revisit the question “Can your office make you sick?” We’re not necessarily saying “yes,” but we’re most definitely not saying “no” either. We also listen back on an interview with Emily Weiss, the CEO of Glossier, one of the hottest beauty products brands among millennials. 

If you’ve been paying attention the last couple days to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., you’ve heard a consistent thread of regaining economic control. From the president to his key strategist Steve Bannon on down, there’s talk of claiming once again what Bannon calls “sovereignty.” Which, of course, implies America had lost it. But sovereignty isn’t just at the center of this administration’s worldview. It has currency on the political left as well as across the pond in Europe.

Last year, the Obama administration announced it was going to phase out federal government use of private prisons after reports surfaced of safety and security issues. Yesterday, that plan was overturned by the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions. The news immediately boosted share prices of the two largest companies that run private prisons. With the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigration creating thousands of detainees, all signs suggest it's a growth industry.

Click the audio player above for the full story. 

02/24/17: Accommodating infinity

Feb 24, 2017
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Marketplace

The artist Yayoi Kusama is known for her infinity room installations that make you feel like you’re in, well, an infinite room. She’s also known for the blocks-long lines people will wait in to spend a few minutes inside one of them. We explore the financial conundrum of orchestrating a blockbuster show centered on installations that only accommodate a few people at a time.

Uber has had a really bad week

Feb 24, 2017

The news early in the week was that Uber had hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to look into explosive allegations of sexual harassment by a former engineer at the company. On top of that, Uber is now being sued by Alphabet, the parent company of Google as well as the autonomous driving company Waymo. Alphabet is accusing the ride-sharing giant of stealing trade secrets to jump-start its own autonomous vehicle program.

Stocks are a bit down today, following a rise since the election. Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, discusses whether investors are being more realistic. We'll also look at JC Penney's efforts to fight against the slump department stores are experiencing., and explore Indiana's plan to use drones in search and rescue efforts.

Ne York State

A boost is in store for the New York economy. Empire State Development says 43 businesses are expanding or coming to New York state to partner with colleges and universities.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney says it will be closing anywhere from 130 to 140 stores, as well as two distribution centers, over the next several months, as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.

Drones to help with Indiana search and rescue efforts

Feb 24, 2017
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Erika Celeste

Drones have been used in war. Amazon has tested them for deliveries. Now one state is going to start using them to assist with search and rescue. The FAA has licensed Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to use drones as a way to find people who may be lost in the wilderness, and help those who are injured.

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Tracy Mumford

This story first appeared on mprnews.org

The Brass Knuckle Tattoo Studio in Minneapolis was wall-to-wall with people Tuesday afternoon, as more than 100 women packed in for appointments.

They were all there to get the same tattoo: "Nevertheless she persisted."

NASCAR changes gears for the Daytona 500

Feb 24, 2017

When the green flag signals the start of the Daytona 500 this weekend, there’s a good chance there will be plenty of empty seats in the stands and in front of the TV. Attendance has been falling for so long at NASCAR events that the organization stopped reporting attendance figures in 2012. TV viewership is off nearly 50 percent since 2005. But NASCAR has a plan to put stock-car racing back on track: The race will be divided into three parts.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

How celebrities choose their causes

Feb 24, 2017
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Adrienne Hill

Last year, the Oscars tried a thank you scroll along the bottom of the screen to encourage winners to move away from deadly boring, breathless-stream-of-appreciation speeches.

It didn’t work.

But this year, we might finally get something different.

02/24/2017: Political activism in Hollywood

Feb 24, 2017
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Marketplace

We'll explore why Chinese President Xi Jinping has plans to move new people into power on his economic team. Afterwards, a look at why stock car racing is struggling and how celebrities choose the political causes they're involved in.

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Marketplace

There have been a lot of protests going on recently. And at these events, there's a fair amount of time spent sitting, standing, waiting. Ian Bogost, a game critic and professor at Georgia Tech, discusses how a new website called protestgames.org aims to have attendees translate some of that downtime into positive energy. Next, we'll look at Alphabet's decision to sue Uber and Otto for allegedly stealing its intellectual property. And to end today's show, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Laura Weidman Powers, the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit Code 2040.

Top U.S. gunmaker says sales will pick back up under Trump

Feb 23, 2017
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Jana Kasperkevic

Donald Trump’s presidency might have put a damper on gun manufacturer stocks, but Sturm Ruger CEO Michael Fifer believes that the slump in demand is only temporary. His reasoning? Gun ownership is becoming more socially acceptable.

Blog: What the protest economy means to you

Feb 23, 2017
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Eliza Mills

We’re less than two months into 2017, and already we’ve seen one of the largest days of protests in U.S. history, multiple cities divesting from a major bank and an endless list of boycotts proposed by President Donald Trump’s supporters and opponents alike.

Political newcomers eye running for office

Feb 23, 2017
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Marielle Segarra

Malka Zeefe is 38, and until recently, she'd never considered running for political office.

But since the election, Zeefe, who's a corporate lawyer and lives in Alexandria, Virginia, has already sought out and been appointed to a city commission for children, youth and families. She's a registered Democrat, and now she's thinking about running for school board. 

"For me, the time of just sitting back is over," she said.

Republicans are inspired too.

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