Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:58 am
If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling soon, the U.S. government won't be able to pay its debts. Here's who the government owes money to — all the holders of U.S. Treasury debt, broken down by category and by how much government debt they hold.
For weeks, economists and bankers have been warning that there will be catastrophic consequences if Congress fails raise the nation's borrowing limit.
They say it will mean the nation will default on its debt, which could rock U.S. and global markets. The Treasury has warned that it will exhaust the "extraordinary measures" it has been using to keep paying the nation's bills by Oct. 17.
Because of the partial government shutdown, most of the monumental core in Washington, D.C. is not being maintained. But on Wednesday, Chris Cox of South Carolina bought an old lawn mower and a leaf blower and got to work.
NPR's business news starts with worry about American debt.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Fidelity Investments has sold all of its short-term U.S. government debt. That limits losses for the country's largest manager of money market funds in case the U.S. Treasury run out of money on October 17th and Congress does not do something about the federal debt limit.
Fidelity's president said this move was precautionary. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
OK. You might already know this if you spend some time on the Internet, but revenue for online advertising is way up - reaching more than $20 billion in the first half of 2013 - that's an almost 20 percent hike from the same period last year, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, ads on mobile devices are growing the fastest.
More than 400,000 federal workers remain on furlough. That's the situation even after many Defense Department workers were called back to the office. And then there are federal contractors. These are private American business owners and workers who've taken over more and more government functions in recent years and who are now feeling the pain of a shutdown.
Now, the partial shutdown prompted angry debate across the country. But at the center of that debate, we found quiet yesterday. We dropped by a Senate office building where the halls were empty. Papers taped on doors read: We regret that due to the government shutdown our office is closed. *
What would happen if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. defaults on its debt later this month? The broad economic implications are unpredictable, but a default could cause huge trouble for the global economy.
But whatever happens to the global economy, one thing is clear: People all over the world who have loaned the U.S. government money won't get paid on time.
South of Florida's Lake Okeechobee, hundreds of thousands of acres of sugar cane thrive in the heart of one of the world's largest wetlands. The Everglades stretches from the tip of the peninsula to central Florida, north of Lake Okeechobee.
"The Everglades actually begins at Shingle Creek, outside of Orlando," says Jonathan Ullman of the Sierra Club.
That's nearly 200 miles north of the agricultural land that Ullman and other environmentalists say is crucial to state and federal efforts to restore the wetlands area to a healthy ecosystem.
Are House Republicans still seeking Democratic concessions on the Affordable Care Act? Or have they switched their sights to even bigger targets: federal spending on entitlements like Medicare and Social Security?
The answer on Wednesday depended on which Republican you asked.
The longer the government shutdown continues, the more sectors in our economy are being affected. More and more, the housing market is feeling the pinch. Most economists think if the federal government reopens in the next few days, the damage won't be too bad. But already, some home sales are being delayed and even derailed, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.
Janet Yellen is President Obama's choice to replace Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed.
The government shutdown is starting to hamper trade. More than 40 federal agencies involved in trade shipments — from the EPA to the Commerce Department — have trimmed their staffs, resulting in a slowdown or halt of goods.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 2:04 pm
Browsing farmers markets this fall, you may find some new apple varieties mixed in with the Granny Smiths, McIntoshes and Fujis. Susan Brown, head of the apple breeding program at Cornell University, estimates that there have been 130 new apples released around the world in the past six years.
This summer, she contributed two more to that tally: the SnapDragon and the Ruby Frost.
The Obama administration has upheld a ban on the import and sale of some Samsung smartphones and tablets. The move represents a victory for Apple, which is embroiled in a longstanding patent dispute with Samsung. But the import ban is unlikely to affect Samsung's profits since the devices at the heart of the case are no longer big sellers.
The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut has reported a near 70 percent drop in profits this quarter. Yum Brands relies on operations in China for three quarters of its revenue. Recent food safety issues and a bird flu outbreak there hit the company especially hard.
So many customers have been napping on the beds in Ikea's Chinese stores that employees have begun to change the sheets daily. One store in Hong Kong invited its customers to wear their pajamas and sleep over. About 80 of them did.
The Treasury Department says it will begin running out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17, if the partial government shutdown isn't over by then. That prospect worries the financial markets. Treasury debt plays a fundamental role in the global economy, and economists agree that a debt default would have dire consequences. But some Republicans insist that a default doesn't have to happen.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:49 am
President Obama made his case for reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling at a White House news conference Tuesday afternoon. It was his first news conference in several weeks. House Speaker John Boehner spoke at the Capitol for about five minutes.
Yvonne Smith is the director of La Rive Spa at Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Washington state. Across the country, Native American tribes are hoping high-end extras will draw visitors to casinos.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network
The hotel pool at the Kalispel Tribe's Northern Quest Resort and Casino.
What used to be no-frills slot parlors off the highway are turning into resort-style destinations with spas, golf courses and luxury hotels. Native American tribes are hoping these added amenities will give them an edge in an increasingly competitive gaming market.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:30 pm
On Day 8 of the federal government's partial shutdown, President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner. But the morning phone call produced no movement toward resolution, according to readouts by aides to both men.
Here are some of Tuesday's news highlights:
Obama gave his first lengthy press conference since early August, answering questions for more than an hour.