The IRS has admitted to targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. And yesterday at a House hearing the IRS director of exempt organizations said, quote: "I have not done anything wrong." She then declined to testify. Lois Lerner's brief appearance at the committee was just the beginning of a stormy, five-hour session filled with angry outbursts and allegations of political motives.
NPR's Peter Overby reports.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Lois Lerner did read a statement that she had done her job properly.
NPR's business news begins with a big payback to the Fed.
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GREENE: Three years ago President Obama's green energy loan program gave a $455 million federal loan to electric carmaker Tesla. Critics bashed the loan as risky. Yesterday, Tesla announced it had paid that loan back in full - and early. The company was one of five carmakers to get money into the program. Tesla was first to repay it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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For those who closely follow decisions made by the Federal Reserve, today's marquee event was the testimony of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He appeared on Capitol Hill before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. And some lawmakers asked Bernanke about concerns of chaos in the financial markets once the Fed stops pumping money into the economy. NPR's John Ydstie explains.
Chuck used to sell marijuana in California. But the legalization of medical marijuana in the state meant he was suddenly competing against hundreds of marijuana dispensaries. So he moved to New York, where marijuana is still 100 percent illegal. Since making the move, he says, he's quadrupled his income. (For the record: His name isn't really Chuck.)
In the nearly impenetrable language that comes with his job, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that even though the economy is doing better, the central bank needs to keep giving it a boost.
NPR's business news starts with Home Depot raising the roof.
Home Depot got a boost from the housing recovery in its first-quarter net income. It rose 18 percent; that exceeds expectations. The company acknowledged yesterday that while cool and wet spring weather had a negative impact on some of Home Depot's seasonal business, its core business stayed strong.
Home Depot's stock price rose by 2.5 percent with the news. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The wait is over for many Xbox fans. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its next generation Xbox gaming console. It's called Xbox One. It's the first major revamp of the gaming system since 2005. In our business bottom line, NPR's Laura Sydell reports the new Xbox is designed to be an all-in-one system, an entertainment hub for movies, TV and games that should appeal as much to grandparents as it does to children.
Finding a parking space, probably not at the top of the list of things you like to do. Well, experts in parking think they might be able to change that. One key, they say, is for developers to think about the parking experience when they're designing malls or apartment complexes, instead of just treating it as an afterthought.
This came up in Florida this week, at the International Parking Institute's annual conference. Reporter Kenny Malone, from member station WLRN, was there.
Here's some news for travelers. If you can't afford - or don't want to pay the price for - a hotel room, maybe you've used the cheap lodging site Airbnb. If so, you have to take New York City off your list. The popular website has suffered a major setback in court. A judge in New York ruled that an Airbnb user in Manhattan violated local laws when he rented a room to an out-of-towner.
Lawmakers are demanding to know what went wrong and who is to blame at the IRS. Two Senate committees held hearings yesterday on the agency's aggressive handling of applications from conservative groups who were seeking tax-exemption. A top IRS official facing a House committee, today, intends to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
Apple was criticized in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday for using complex accounting to minimize the corporate taxes it pays. One key piece of the company's tax strategy: It funnels lots of its profits through subsidiaries in Ireland.
Offering low corporate tax rates has been a fundamental part of Ireland's economic strategy for decades — a way to get foreign companies to set up operations in the country.
It's exactly the sort of futuristic thinking you'd expect from Google and NASA: Late last week, the organizations announced a partnership to build a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA's Ames Research Center.
If you have a savings account you probably already know this: Your money there is losing value to inflation. Yields are so low that returns are not even keeping up with the cost of living.
I've been watching some of my own savings dwindle. And that prompted me to take up a challenge: I'm taking $5,000 from personal savings and putting it to work. I'm not a financial whiz, pundit or any kind of guru.
Arrested Development returning via Netflix? Just another old-media brand reviving itself on new media.
The TV show, which originally ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006 and unveils new episodes on Netflix next weekend, finds itself in splendid company. Radiohead, Louis C.K., Veronica Mars — all found their audiences with promotion and distribution from big studios and networks. Radiohead was signed to a major music label. Louis C.K. enjoyed HBO specials and TV shows. And Veronica Mars ran on two TV networks for three years.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
The top executives of Apple faced tough questions today on Capitol Hill. They came at a hearing about Apple's alleged avoidance of billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes. Yesterday, Senate investigators released a study describing how the maker of the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers used subsidiaries based in Ireland to avoid income taxes on a big chunk of its global profits.
Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has beaten back the most significant challenge to his leadership since he took charge. Company shareholders turned down a proposal that would have taken away one of his titles.
But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, shareholders made clear they are unhappy about the performance of some board members.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
The immigration bill that's working its way through the Senate gives the tech industry something it has long asked for: more visas for skilled workers from overseas. But the original bill also came with something the tech industry didn't like: rules to keep those foreign workers from taking the jobs of Americans. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, key senators agreed to loosen those rules.
Now, the cash register re-imagined. Paying for things online with your mobile phone can be as easy as paying with cash but digital payment companies, like PayPal and Square, think the big money for them is still at the register. So they're rushing head-long into brick-and-mortar retail, eager for new ways to make old-fashioned money.
From member station WHYY, Zack Seward has the story.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:51 am
Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One Tuesday, displaying a device that takes new steps in game consoles' journey to becoming all-purpose entertainment and communication devices. The new console replaces the Xbox 360, which has been on the market for nearly eight years.
Apple CEO Timothy Cook made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, testifying after congressional investigators revealed that Apple avoided billions in taxes. Reporter Charles Duhigg of The New York Times and guest host Jennifer Ludden talk about how, as Duhigg writes, "technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age."
People who use Airbnb, the web company that pairs travelers with residents who rent out their homes on a short-term basis, are breaking New York City's laws, according to an administrative law judge. The vacation rental business was found to run afoul of the city's occupancy code; it also doesn't conform with a state law.
"At the bank's annual meeting, 32 percent of shareholders voted for a measure that would have required the bank to split the roles. Had the measure succeeded, Dimon would have had to relinquish the role of chairman.
We'll NPR's business news with Boeing still dreaming.
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GREENE: Boeing's Dreamliner took off yesterday - it was a United Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago. This was the first time the fuel-friendly jet was back in U.S. skies in nearly five months. The 787 planes had been grounded since January because of battery problems, which cost United roughly $11 million in revenue.
And today's last word in business is: almost millionaires.
INSKEEP: Warren Buffett took time yesterday to listen to kids pitching potential new enterprises. These are kids who competed through Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, a Web and cable series featuring a cartoon.
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WARREN BUFFETT: Hey, kids, Warren Buffett here. A successful business is always trying new things.
Giant technology firm Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in U.S. taxes each year, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook will defend the company.
The subcommittee's report says Apple avoids the tax payments mainly by shifting profits to three subsidiary companies in Ireland. The investigation found Apple is taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws to avoid paying any tax on a huge portion of its profits.