NPR's business news starts with a ketchup jackpot.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Last month, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and a private equity firm announced they were buying Heinz for $29 billion. Now we're learning what the deal means for Heinz's CEO, William Johnson.
And our last word in business is, no more working in your pajamas. Best Buy says it's ending its flexible work program, calling its corporate employees back to the office.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This is getting to be a trend. The move comes after Yahoo stirred debate for ending its work-from-home program. A Best Buy spokesperson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the hope is that quote, "all-hands-on-deck approach will lead to collaboration."
The cost of college can range from $60,000 for a state university to four times as much at some private colleges. The total student debt in the U.S. now tops credit card debt. So a lot of people are asking: Is college really worth it?
There are several famous and staggeringly successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. You may not end up with fat wallets like them, but Dale Stephens says you can find a different education path.
The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.
They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.
Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?
Two recent tallies of the world's richest people agree on the broad points — but not on which continent has the most billionaires. Here, U.S. dollars are counted, with Chinese yuan notes in the background.
There are more than 1,400 billionaires in the world right now, according to two sources — one in the U.S., and one in China. But the tallies by Forbes and Hurun Report differ on key points, including whether there are now more billionaires in Asia than anywhere else.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington; Neal Conan is away. Year by year, cities are raising fees and cutting public services to stay out of financial trouble. For some cities, that's just not enough. Detroit projects a $200 million deficit this year, and the city owes $14 billion in long-term obligations. The state's Republican Governor Rick Snyder says there's probably no city more financially challenged in the entire United States.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, it's been called a landmark in the American literary canon. Certainly it's one of the premier works of Chicano literature. Now it's finally made its way to the big screen. We are going to speak with its star, herself a well-loved pioneer among Latina actresses. Her name is Miriam Colon and she's with us in just a few minutes to tell us about "Bless Me, Ultima."
We are often urged to buy local, but when people say that, we're usually thinking about food. Now it seems you can aim for local furniture and local building materials. Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports on the Minneapolis business that makes everything from hardwood flooring to picture frames from trees cut just down the block.
The housing market is recovering in much of the country, not so much in Idaho. Home prices dropped by 46 percent in the Boise area during the financial crises. Forty-six percent. Today's business bottom line takes us to the home of a family that rode out the crash and are still waiting for better times. Here's Molly Messick of Boise State Public Radio.
President Obama ordered across-the-board federal spending cuts on Friday night. The $85 billion in cuts are spread across much of the government. The president and many Republicans have called the cuts unwise. But Congress passed them and the president signed them in 2011, and in recent days, they did not agree on a plan to revise or replace them.
We turn to David Wessel to find out what happens now. He is economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, welcome back.
Residents of Detroit are absorbing the message sent by Michigan's governor. Rick Snyder swept aside the city's elected officials. He's using his power to appoint an emergency manager to take over city finances. Residents are deeply divided about this move, as we hear from Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody had a comment in regards to the lighting problem?
Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:02 am
Tax day is looming and taxpayers are scrambling to gather receipts, W-2 forms and other documents. For many, gone are the days of paper ledger books and calculators, now that there's software to figure out how much they owe.
Wall Street hardly seemed rattled by the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect Friday. As just one indicator, the Dow closed the week within 100 points of hitting an all-time high. For more, host Scott Simon talks with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera.
Florida Atlantic University says it's standing by its deal to sell naming rights to its new football stadium to a controversial private prison company. The Boca Raton-based GEO Group faces allegations of abuse and neglect at some of its facilities, and there's a growing call on campus for the school to sever its ties.
Todd Duffey is suing the publisher Perseus which sells a book and a collection of buttons called the Office Space Box of Flair, inspired by the 1999 movie. Duffey doesn't like that his face appears on the cover of the book and on one of the buttons in the collection.
The latest TV ratings are out and CBS captured the top spot with help from its Super Bowl broadcast. Last fall, NBC was No. 1 but now it's fourth. What's surprising is that Spanish-language network Univision has surpassed NBC's ratings.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the automatic budget cuts that go into effect Friday will shave 0.6 percent from the economy's annual growth rate. That might not be a big worry if the economy were growing at 3 or 4 percent. But growth is a paltry 2 percent, so the impact may be noticeable.
Many states want to increase the amount of electricity that comes from wind and solar energy. One challenge is that renewables are not reliable. The wind doesn't always blow, the sun doesn't always shine. So companies are now trying to develop better ways to store energy.
New Hampshire Public Radio's Sam Evans-Brown reports on a company that is working on a storage system that uses compressed air.
Earlier in the week in our "On the Run" series, we heard a mom explain how mac and cheese was more affordable than fresh fruit. Morning Edition reached out to Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a nutritionist and economist, to explain why that would be true.
Last year, J.C. Penney saw what every big retailer had been seeing for years: the threat of Amazon and other new competitors rising to destroy their business.
So J.C. Penney brought in a bold new CEO. Ron Johnson had already created Apple Store, a chain of physical stores where people flocked to shop. Before that, he had revamped Target.
And Johnson had a plan for J.C. Penney: Tell customers they don't have to spend time anymore clipping coupons or waiting for sales to happen. Instead, the store would offer fair prices on its merchandise every day.
Hear Laura Sydell's report for Morning Edition by clicking the audio link.
Groupon co-founder Andrew Mason has been fired as the daily-deal company's CEO, one day after Groupon posted financial results that showed it lost $67.4 million during 2012. Board chairmen Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis will jointly fill the CEO post on an interim basis.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The metaphors become unbearably trite: the debt ceiling; the fiscal cliff and now the meat cleaver of the sequestration. Details are important, we'll get to those in a moment, but underlying the repeated rounds of budgetary crisis, lies a deeper political paralysis.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This week the federal government and Gulf Coast states took BP and its contractors to court seeking billions in civil damages for the disaster that began almost three years ago now, with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Some call it the trial of the century.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:13 pm
After years of legal wrangling, the Defense of Marriage Act — the law that prevents the federal government from recognizing marriage as anything but a "legal union between one man and one woman" — comes before the Supreme Court next month.
"Chrysler will hire 1,250 new workers and spend $374 million to upgrade transmission plants in central Indiana — the only place in North America where the automaker makes transmissions," the Detroit Free Press reports from Kokomo.