We continue with our series: The 12 Days of Tax Deductions. It's Morning Edition's way of making sense of the jungle of tax deductions, credits and breaks that political leaders are sorting through as they try to wrestle more revenue out of the tax code.
If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him — give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy — there are some basic principles that seem to work.
The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.
But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.
Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.
"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.
Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.
Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.
Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.
A customer departs Total Wine of Towson, Md., with a gift pack of Belgium's Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale.
Credit Bill Chappell / NPR
For the first time, the vaunted Westvleteren 12 beer has hit U.S. beer store shelves in large numbers. The bottle's Latin inscription reads, "Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi," or, "I helped to build the abbey."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:39 pm
To many beer fans, the arrival of the Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale in American shops today is a chance to try a beer they've only read about on beer-geek blogs and sites — where it's often given a "world class" rating of 100.
But finding the beer can be tricky — it's not available in all states, and some stores sold out of their allotment within hours of opening Wednesday.
This week we are exploring the evolution of the American shopping experience. In the second installment in this series, Audie Cornish explores the influence of the Internet on the brick-and-mortar retail world. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of the design website Apartment Therapy, says that as shoppers move online, the physical store has morphed into more of a showroom for products that are later purchased on the Web, and a place to tell a brand's "story."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Negotiations are intensifying between congressional Republicans and the White House. Both sides say they want to find a compromise to end the budget stalemate that's gripped Washington. Both sides are also vying for support from the business community. The White House has reportedly put an overhaul of the tax code on the table.
Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.
And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."
On Tuesday, a federal bankruptcy judge gave the nod to a Chinese firm to buy a Massachusetts technology company. The company, A123 Systems, makes batteries for electric cars, but some in Congress are fighting to block the deal.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 11:12 am
India's government has approved an inquiry into Wal-Mart's lobbying activities in the U.S. as a heated debate over the retail giant's plans for stores in India moves into a new phase, NPR's Julie McCarthy tells us from New Delhi.
The debate over the congressional budget has both political parties putting previously 'untouchable' policies on the table for negotiation. As part of Tell Me More's 'Why Not?' series, host Michel Martin and NPR correspondents Julie Rovner and John Ydstie take a closer look at entitlement spending, like Social Security and Medicare.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to hold the Long Island Power Authority accountable for its performance after Superstorm Sandy. He appointed a special commission to look at how the utility performed. The commission had a meeting Tuesday night on Long Island, where thousands lost power, in some cases for weeks.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:20 am
Morning Edition continues with the latest installment of its series: The Twelve Days of Deductions. It's a nod to the many deductions, credits and other tax breaks that political leaders are weighing as they continue their negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:36 am
Greece's government says it will buy back nearly 32 billion euros of its bonds — that means the country would be erasing nearly $40 billion worth of debt. The country's private-sector creditor agreed to sell off the bonds, though at sharply discounted prices. Getting rid of this chunk of debt should allow Greece to get more money from the International Monetary Fund.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:42 am
Dave Sobelman was looking for publicity for his pub in Milwaukee. He announced a new drink. It's a Bloody Mary with celery, pickled asparagus, picked onions, shrimp, a chunk of cheese, a piece of Polish sausage and a cheeseburger slider. It sells for $9. It also comes with a chaser of beer.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:07 am
Federal Reserve officials were meeting this week to decide how much more credit to pump into the U.S. economy. To find out what they're likely to do — and why — Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:05 am
The Bureau of Land Management is auctioning off 18,000 acres of oil leases in California Wednesday. The state has one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the country. And it's attracting new attention because of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking.
More now on the HSBC case and, more broadly, on what banks are obliged to do and what HSBC did not do. Jimmy Gurul is a professor of law at Notre Dame University law school, used to be undersecretary for enforcement at the Department of the Treasury. Welcome to the program.
JIM GURUL: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And first, someone makes a big deposit at a big bank. What must the bank do and what must it know about that deposit?
Now to one of the big sticking points in Washington these days. Much of the debate over impending tax hikes and budget cuts centers on the tax rate for top earners. President Obama argues the tax rate for income over $250,000 a year should be allowed to go up. Republicans say there should be no change in tax rates. When Democrats talk about raising taxes on the wealthy, Republicans hear it as raising taxes on small businesses and killing jobs.
Well, NPR's S.V. Date has been exploring that argument.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. It is the biggest penalty ever paid by a bank to the U.S. government. HSBC, a British company, will hand over $1.9 billion to settle a money laundering case. The Justice Department says HSBC violated the bank secrecy act and the trading with the enemy act by doing business with the likes of Iran.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
CONAN: That was the scene this morning outside the Michigan statehouse in Lansing as activists protested the legislature's work on two bills to rewrite the state's labor laws and make Michigan the 24th state in the country to become a right to work state. Rick Pluta, the managing editor and statehouse bureau chief for Michigan Public Radio Network, joins us now by phone from the statehouse. Nice to have you on the program today.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. The latest unemployment numbers are out and while things are getting slightly better overall, younger people who want to work are still having a very tough time. We reached out to an economist who says apprenticeships might offer one way to offer more opportunity to the younger trying to get into the world of work. We'll talk more about that in just a few minutes.
Now we'd like to talk about those new unemployment numbers. Last week, we learned that the national unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7 percent. That's the lowest level in four years. But the cheering hasn't started for one group of people, the youngest workers, or would-be workers.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, you might think of apprenticeships as something out of the era of blacksmithing and barrel-making, but our next guest says it's time for this type of employment to make a comeback.
As we head into the holiday season, political leaders are un-merrily locked in a battle over how to cut federal spending and raise revenue - and this could mean meddling with tax deductions that many Americans hold dear.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
So this week and next, we're taking a closer look at individual deductions and tax credits that might be on the chopping block.