National/International

The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it'll allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money.

Hurtling toward the tax bill's unintended consequences

Dec 7, 2017

Assuming the GOP tax overhaul passes, it's going to take effect in about three weeks. That's not much time to digest a once-in-a-generation change to the tax code, even if you're an expert in this sort of thing. The bill was written at break-neck speed as well, which means that if you've got an enterprising accountant, there may be room to game the system. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Martin Sullivan, the chief economist at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit that — you guessed it — analyzes the tax code, about what the unintended consequences of this speedy tax overhaul could be.

General Electric Co. announced today it’s cutting 12,000 jobs in its core power business worldwide, as demand for coal and other fossil fuels softens. It’s the latest move by new CEO John Flannery to cut costs and turn things around at the struggling conglomerate, whose stock plunged 44 percent this year. GE Power is the company’s largest division, by both revenue and employee headcount. Flannery says cutting nearly 1 in 5 of those workers globally will save the company a billion dollars next year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

In a matter of weeks, the GOP tax plan will be in effect and riddled with unintended consequences due to the haste of passing it, says Tax Analysts chief economist Martin Sullivan. His favorite unintended consequence? Benefits for pass-through companies, which are basically any businesses that aren't corporations, and could include you if you incorporate yourself. Then your wages can be seen as tax-preferred income and you can pay a lower rate.

To send or not to send the emergency alert

Dec 7, 2017

Wildfires continue to burn across Southern California, spurred on by high seasonal winds. Those fires and winds have spurred regional authorities to utilize technology as a warning system, sending alerts to millions of phones.

The current limitations of the federally regulated Wireless Emergency Alerts system can make such warnings a little vague in messaging.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks a little more secure in her job today.

The country’s left-leaning Social Democratic Party, or SPD, has agreed to talk with Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union about forming a coalition government or, at least, supporting Merkel’s party if it were to continue to govern as a minority party.

The SPD’s move surprised many. Ever since elections back in September, the SPD had ruled out such a possibility. Today’s decision by the SPD will please many Germans, who warm to Merkel’s measured, pragmatic style.

The career website Glassdoor has released its annual list of the best places to work in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, the survey has ranked companies based on employee feedback anonymously submitted on the Glassdoor website.

(Markets Edition) Congress still needs to reach an agreement on a government spending bill. We'll hear from economist Diane Swonk, CEO of DS Economics, about how worried markets are about a potential shutdown, along with what we can expect from tomorrow's jobs report. Afterwards, we'll chat with the CEO of the career site Glassdoor about the best company to work for in 2018. Hint: It's a certain social media giant that's been in the spotlight this year over how it's handled the spread of "fake news."

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

Environmental Protection Agnecy head Scott Pruitt is scheduled to testify before Congress today. ((Thurs)) The oversight hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee will focus on how he’s managed the agency since taking the reins. Questions will come from Republicans and Democrats. What’s he likely to face? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Affordable housing advocates say that a provision in the House version of the tax bill would remove an incentive for developers to invest in affordable housing.

(U.S. Edition) With the government due to run out of money very soon, President Trump is set to meet with congressional leaders to avoid a shutdown. Can they reach a deal? On today's show, we'll look at some of the snags Republicans and Democrats may still run into. Afterwards, we'll discuss a provision in the House's version of the tax bill that could remove an incentive for developers to invest in affordable housing. Then, we'll visit Aransas County, Texas to see how Hurricane Harvey has affected housing in the region.

Battery technology is hard. We need batteries that last longer, charge faster and take up less space. And that’s important when it comes to not just our devices, but also renewable energy, electric cars and electrical grids. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kristin Persson, an engineer who works in a lab funded by the Department of Energy, about why lithium-ion batteries can’t get much better and what the next battery looks like.

What rescue puppies teach us about supply and demand

Dec 7, 2017

This story was produced in partnership with Topic, a film, television and digital studio. For more information and to check out pictures of the dogs along the journey, go to Topic.com.

For Joy Harklerode, it started with a call at church. A friend had found something.

“A little week old puppy that was thrown away,” Harklerode said, now cradling the small black ball wrapped in a towel. “In a trash bag with her six siblings.”

Aransas County, Texas, hugs the Gulf of Mexico coastline. It’s a vacation spot with trailers plunked down for long fishing weekends. Rene Cartini and her husband, Bo, have been full-time residents for 10 years. He’s a fishing guide; she manages rental property. Like so many in this part of Texas, their home was wiped out by Hurricane Harvey. While waiting on an answer about temporary housing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they made due with what they had.

