The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.
While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.
There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.
President Obama examines a K'NEX roller coaster on Nov. 30 at a Hatfield, Pa., factory that makes the toys. During the visit, Obama spoke about the economy, the middle class and his plan to raise taxes on top wage earners.
Of the 535 members of Congress, not many appear to be in the loop about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. That makes the rest nervous about having to vote on a bill on short notice despite misgivings about what's in it. But this is often how major deals get accomplished in Washington.
In these budget negotiations, the names Boehner and Obama come up most often — and virtually all the rest are on the outside looking in.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve now says it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate exceptionally low until the unemployment rate reaches six and a half percent. It's the first time the Fed has named a specific thresh-hold for when it would begin raising interest rates.
We continue with our series: The 12 Days of Tax Deductions. It's Morning Edition's way of making sense of the jungle of tax deductions, credits and breaks that political leaders are sorting through as they try to wrestle more revenue out of the tax code.
CALM is an acronym for a new law that takes effect Thursday. It stands for the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, and it means you won't have to jump for your TV remote the second commercials air. The law says the volume of commercials needs to be the same as the programs they're coming out of.
If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him — give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy — there are some basic principles that seem to work.
The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.
But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.
Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.
"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.
Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.
Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.
Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.
A customer departs Total Wine of Towson, Md., with a gift pack of Belgium's Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale.
Credit Bill Chappell / NPR
For the first time, the vaunted Westvleteren 12 beer has hit U.S. beer store shelves in large numbers. The bottle's Latin inscription reads, <em>"Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi</em>,<em>"</em> or, "I helped to build the abbey."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:39 pm
To many beer fans, the arrival of the Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale in American shops today is a chance to try a beer they've only read about on beer-geek blogs and sites — where it's often given a "world class" rating of 100.
But finding the beer can be tricky — it's not available in all states, and some stores sold out of their allotment within hours of opening Wednesday.
This week we are exploring the evolution of the American shopping experience. In the second installment in this series, Audie Cornish explores the influence of the Internet on the brick-and-mortar retail world. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of the design website Apartment Therapy, says that as shoppers move online, the physical store has morphed into more of a showroom for products that are later purchased on the Web, and a place to tell a brand's "story."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Negotiations are intensifying between congressional Republicans and the White House. Both sides say they want to find a compromise to end the budget stalemate that's gripped Washington. Both sides are also vying for support from the business community. The White House has reportedly put an overhaul of the tax code on the table.
Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.
And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Late today a federal bankruptcy judge gave the nod to a Chinese firm to buy a Massachusetts technology company. A123 Systems makes batteries for electric cars, but some in Congress are fighting to block the deal. Curt Nickisch reports from member station WBUR in Boston.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 11:12 am
India's government has approved an inquiry into Wal-Mart's lobbying activities in the U.S. as a heated debate over the retail giant's plans for stores in India moves into a new phase, NPR's Julie McCarthy tells us from New Delhi.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another young woman, a mother, has been killed by a man who supposedly loved or at least cared for her. That got us thinking about the political fight over the ways to address violence against women. We're going to talk about that with our panel of women commentators. We call it the Beauty Shop and it's coming up later in the program.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to hold the Long Island Power Authority accountable for its performance after Superstorm Sandy. He appointed a special commission to look at how the utility performed. The commission had a meeting Tuesday night on Long Island, where thousands lost power, in some cases for weeks.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:36 am
Greece's government says it will buy back nearly 32 billion euros of its bonds — that means the country would be erasing nearly $40 billion worth of debt. The country's private-sector creditor agreed to sell off the bonds, though at sharply discounted prices. Getting rid of this chunk of debt should allow Greece to get more money from the International Monetary Fund.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:20 am
Morning Edition continues with the latest installment of its series: The Twelve Days of Deductions. It's a nod to the many deductions, credits and other tax breaks that political leaders are weighing as they continue their negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:07 am
Federal Reserve officials were meeting this week to decide how much more credit to pump into the U.S. economy. To find out what they're likely to do — and why — Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:42 am
Dave Sobelman was looking for publicity for his pub in Milwaukee. He announced a new drink. It's a Bloody Mary with celery, pickled asparagus, picked onions, shrimp, a chunk of cheese, a piece of Polish sausage and a cheeseburger slider. It sells for $9. It also comes with a chaser of beer.
More now on the HSBC case and, more broadly, on what banks are obliged to do and what HSBC did not do. Jimmy Gurule is a professor of law at Notre Dame University law school, used to be undersecretary for enforcement at the Department of the Treasury. Welcome to the program.
JIM GURULE: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And first, someone makes a big deposit at a big bank. What must the bank do and what must it know about that deposit?