Business/Economy

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

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The Common Council is looking at how to regulate and possibly tax home-sharing computer apps like Airbnb.


GettyImages-455661218.jpg
David Brancaccio

In the last few days, some of greatest minds in business journalism have scoured Warren Buffett's annual letter to harvest wisdom.  

The Berkshire Hathaway boss and billionaire investor praised the American economy, calling the country's achievements "miraculous." 

03/01/17: The market for nostalgia

Mar 1, 2017
nintendoswitch.jpg
Marketplace

Nintendo Switch will launch this Friday, a console that's being marketed to kids — and their parents. We'll look at what Nintendo has in store for its new system. Afterwards, Tradesy CEO Tracy DiNunzio joins us to discuss the company's decision to offer parental leave for all of its employees. 

trump_25.jpg
Marketplace

In his first address to Congress, Trump talked about infrastructure and tax reform. We're here to recap the economic highlights from his speech. Next, we'll look at the important items that Warren Buffett decided to leave out of his annual letter to shareholders, and then talk about why Uber's CEO wants to change his image. 

We now have three years of data points on where China’s coal and carbon emissions are heading: downward. It may have to do with China’s economy becoming less energy-intensive as it moves away from infrastructure and heavy industry. It may also have something to do with policy. Beijing has shuttered coal plants already in construction. And renewables use is growing to nearly 20 percent of the country’s energy mix. Despite what President Donald Trump plans on energy and climate deregulation, there are 181 other countries, most of which are moving toward decarbonizing.

Trump is about to run into the budget reality

Feb 28, 2017
GettyImages-644956928.jpg
Marketplace

President Donald Trump has his big speech tonight, and one of the issues he’s expected to talk about is the budget. On the campaign trail and in speeches, Trump has made budgeting sound easy: You cut here, add there and you’re done, sort of the way businesses run their processes. But the federal budget is not a zero-sum game — there are political pressures,and many items that simply can’t be cut.

Hard times for soft power spending

Feb 28, 2017

The White House wants to bump up defense spending and reduce the budgets of some other federal agencies. One agency in the crosshairs is the State Department. It wields something known as soft power — diplomacy and foreign aid. So what happens when you slash spending on soft power? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

 

YouTube gets into the live streaming game

Feb 28, 2017
GettyImages-157547099.jpg
Kai Ryssdal and Adrienne Hill

Go ahead and add another player in the ever-contentious battle for your eyeballs. On Tuesday, Google's YouTube announced YouTube TV, a live streaming service with access to CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and ESPN, along with a number of cable channels. 

Marketplace's Adriene Hill visited YouTube Space LA, the scene of YouTube's announcement, and spoke to host Kai Ryssdal from there. An edited transcript of their conversation appears below.

Waller%20and%20Jones.JPG
Amy Scott

Inside a cavernous building, solid bars of copper are heated and stretched into miles and miles of shiny tubing. This is Cambridge-Lee Industries, in Reading, Pennsylvania. For nearly 75 years, this plant on the Schuylkill River has produced copper tubing, mostly for plumbing, heating and refrigeration.

“Across the United States, Cambridge-Lee copper tubing’s in just about one of every four homes,” said Mike Fischetti, the company’s new vice president of human resources.

GettyImages-644956928.jpg
Marketplace

President Donald Trump will address a joint session of Congress tonight for his first don't-call-it-a-State-of-the-Union. He's expected to touch on a lot, including his budget. Crafting a federal budget isn't a zero-sum game, and it'll be a big test of Trump's "run the country like a business" ethos. Plus, under the White House's budget plan, the State Department is in the crosshairs. What happens when you cut funding for soft power? Plus, YouTube's new TV service and the latest in our My Economy series.

We'll look at the strong 2016 for Norway's biggest sovereign wealth fund, which is now worth about $900 billion. Afterwards, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell joins us to discuss news that hundreds of former employers at Sterling Jewelers are alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination. Finally, we'll explore the latest data about India's economic growth: a new report shows that about 140 million people have been lifted from poverty in the country over the past decade. 

Chris Caya

A local father and son are breaking new ground in high-tech manufacturing. Scott and Zack Vader of East Amherst have developed a machine that prints metal parts.  


kayj.jpg
David Brancaccio

The Washington Post has obtained documents showing that about 250 former employees at Sterling Jewelers — which owns the Kay and Jared jewelry chains — are alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination.

The Trump Administration is expected to issue an executive order as early as today on historically black colleges and universities or HBCUs. Many of them are struggling financially, but proponents say the schools are more needed than ever. President Donald Trump's order is expected to move an initiative to assist HBCUs – a change that could help bolster Trump's relationship with the schools and, possibly, African-Americans.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

President Trump wants to boost defense spending by $54 billion

Feb 28, 2017

President Donald Trump addresses his first joint session of Congress tonight, where he’s expected to talk about his spending goals. The White House released a budget outline yesterday that calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending. So what’s on the Pentagon’s wish list?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Pharmacann01_0.JPG
Justin Ho

With recreational marijuana getting all the attention these days, it’s easy to forget how far the medical marijuana industry has come since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Today, Arcview Market Research estimates that the legal medical marijuana industry pulls in $4.7 billion in consumer spending.

moon_1.jpg
Marketplace

Amid news that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been checking staffers' phones, multiple reports say that government officials have been using encrypted chat apps. We'll look at exactly what information becomes federal record and what doesn't. Next, we'll discuss what current stock market optimism means for venture capitalism, along with Elon Musk's announcement that two people have paid a hefty sum to go on a weeklong mission around the moon.

02/28/17: Marijuana's push into the mainstream

Feb 28, 2017
marijuana_2.jpg
Marketplace

The White House has released a budget outline that calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending. We'll explore what's on the Pentagon's wish list and whether Congress is likely to approve it. Afterwards, we'll take a look at one marijuana lab that's found an innovative financing mechanism.

What's your movie 'constituency'?

Feb 27, 2017
GettyImages-645760604.jpg
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Last night’s Oscar show had some upsets — even without that envelope snafu. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked with New York Times culture critic Wesley Morris about what just happened at the Oscars and why even movies are more polarizing than they used to be. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

President Donald Trump’s administration promises a very different trade approach than its predecessors. Trump and his team have criticized trade deals involving multiple countries, preferring to work with countries one-on-one. It appears multilateral deals are out and bilateral deals are in.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Textbook publishers in a bind as students go digital

Feb 27, 2017

Pearson, the global education publisher, announced a nearly $3.3 billion loss for 2016. It's struggling, as many traditional publishers are, with big shifts in the way college kids buy (or don’t buy) textbooks. According to the National Association of College Stores, spending on course materials has fallen 14 percent in the last 10 years. Students are renting digital versions or buying used books. Pearson said it is investing nearly $930 million a year to make a transition to digital. But there are other challenges for publishers as well.

Trump’s spending plan isn’t all that new

Feb 27, 2017

In his speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night, President Donald Trump will outline his approach to budgeting: 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 federal spending priorities.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why Wall Street needs courageous leadership

Feb 27, 2017
GettyImages-642106044.jpg
Marketplace

In the American psyche, few phrases have more baggage attached to them than “Wall Street.” Depending on whom you talk to, Wall Street is either the backbone of American capitalism or part of a rigged system that makes the rich richer. William Cohan worked on Wall Street for 17 years and has written several books on the subject. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked with him about his latest book, “Why Wall Street Matters.” Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Congressman tries to kill election commission

Feb 27, 2017
GettyImages-621787196.jpg
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
GettyImages-642106840.jpg
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.

IMG_20170222_house%20transportation%20subweb.jpg
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.

Pages