National/International

(Markets Edition) And the 2017 Nobel prize in economics goes to ... Richard Thaler, for his work in behavioral economics. One economist who's not surprised by the results: Robert Shiller, who won the prize himself a few years ago. Shiller stopped by to chat with us the "revolutionary" Thaler, and the importance of using psychology and the social sciences to do economic research. Afterwards, we'll look recap how the markets are doing, and then discuss how rules on government business travel are plaguing members of Trump's administration.

For the time being at least, Congress is not going to repeal Obamacare. But President Trump knows there's a lot he can do on his own. There are reports that he’s going to issue an executive order this week, making it easier for insurers to sidestep ACA regulations and sell more bare bones, cheaper plans to healthier consumers. This, in addition to recent moves to cut the advertising budget for Obamacare sign up, and shorten the enrollment period, leaves some wondering if this is a “synthetic repeal" of the ACA?

The White House sent Congress a letter yesterday, outlining what it wants in immigration reform. The list of White House wants was long. Just a few items: ending funding for so-called sanctuary cities, the completion of construction of President Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, and reducing the number of refugees the U.S. admits each year to an “appropriate level.” One of the bedrock ideas of the Trump plan is that the United States should move from an immigration system based on family ties to one based on merit or skills. Does that make sense?

Cold and flu season can be expensive. Even if your office pays for flu shots, you might spend money on extra protection — vitamin C, hand sanitizer, zinc. And then, if you do catch a cold (or the flu) the price tag gets even higher — soup, tea, cold meds, cough syrup.

Tack on missed workdays, trips to the doctor and visits to the pharmacy for prescription medicine, and you could be shelling out hundreds of dollars for a bad seasonal bug.

When tech companies show up in a disaster zone, it’s not pure altruism.

“The reason why companies will come in after disasters is that the slate has been swept clean,” said Robert Collins, a professor of public policy at Dillard University in New Orleans. “There’s a void. There’s a vacuum.”

Not everyone initially supported Richard Thaler for his work in behavioral economics, but he's now the 2017 Nobel Prize winner for his research in the field. 

"It was basically because economists weren't smart enough to write down models of real behavior," Thaler once explained to us in an interview.

The Republican tax plan is just a rough framework, but even at this stage it calls for an end to the alternative minimum tax on the grounds that "it no longer serves its intended purpose." So, what is the purpose of the AMT? And how did it come about in the first place?

A travel scandal has already caused one Trump administration official to step down. The Secretary of Health and Human Services resigned just over a week ago. Now, more reports from Politico on travel by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have prompted an investigation of his travel as well.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The U.S. Virgin Islands remain devastated after two category 5 hurricanes hit within two weeks of each other in September. Many residents are still without shelter, power or internet. But the territory’s roughly 14,000 public school students, who had barely started their school year before Irma hit, will begin returning to their classrooms this week. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Let's do the numbers: Halloween edition

Oct 9, 2017

Businesses hoping to cash in on Halloween are in for a big treat this year. The National Retail Federation estimates spending for the holiday is expected to hit a record number for the second year in a row. With more Americans partaking in the celebration of all things scary, Halloween spending is estimated to climb to $9.1 billion, nearly one billion more than last year’s total of $8.4 billion.

What LinkedIn tells us about the economy

Oct 9, 2017

The jobs report is something we talk about a lot here at Marketplace. Every month, the Labor Department announces how many jobs were gained or lost, as well as the unemployment rate. On Friday, we learned that the country lost jobs in September — 33,000 of them, to be specific — for the first time in seven years. We were also told not to panic, as some of the job loss had to do with storms.

Midwestern farmers are tied to a Gulf dead zone

Oct 9, 2017

A massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grew to the largest size on record this year, expanding to an area as big as the state of New Jersey.

Rivers and streams across a huge swath of middle America drain into the Mississippi River and then down into the Gulf, and the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus accumulate in that water as it washes down, too. Chemicals that start as nutrients for crops become runoff that gets into waterways from farm fields, and then turn into pollutants for sea life at the end of their journey.

(U.S. Edition) Media tycoon Harvey Weinstein, a major player in Hollywood who's behind Oscar winners like "Shakespeare in Love," has been ousted from the company he founded. The move follows a New York Times article that published details on settlements he's reached for sexual harassment over the years. We'll recap these revelations, and then look at the financial standing of his company. Afterwards, we'll look at how schools on the U.S.

10/09/2017 U.S.-Turkey spat takes toll on markets

Oct 9, 2017

(Global Edition)  From the BBC’s World Service … Turkish stock markets have plunged and the value of the lira has fallen against the dollar after the U.S. and Turkey suspended non-immigrant visa services. We look at the implications of the political tit-for-tat. Then, Liberia heads to the polls in elections tomorrow as candidates bid to revive an economy ravaged by 14 years of war and the Ebola epidemic. We examine the economic outlook for the commodity-rich nation.

The Labor Department released its monthly jobs report on Friday, and in September, for the first time in seven years, we lost jobs — 33,000 of them. But the government isn’t the only entity tracking the workforce. LinkedIn data show that hiring was on the upswing in September. So who’s right here? It turns out, both may be. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Guy Berger, an economist with LinkedIn, about how the company gets its data.

