Business

Planet Money
8:57 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Hidden Housing Subsidy May Soon Come Out Of Hiding

Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:47 pm

The federal government has all these ways of paying people to buy houses without actually, you know, paying people to buy houses.

We've talked a lot about two examples of this:

1. The mortgage-interest tax deduction is effectively a government payment to people who are paying a mortgage.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Fri November 16, 2012

East German Political Prisoners Made Some Of Its Products, IKEA Admits

Denis Charlet AFP/Getty Images

News outlets in German and Sweden have been reporting for the past year that some of the products made in past decades for Swedish furniture giant IKEA were produced by political prisoners in Cold War-era East Germany.

Today, IKEA conceded that the reports are true and that some of its "representatives" were aware of what was happening.

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Fri November 16, 2012

No More Twinkies? Hostess Brands Is Shutting Down

Stock up now.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 7:53 am

Carrying through on its warning about what could happen, the management of Hostess Brands announced this morning that the company is going out of business and laying off its 18,500 employees.

At issue: According to Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn, "we simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike."

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Business
2:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Nintendo Wii U Out This Weekend

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 5:31 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

For those who want to buy Nintendo's new video game console, you may have to wait a while. The Wii U goes on sale Sunday, but many stores have already sold out pre-orders. On Amazon, you can find the new console, but for much more than Nintendo's $350 price.

To find out what's the big deal for gamers and for Nintendo is, we've called Daisuke Wakabayashi. He covers Japanese video game companies for The Wall Street Journal, and joins us from Tokyo.

Good Morning, Dai.

DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI: Good morning.

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Business
2:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Federal Housing Administration To Run Out Of Funds

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 3:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with more mortgage problems.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Independent auditors released a report this morning, showing that the Federal Housing Administration is facing a shortfall from losses on the mortgages it insures. The Obama administration says it's going to take steps to prevent a taxpayer bailout.

As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the FHA has been struggling since the foreclosure crisis hit four years ago.

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Business
2:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

BP Settles Criminal Suit Over Gulf Oil Spill

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 4:05 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Let's talk next about what's being described as the largest criminal fine in U.S. history. BP will pay nearly $1.3 billion for crimes associated with its 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico. On top of that, the company will pay more than $3 billion to settle claims from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

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Economy
2:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Everyone 'Has To Participate' To Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 3:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.

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Business
2:47 am
Fri November 16, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 5:30 am

Honda, which has long aspired to launch off the road and into the skies, is one step closer to that goal. It has started production on its HondaJet. It's a twin jet engine aircraft, being assembled in North Carolina, aimed at the business market. Industry insiders call it the "Honda Civic of the skies."

Planet Money
1:37 am
Fri November 16, 2012

It's Legal To Sell Marijuana In Washington. But Try Telling That To A Bank.

David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:03 pm

Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.

I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it's still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.

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Law
12:05 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Busted: What Happens When Shoplifters Get Caught?

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:25 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. As the holidays get underway, retailers go on high alert against shoplifters. Cases spike at this time of the year, and they're expected to raise losses for the year to nearly $35 billion.

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Money Coach
10:42 am
Thu November 15, 2012

A Military Boot Camp For Your Money

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now, we've all heard about how veterans leave the military with lifelong lessons about discipline, camaraderie and staying cool under fire, but our next guest says his military service also helped him with his finances.

Steve Repak is a veteran who is now a certified financial planner. He says he's applied what he learned in the Army to apply discipline to his finances. He's written a book to share what he learned. It's called "Dollars and Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money," and he's with us now.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Sends Jobless Claims Up Sharply

The line was long last week at a job fair in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

There were 439,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 78,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Behind the big increase: Superstorm Sandy, which threw some people in the Mid-Atlantic onto the unemployment rolls and shut down state unemployment offices the week before — meaning that some claims were postponed into last week.

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Thu November 15, 2012

BP Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $4 Billion In Criminal Penalties For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:32 pm

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal misconduct related to the 2010 Gulf Oil spill and will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties, the company just confirmed. And it will pay $525 million in civil penalties in a resolution with the Securities and Exchanges Commission. BP will make the payments over six years.

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Business
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:28 am

An online petition is urging Macy's to stop selling its line of Donald Trump branded clothing. The petition says the department store should sever ties with Trump because he is offensive, sexist and hypocritical. But a Macy's spokesperson insists its merchandise and marketing do not represent any political position.

Business
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

BP Expected To Plead Guilty In Gulf Spill

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:12 am

Oil giant BP is preparing to plead guilty to criminal misconduct related to the 2010 Gulf spill. The deal is set to be announced in New Orleans Thursday.

Business
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:21 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with Twinkie trouble.

