Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:30 pm
The Treasury Department is issuing a warning of dire economic consequences that could rival the Great Recession if Congress is unable to agree on raising the debt ceiling and the nation defaults on its obligations.
Amid the partial government shutdown, the Small Business Administration will continue only a few programs, including disaster relief loans. That's good news in Colorado, where nearly a thousand businesses were damaged or destroyed by recent flooding. Many more could see sales go down.
Grace Hood of member station KUNC traveled to the small town Lyons to understand the full scope of challenges facing small businesses.
NPR's business news begins with a reprieve for BP.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The energy company has won a partial victory after a U.S. appeals court halted some payments related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a big win for BP which had complained that the payout formula was too generous, and compensated people who were not harmed. Billions of dollars in claims were filed by businesses and individuals in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.
The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.
The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "But the only way I can protect these places during this period is to shut them down."
Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.
"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.
After more than two decades in city government, Bill Averill has a pretty impressive mental inventory of Milwaukee real estate. He started in the city assessor's office when he was 34, after leaving a private sector job that paid better but had no retirement benefits.
"That was one of the main reasons I went to work for the City of Milwaukee," he says. "And so I knew the pension at some time, way out in the future, would be a benefit to me."
It's not every day federal authorities get to bust a case like this. It involves millions of dollars, illicit drugs and a would-be assassin, all of which allegedly were bought and sold on the Internet, in a shadowy online marketplace known as the Silk Road. On Tuesday, federal authorities shut down that site and arrested 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the man they say is its mastermind.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:52 am
Among the temporary casualties of the government shutdown, besides the paychecks of 800,000 workers, are all federally funded tourist attractions.
Sure, it's a bummer for those who planned vacations around the Smithsonian museums and galleries, national parks and national monuments (although barricades didn't stop some veterans at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Tuesday).
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:47 am
The FBI has moved to crack down on a shadowy back channel of the Internet — where transactions take place outside of easily accessible domains — arresting the alleged proprietor of the black-market site Silk Road, which has been called the eBay of the drug trade.
Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known by his hacker handle "Dread Pirate Roberts," was arrested Tuesday morning in San Francisco and charged with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations' court filing.
In Washington, D.C., dozens of businesses are running shutdown specials for government employees. Furloughed workers can head to several local eateries for a cup of coffee, cupcakes and even pizza — all free when they show a government ID.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:18 am
It's Day 2 of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Republicans do not seem ready to compromise on defunding the Affordable Care Act. There are no negotiations between the White House and Congress.
Some federal employees have to work despite the closure, while others have been told not to report to work. On Morning Edition, we hear some voices of folks who have already felt the impact of the shutdown. They say they feel "frustrated," and think the partial shutdown is "ridiculous."
Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.
The number of people who leave their countries to work abroad is soaring, according to the United Nations. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of origin, up from 150 million a decade ago.
And migration isn't just from poor countries to rich countries anymore. There also is significant migration from rich country to rich country — and even from poor country to poor.
Beginning Thursday, the U.N. will hold a high-level meeting on the subject in New York.
And next, let's talk with Representative David Schweikert. He's in the studio with us. He's an Arizona Republican lawmaker, a member of the House majority that has insisted they will not approve a short-term government funding measure unless it also takes a bite from Obamacare.
After weeks of wondering what would happen, Americans now know:
1. Congress missed the midnight funding deadline for the new fiscal year, triggering disruptions in government operations.
2. That will slow economic growth, at least in the short term.
But just how far the damage will go is far from clear. Economists say they can't refine their predictions because they have no idea how long the shutdown might last or how many federal workers may be furloughed.
In the three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it has survived more than 50 votes in Congress to defund or repeal it, a Supreme Court challenge, a presidential election and, as of Tuesday morning, a government shutdown. Much of the spending for the law is mandatory and won't be cut off.
But now, it must survive its own implementation.
Tuesday is the day that Obamacare goes operational. Americans can begin signing up for health insurance on online marketplaces known as exchanges.