A fly-along with relief workers in Puerto Rico

Oct 6, 2017

It's day 16 without electricity for most of Puerto Rico.

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 4 storm, wiping out the whole power grid. As of Friday, only half of Puerto Rico had safe drinking water.

Related: The federal emergency response in Puerto Rico has been slow, and there's a long way to go

10/06/2017: Kids, carnivals and research funding

Oct 6, 2017

Congress has yet to strike a deal on the Children's Health Insurance Program. We hear what this means for kids in need of medical care. Plus: It's been over 20 years since the federal government fully funded gun violence prevention research. We talk about the impact of this. And how one man is trying to keep the U.S. carnival industry afloat using a controversial migrant worker visa. 

Migrant workers keep carnivals running

Oct 6, 2017

What comes to mind when you think of carnivals? Hot summer days? Sticky treats? Stomach-curdling rides? How about H-2B visas?

That’s what producer-director Jamie Sisley thinks about, along with the nostalgia.

Facebook is in the news this week, for handing over 3,000 Russian-linked ads to congressional investigators. Unlike ads for politicians or causes that appear in print, TV or on the radio, Facebook ads are not fact checked, and it's often not clear who paid for them. A new tool from news organization ProPublica aims to make this information more transparent.  For more, Lizzie O'Leary spoke with ProPublica senior reporter, Julia Angwin. 

Changing the way we measure inflation could boost Social Security benefits

Oct 6, 2017

Florence Carlson moved to Florida 13 years ago with her husband. They were both Social Security beneficiaries.

"When he died 15 months later," Carlson said, "I continued to take his Social Security, which was slightly more than one, I guess, at the time. And it probably was very little less than what I'm getting now, because, as you know, through the years, Social Security has not kept up with the cost of living."

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, only a fraction of residents have electricity. The rest are facing a months-long wait for power. Now, a number of companies are looking to solar power, not just as a disaster response, but as way to power the island long term. The idea is to use several mini-grids around the island, instead of one big, fragile one. Generate Capital is one investor in this work, and its co-founder Jigar Shah joined us to talk about his work in Puerto Rico.

When pastry chef, food writer, and Serious Eats senior editor Stella Parks set out to write her new cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, the goal was to shine a spotlight on classic desserts that connect Americans through shared experience. Among the desserts that rose quickly to the top of that list - red velvet cake.

Wicked good Boston cream pie with America's Test Kitchen

Oct 5, 2017

Our friends at America's Test Kitchen call the Boston area home. Assuming they would know a thing or two about it, we wanted to get their thoughts on - and a recipe for - a classic American dessert, the Boston cream pie. Managing Producer Sally Swift also had a few questions for America's Test Kitchen host Bridget Lancaster, who stood firm in defending the honor of Boston's namesake dessert. Try their recipe for Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie.

The importance of Patience Gray

Oct 5, 2017

Patience Gray’s cookbook, Honey From a Weed, is a big, beautiful book. Written over the span of 20 years, it’s poetic and full of both feasting and hunger. It’s the definition of a cult classic, but few people outside of that cult have even heard about the fascinating woman who wrote it, who would have turned 100 this year. Adam Federman’s new biography of Gray, Fasting and Feasting, tells her complicated life story.

Why I'm pro-secession for anyone who wants it

Oct 4, 2017

As a matter of principle and personal preference, I’m in favor of secession.

Related: Chronicle of a crackdown on Catalonia's independence vote

WBFO's Mike Desmond

The City of Good Neighbors is proving it again. Cash, water and food are making the long trip to Puerto Rico to help the island devastated by Hurricane Maria.

It took just over an hour.

At about 10:08 p.m. local time Sunday, the first reports of gunfire surfaced on dispatch radio for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. By about 11:20 p.m., law enforcement had used explosives to bust down the door of a hotel room in Mandalay Bay, where they would soon report their suspect dead, surrounded by firearms.

Halva 101: modern twists on a traditional treat

Oct 4, 2017

Have you heard of havla? It's sometimes called sesame candy; you find bars of it in Middle Eastern or South Asian stores. But fans of halva say it's best enjoyed fresh, sliced off a wheel at a deli. Lisa Mendelson is the co-founder of Seed + Mill in New York City. Her shop specializes in a wide range of traditional and eclectic halva, as well as other sesame-based desserts. She spoke with our contributor, The New York Times food writer Melissa Clark, about halva and how she uses it to create unique treats.

At least 21 people associated with the US diplomatic corps in Cuba have been suffering from an array of mysterious symptoms ranging from hearing loss and dizziness to concussions and brain swelling.

After months of investigation, the US determined that a secret sonic weapon was to blame.

But Dr. Joseph Pompei, a former researcher and psychoacoustics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that’s impossible.

Every user who had a Yahoo account in August 2013 was likely affected by its massive hack, the company's parent, Verizon, said Tuesday.

This latest disclosure triples the number of accounts compromised by the major 2013 data breach that the company disclosed late last year. At the time, Yahoo said hackers had stolen data associated with 1 billion user accounts; the new disclosure escalates that number to 3 billion.

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