The House has overwhelmingly voted to kill a resolution from a Democratic lawmaker to impeach President Donald Trump. The vote Wednesday was 364-58, including "nay" votes from Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins of Buffalo and Louise Slaughter of Rochester, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Ten years after the global financial crisis, is China still too exposed to personal debt and risky lending? A new report from the International Monetary Fund has a warning. Then, we hear from Melinda Gates — whose foundation invests in global health — about the role contraceptives play in helping low-income countries transition to high-income ones. Afterwards, we take a ride in one of London’s newest cabs…the iconic black vehicle has gotten a green makeover.  

Six women have filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, seeking to represent a class of "dozens, if not hundreds" of women who say they were assaulted by the movie mogul.

The House approved a bill on Wednesday that would ease legal restrictions for carrying concealed firearms across state lines – a move pushed by the National Rifle Association that comes just weeks after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas.

On a mostly party-line vote, the measure easily passed, 231-198, although 14 Republicans voted no. Six Democrats voted for the so-called reciprocity measure, which would allow a gun owner with the proper permit in any state to carry a concealed firearm to another state where it is also legal.

Airlines including American, Delta and Alaska have announced restrictions on so-called smart luggage because the lithium-ion batteries found in many of these suitcases pose a fire risk.

These kinds of bags have proliferated in recent years, including motorized suitcases you can ride and one pitched as an autonomous "robot companion" that follows you around.

The GOP tax bills in the House and Senate have been portrayed as legislation intended to create a windfall for big business. But the bills have winners and losers by industry sector. We take a look at what industries come out ahead, and we give you context on the Bitcoin boom, the rumored $60 billion sale of Fox's entertainment assets to Disney and why Jerusalem's divided economy is at risk. Plus, the latest installment of “My Economy," where we hear from the publisher of a cultural magazine about southern Louisiana. 

President Donald Trump announced today he is starting the process of moving the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It’s part of a shift in American policy, acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most other countries don’t recognize the city as Israel’s capital because it’s disputed territory, and the Palestinians hope to one day use part of the city for a capital of their own state. Those disputes and divisions also mean that Jerusalem’s economy is something of a tale of two cities, with very different opportunities for Israelis and Palestinians.

What some Central Texans think about taxes

Dec 6, 2017

As the Republican tax bill makes its way through reconciliation in the House and Senate, people are talking about what it might mean for them.

That's true in Horseshoe Bay, a community mostly of retirees on Lake LBJ in Central Texas. It’s right on the edge of Burnet and Llano counties, which both voted 75 percent in favor of President Donald Trump.

What if someone gave you bitcoin for your wedding?

Dec 6, 2017

Bitcoin has gained $1,000 in value over the last 24 hours. The current exchange rate as of today's date is somewhere around $13,000 to one bitcoin. The frenzy around the cryptocurrency has many wondering if there is a bitcoin bubble. But what if someone had given you a bitcoin several years ago? Would you have cashed out early or ridden the wave?

Rumors of a deal between Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox are getting louder. Multiple sources are reporting that the two entertainment giants are in talks and could strike a $60 billion deal as early as next week. It looks as if Disney would snatch up a good deal of Fox’s empire, including its movie and TV studios. Meanwhile, Fox would keep its news, sports and broadcast network. What would a deal like this mean for Disney?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Today’s installment is from James Fox-Smith, owner and publisher of Country Roads Magazine:

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," President Trump said in a controversial address from the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He also directed the State Department to "begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

Walk into Claire’s with $20, and you’ll step out with sterling silver hoops, rhinestone studs, and maybe even a fashionable scarf. The retailer’s claim to fame has been cheap and cute accessories for its customers, mostly tweens and twenty somethings meandering through malls. Its primary model has been simple: to draw upon the foot traffic from popular mall department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney.

Al Franken To Resign, Democratic Official Says

Dec 6, 2017

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., plans to announce his resignation on Thursday, a Democratic official tells Minnesota Public Radio. The official spoke to Franken and key aides, MPR News reports.

Franken's office, however, says that "no final decision has been made."

(Markets Edition) While tech stocks have been kind of tepid this week, it's been a while since the markets have seen any serious downward jump. Susan Schmidt, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings, explains whether this is cause to worry. Afterwards, we'll look at how Britain's Brexit plans have hit a major roadblock. While Britain's prime minister wanted to figure out a future trade relationship with the EU, there's disagreement over what happens to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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