Hostess Brands, famous for processed treats like Twinkies and Ding Dongs, says it will go into liquidation if striking bakers do not return to work this afternoon. This could see the layoffs of nearly 18,000 workers. The bakers walked out over wage and benefit cuts. Analysts say the company's most iconic brands would likely be bought by other companies if Hostess goes out of business. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Economy
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Studies Vary On How Many Jobs Will Be Lost If Taxes On The Wealthy Ride

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:07 am

Republicans claim President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy will cost the economy 700,000 jobs. Another study from the Congressional Budget Office puts the number of lost jobs as 200,000. But both studies also assume millions of new jobs will be created.

Business
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

House Report Blames Corzine For MF Global's Demise

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

House Republicans have released portions of a report on the collapse of MF Global, the commodities firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. The report chastises Corzine for taking excessive risk.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Around the Nation
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Should Taxpayers Pay For Rebuilding Northeast Infrastructure?

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:01 am

President Obama travels to New York Thursday to get a first hand look at the continuing recovery efforts and lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy. Damage and lost economic activity from the storm have been estimated as high as $50 billion. State officials and lawmakers from the affected region say they intend to tap the federal government for as much assistance as possible.

Business
3:06 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Thompson Takes Over New York Times Company

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:58 am

This week marks the start of Mark Thompson's tenure as the new chief executive officer at the New York Times Co. It is facing financial head-winds, and is hoping Thompson can recapture some of the success he enjoyed in leading the BBC. But there's concern within the Times that its new leader has been tainted by scandals at his old employer.

Planet Money
2:04 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Why Coke Cost A Nickel For 70 Years

An oilcloth sign advertising Coca-Cola from 1905.
The Coca-Cola Company

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:04 pm

Prices change; that's fundamental to how economies work.

And yet: In 1886, a bottle of Coke cost a nickel. It was also a nickel in 1900, 1915 and 1930. In fact, 70 years after the first Coke was sold, you could still buy a bottle for a nickel.

Three wars, the Great Depression, hundreds of competitors — none of it made any difference for the price of Coke. Why not?

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Business
3:01 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

'Caesars' CEO: Higher Taxes Would Impact Business

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 12:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

After President Obama's news conference today, he moved on to a meeting with the CEOs of a number of big corporations to talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff. We're going to talk now with one business leader who has advised the White House in the past, although he was not at today's meeting. Gary Loveman is the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, the worldwide casino company. He's been a member of President Obama's export council, and he's also part of the Fix the Debt campaign. Welcome to the program.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
2:35 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Foreclosed Homeowners Getting Back In The Market

Millions of U.S. families have a recent foreclosure on their record. Typically, that means waiting at least seven years before securing another home loan. But some families say they are having luck buying again — sometimes in as few as three years.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

Buyers are coming back into the housing market after losing their homes during the financial crisis — returning to homeownership more quickly than lenders have typically allowed.

With millions of families with recent foreclosures on their records, some report that they are having luck buying a house — in some cases within three years.

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Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Some Nonprofits Look Suspiciously Like Forprofits

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:33 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The word nonprofit evokes the image of a charity or a church, an educational institution, public radio station. But David Evans of Bloomberg Markets Magazine took a closer look at the world of nonprofits and discovered something that he considered suspicious. Even though many nonprofits make millions and millions in profits, they pay no taxes.

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Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

'Halo 4' Has Successful First Day Of Sales

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:06 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: arms race.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dramatic. Feel the heart beat. That's music from "Halo 4," the latest installment from Microsoft's blockbuster video game series which pits humans against aliens in the future. Last week, "Halo 4" made more than $220 million in the first day sales.

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Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:06 am

Michael Hervey will leave effective at the end of the year. The New York utility received harsh criticism over how it handled the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Customers have complained about long waits for service to return. Two weeks after the storm tens of thousands of homes and businesses still have no power.

Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Down Economy Injures Local Hospitals

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:06 am

The health care industry is one of the most reliable sources of new jobs in the country. And in cities that suffer from high unemployment, the local hospital is often the biggest employer still standing. But the downturn in the economy has left some hospitals in perilous financial shape. In Waterbury, Ct,, the biggest hospitals are going through a painful process of outsourcing and layoffs.

Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Barron To Be Executive Editor At 'Washington Post'

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:06 am

Martin Baron of the Boston Globe has been named the new executive editor of The Washington Post. He replaces Marcus Brauchli who came to the Post in 2008 from The Wall Street Journal.

Economy
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A Preview Of Obama's News Conference

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:06 am

At the White House, President Obama will hold his first East Room news conference since March on Wednesday. He's expected to talk about the nation's fiscal condition, as well as the scandal that has cost him his CIA director.

Business
3:37 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Microsoft Shake Up: President Of Windows Is Out

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:55 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk now about the shakeup at the top of Microsoft. Fewer than three weeks after the unveiling of a new, extensively redesigned Windows operating system, the executive responsible for its launch is gone. NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.

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