National/International

ECB to end stimulus. Is Europe's economy out of the woods?

Jun 14, 2018

The European Central Bank announced today it is doing something the Federal Reserve has been doing for several years now: It's taking its foot off the gas pedal of the economy — in this case, the eurozone economy. Specifically, it's ending its practice of buying up bonds. So is the eurozone back on track?

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What reporters couldn't see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants

Jun 14, 2018

Life for children inside a privately run facility for migrant children at the Southern border is a cross between living in a detention center and temporary shelter.  

That’s according to people who got a brief glimpse inside. This week, a small group of reporters toured Casa Padre, a converted former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border between checkpoints. Most come from Central America.

In the potential tariff war between China and the United States, each state is choosing to protect different sectors. Which is right? And is there a way for a country to engage in “good” protectionism for its own interests?

First off, economists in general agree that tariffs should be avoided because they bring costly trade-offs. If a country taxes imported sneakers, for instance, it helps domestic shoemakers but deprives shoe buyers of the best, low-price kicks.

Sedans; we write songs about them, from the 1964 Impala to a little deuce coupe (OK, that’s a two-door but you get the drift). But it seems we’re changing our tune.

In the 10 years that real estate agent and part-time basketball coach Laura Krier has lived in Concordia, Kansas, she has seen the small rural city of 5,000 residents get progressively smaller. Without some kind of economic development, she fears things will only get worse.

“I just want to see it grow,” Krier said. “I want my kids to want to come back home.”

That’s why, when a deal to build a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas, collapsed, she fully supported her city’s efforts to lure the plant to Concordia.

Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood is suing the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its board of directors over what she calls "extensive and persistent violations of federal law," her office announced Thursday.

The directors of the foundation named in the suit are President Trump and three of his children: Donald J. Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

Last week, Mexican congressional candidate Fernando Purón was shot while posing for a selfie with his supporters, and his murder was captured on video.

New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation

Jun 14, 2018

President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation served as a personal piggy bank for his businesses, legal bills and presidential campaign, New York’s attorney general said Wednesday as she sued the charity, Trump and three of his children.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sued to dissolve the foundation and seek $2.8 million in restitution.

The Fed is getting interest rates closer to "just right"

Jun 14, 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates and set the stage for two more increases in the cost of borrowing this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the economy is getting close to what he considers a "normal level," where the Fed won't have to do as much fussing and tinkering. Marketplace senior reporter Nancy Marshall-Genzer was at the Fed briefing yesterday and spoke about it with David Brancaccio. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

What's the "perfect" U.S. economy?

Jun 14, 2018

(Markets Edition) The perfect U.S. and EU economies are growing in tandem, but America is a bit further along. The European central bank is backing off its stimulus program, while Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell says the American economy nearing a Goldilocks-esque "just right" level where the bank can stop tinkering. But what's that actually look like? Surely, wages would have to come up, right? Then: A new study says you'd need to make $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one bedroom rental in the U.S. Trouble is, the minimum wage in most of the country is much lower.

This year, the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament is taking place in Russia and more than 3 billion people are expected to watch. Those numbers mean a lot for a pair of brands that have come to dominate marketing in the World Cup: Nike and Adidas. 

With the World Cup, most folks just root for their favorite team, but if you work for either of these sports apparel juggernauts, you’re probably hoping one of the soccer teams your company sponsors makes the final. Denise Lee Yohn, author of "What Great Brands Do," said there's an irony here.

Taking America's temperature on unions

Jun 14, 2018

(U.S. edition) We might hear from the Supreme Court this morning on Janus v. AFSCME, the largest public employee union in the country. At issue: whether workers covered under a union contract should have to pay some dues, even if they're not in the union. While we wait for the decision we'll talk with Craig Helmstetter from APM Research Lab, which just released a surveyed Americans' opinions on the case.

Doc Willoughby on how to cook boniatos

Jun 14, 2018

Boniatos are what most of the world thinks of when it thinks of a sweet potato. While not quite as sweet as the yam type sweet potatoes we are used to in the United States, boniatos are nonetheless delicious and fun to cook for their own nutty flavors and texture. Francis Lam wanted to know more about this terrific tuber. Thankfully, his good friend Doc Willoughby is a huge fan of boniatos, so they two sat down to talk about it.

Amazon head tax reversed

Jun 13, 2018

Last month the Seattle city council voted unanimously for a head tax – a set fee that bigger companies would have to pay for each of their employees. The tax was meant to raise funds to address homelessness and help create more affordable housing in a city where both have become problems. Then yesterday that same city council changed its mind.

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What the AT&T ruling means for mergers and acquisitions

Jun 13, 2018

Yesterday … a judge cleared AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Today… Comcast bid $65 billion in cash for 21st Century Fox assets, which Disney is already trying to buy. Coincidence? I think not. The AT&T decision was closely watched for the implications it could have on other deals. So, more to come?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Exploring the link between housing and health

Jun 13, 2018

Sidney Bond had been homeless for five years, living between shelters and friends’ couches, when he got a call with good news. He’d gotten off a wait list to move into his own subsidized apartment.

