Steve Inskeep talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan about their bipartisan efforts to rewrite the tax code. On Thursday, the lawmakers launched TaxReform.gov in an effort to solicit direct input from Americans on simplifying the tax code.
The Internet spreads information too quickly for some people — especially people who don't want to find out the ending of a show they haven't seen yet. A high school senior in New Hampshire has solved that problem with an app.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's college graduation season, a time when young people stop worrying about final exams and start worrying about getting a job. In a minute we'll hear some popular career advice dished out by commencement speakers. First, there's an ongoing debate over how well universities are preparing graduates for the real world and whether colleges themselves should operate more like businesses.
One reason the world is not yet running out of oil and gas is that energy companies keep finding ways to extract those resources from more and more difficult places, including far under the ocean. Royal Dutch Shell announced plans, yesterday, for the world's deepest offshore floating oil and gas facility.
A while back, Max Kornblith sent the following email to Tyler Cowen, an economist who blogs at Marginal Revolution:
1) As a fairly recent graduate of an Ivy League institution (with a bachelor's degree), most of my classmates seemed to have some idea that career and life path choice should be driven by a "passion" such that the right choice is self-evident to the chooser. What does this belief mean to you as a social scientist? ...
YouTube is expected to announce in the coming days that it will launch paid subscription channels, a first for the online video platform that's been around since 2005. But, with the growing number of subscription services available for entertainment, shopping and news, some consumers say they're reaching digital subscription overload.
Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling laughs outside the federal courthouse on April 24, 2006, in Houston. Under a deal announced Thursday, Skilling could have as many as 10 years cut from his 24-year prison sentence.
On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as the Dodd-Frank bill. Reporter Gary Rivlin says "the passage of Dodd-Frank was something of a miracle." But to the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents 100 of the country's largest financial institutions, it was just "halftime."
A New York-based debt settlement agency has been charged with fraud. Yesterday, the company's owner and three employees were arrested. Federal prosecutors say the company cheated already cash-strapped customers out of millions.
As NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports, this case is notable for another reason: it's the first criminal case based on work by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - an agency created under the law known as the Dodd-Frank Act.
Now it's a rare thing for Americans to get a glimpse of Ben Franklin's face on a hundred dollar bill. Even if they have a hundred bucks most people do not carry a hundred dollar bill in their wallets. Many stores don't even accept bills that large because they fear counterfeits. So here's a surprise contained in a recent report from the Federal Reserve: Three-quarters of all American currency in circulation is in the form of hundreds.
The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.
That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system was criticized when it was released last year for features some said didn't mesh with a desktop PC environment. The company has indicated that it will address some of those issues in an upcoming update.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.
But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.
The work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal oversight agency established by Dodd-Frank three years ago, has resulted in its first criminal referral — a case against a debt-settlement company it says defrauded thousands of people.
If you are up at 5 in the morning in Honolulu and are wondering what to do, I have a suggestion: Head over to Pier 38 and watch the Honolulu Fish Auction. It's quite a scene.
Getting up at 5 may seem a bit extreme, but for recent arrivals to Hawaii from the East Coast of the mainland — as I was last Friday — the six-hour time difference makes waking up early easy, if not inevitable.
That big immigration bill working its way through the Senate would let in lots more highly skilled workers on temporary visas. But there's a catch.
The bill says all employers who want to hire workers on these H-1B visas:
... would be required to advertise on an Internet website maintained by the Department of Labor and offer the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the immigrants ... sought...
Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.
Here's a sign of economic recovery: Americans are gambling again. People apparently have enough money to throw some of it away. After a drop during the slowdown, casino revenues are up nationwide. In fact, up to pre-recession levels.
Chinese cyber-espionage is threatening U.S. economic competitiveness.
Credit Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images
This 12-story building in Shanghai's northern suburb of Gaoqiao allegedly houses a Chinese military-led hacking group.
Credit Jason Lee / Reuters /Landov
Robert Hormats, U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, delivers a speech at the 6th U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum in Beijing on April 9. He warns that theft of intellectual property has become a major source of mistrust.
American companies that do business with China make good money. They also lose a lot of money there to cyberthieves, who routinely hack into the computers of the U.S. firms and steal their trade and technology secrets.
The Senate on Monday approved a bill to allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say sellers will get help navigating tax collection, but many retailers says complying will be burdensome and opens the door for unforeseen problems.
Congress is considering a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say a law is necessary to level the playing field with brick-and-mortar stores and to raise revenue for states.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
I'm Audie Cornish. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.
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CORNISH: YouTube, the website that made its name as the place where you can broadcast yourself, is on the verge of launching a subscription service. NPR's Laura Sydell joins us now to talk more about it. And, Laura, what is YouTube up to?