“I’m glad he didn’t see me, because I was running down the street,” he recalled. “I almost tripped on my face because I was so happy.”

Today we all learned a little Fedspeak

Jun 13, 2018

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates today, and Chair Jay Powell took some time to explain the economics of the decision. We thought that was our job. Anyway, we'll bring you the highlights, plus the latest in corporate mega-mergers as Comcast makes a bid for Fox. Then: A lot of us still feel the effects of the financial crisis, but there are places where you can actually still see them. Houses that got stuck in foreclosure limbo, abandoned by their owners and are still sitting empty years later.

Dunkin' CEO on what you're most likely to buy with your doughnut

Jun 13, 2018

Few things go to together as well as a cup of coffee and a doughnut (it's still too soon to say for the AT&T and Time Warner merger), which is no secret to Dunkin' Donuts, the coffee and doughnut chain that, along with ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, is owned by Dunkin' Brands. Nigel Travis is the CEO of that company, and he talked to Kai Ryssdal about taking advantage of the new-found popularity of the humble doughnut, the flip side of an economy with a low unemployment rate, and what you're most likely to buy to pair with that doughnut.

Behind every Dunkin' Donut stands this CEO

Jun 13, 2018

Nigel Travis has run Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins as CEO of Dunkin' Brands since 2009. And he's as surprised as the rest of us at the resurgence of doughnuts. In this interview, Travis talks about how his background in human resources makes him a better CEO, why it's so difficult to find employees these days, and the No. 1 thing people like to buy with their doughnut (the answer will probably surprise you). 

(Markets Edition) The Fed is set to hike interest rates today, but are they going to going to continue raising them throughout the year? We'll talk to regular Susan Schmidt, senior vice president at Westwood Holdings Group, about the language the Fed will try to communicate in its meeting minutes. Afterwards, in light of the AT&T-Time Warner ruling, we'll hear from one expert in antitrust law about the difference between vertical and horizontal mergers, and what the judge's decision means for the future of mega mergers.

Fed raises interest rates, with more hikes to come

Jun 13, 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation.

The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast.

The central bank on Wednesday raised its key short-term rate by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent. The move reflects the economy’s resilience, the job market’s strength and inflation that’s finally nearing the Fed’s target level.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to take up its version of the Farm Bill today. A House version failed after an agreement couldn’t be reached over work requirements for people who get food assistance. What’s the fate for the Senate version — and for the whole law in general?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) A port handling 70 percent of essential goods has been critical to people in Yemen who are dealing with what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But today, that port and the city surrounding it have come under attack in the latest turn of a three-year civil war. Then, a rough year for currencies like the lira and the Argentine peso might just be settling in: The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again today. We’ll explain how tighter monetary policy is contributing to volatility in Turkey, Argentina, and other emerging markets.

(U.S. Edition) "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," Bob Dylan once sang, and apparently U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon agrees, because he cited this lyric in his 172-page ruling on the AT&T-Time Warner merger. Now that the two companies officially have the green light to go through with the deal, we'll dive into some of the remarks Judge Leon made, and whether the government can still try to fight against the decision.

The marriage of AT&T and Time Warner is good to go, apparently.

Jun 13, 2018

In a huge win for AT&T, a federal judge ruled that the company can buy Time Warner for an estimated $85 billion. The Department of Justice had sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds. It said that since AT&T also owns DirecTV, it could charge DirecTV competitors more to get, say, HBO or CNN, two of Time Warner's properties, and that consumers would end up paying more as a result. And this won’t be the last big media merger headline this year.

In a huge win for AT&T, a federal judge ruled that the company can buy Time Warner for an estimated $85 billion. The Department of Justice had sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds. It said that since AT&T also owns DirecTV, it could charge DirecTV competitors more to get, say, HBO or CNN, and that consumers would end up paying more as a result. And this won’t be the last big media merger headline this year. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Recode reporter Peter Kafka about what this means for the media landscape going forward. (06/13/2018)

Federal judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger

Jun 12, 2018

A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, a move that could usher in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without adding major conditions to the deal. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

68: Ajit Pai's internet is "free and open," but no longer neutral

Jun 12, 2018

Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai was on something of a victory lap Monday when he talked with Kai on Marketplace about the repeal of net neutrality. The rule change became official this week. Molly has interviewed Pai two times during the long process of rolling back Obama-era regulations that made internet service providers treat all traffic the same. Molly and Kai dive into a few of Pai's talking points and his vision for America's future online. Plus, we hear your thoughts spurred by last week's episode on blockchain.

Four things to know about the North Korea economy

Jun 12, 2018

North Korea has long been an enigma to the outside world. There's been no greater example than in the past few months — the country's leader went from trading insults and mortal threats with President Donald Trump to finishing off a friendly summit with him.

One window into what Kim Jong Un is thinking is through his economy. We have tidbits and snapshots we can glean about North Korean economic life that come from people who've lived there, from survey data and the few economic numbers that trickle out of that place.

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