Marketplace Morning Report
Start your day with an up-to-the-minute report on the world of business and finance with host David Brancaccio.
First up, the California Public Employee's Retirement System, better known as Calpers, is the country's largest public pension fund with an enormous $300 billion in assets. So when Calpers acts, investors take notice. Now, Calpers has said it's going to completely shed hedge funds from its portfolio of investments. Plus, it seems like student loan debt will never go away. Well, a new report from the Government Accountability office says, that can actually be the case. We investigate. Also, on Thursday the people of Scotland vote in a crucial referendum. They will decide whether they want to separate from the rest of the UK. Pro-independence campaigners claim that if they do, they’ll each be at least $1600 a year better off. But this rosy scenario is partly based on North Sea oil, whose ownership is up for debate.
First up, more on U.S. and European sanctions against Russia for its role in Ukraine that are making it tough for Russia companies to borrow money. Today, Russia's finance minister said Russia will set up an emergency fund to help ease the cash crunch, size as yet unknown. Plus, Federal Reserve officials are meeting this week. On the agenda is the big monetary question of the year: when does the U.S. get to the point that too many jobs have been created? In other words, when do policymakers have to raise interest rates? And kids are back in school and whether they or their parents know it not, they're being mined...for their data. Increasingly, schools are introducing software to keep track of how kids learn and what they're doing. Marketplace's Adriene Hill is kicking off a series today we're calling "The Quantified Student."
Later today we'll know more about ways the US and Europe will apply new sanctions against Russia for supporting separatists in and around Ukraine. Financial, energy, and defense are expected to get targeted. And Russian officials are working on some interesting sanctions of their own. And as part of Marketplace's 25th birthday, we look at the surprising, sometimes delightful, and sometimes destructive ways that prices have changed during the last quarter century. Saul Zabar, of the famed Upper West Side establishment "Zabar's," couldn't remember what he was charging for smoked salmon 25 years ago. But, a magazine from 1989 lists a Zabar's sale price: $15.95 a pound, Scotch salmon, pre-sliced. But as we'll be reminding ourselves during this series, ya gotta adjust for inflation. $15.95 is more than 30 dollars a pound in today's money. Today, routinely, with no special sale, Saul charges under 24 dollars a pound. In real terms, that's a 22 percent decline in 25 years. Now we shouldn't forget that farming salmon can have environmental costs. And there are two parts to the price equation, not just supply but also demand. We take a closer look at the raw material that goes into smoked salmon.
It's a week before Scots vote on independence from Britain. Today, the Royal Bank of Scotland said it has plans to move its tax headquarters from Scotland to London if independence were to actually come about. RBS, it should be said, is something of a tarnished jewel. It nearly went out of business during the financial crisis five years ago and had to be nationalized by the British government. More on the politicking here, ahead of the vote. And then we check in with near-future. The host of our program Marketplace Tech, Ben Johnson, is in San Francisco at Tech Crunch Disrupt, which is--in part--a kind of battle of the bands for startup companies looking for money and attention.
With President Obama's prime time address about national security tonight ahead of the September 11th anniversary, U.S. officials are looking at ways to curb the power of ISIS insurgents by cracking down on flows of cash. Plus, American small businesses are often cast as the engines of the economy, and there's new data this week showing that optimism among the people who run smaller enterprises has hit a post-recession high. This from the National Federation of Independent Business drawn from surveys in August. But what about hiring at small businesses? Not so much optimism there. And when a company moves to lower its U.S. tax bill through a controversial maneuver called an "inversion," this can become a kitchen table issue. Marketplace regular Alan Sloan joins us to explain.
What will an Apple device you can wear look like? Will it have new Apple mobile payment systems, health care software, or home automation? These are some of the questions that are supposed to get answered today, now that the Cupertino, California company has drawn the attention of the world's media for its product launch event in a few hours. As the for the health of the company behind today's planned razzmatazz? We're joined by Adam Lashinsky, covers Silicon Valley for Fortune and is author of the book "Inside Apple," to discuss. Then to West Africa, where a rapper is part of a debate over economic policy. The latest hit by one of Africa's biggest rap artists, Sarkodie, criticizes the President of Ghana for mismanaging the economy. Ghana had become one of the continent's shining lights in recent years. But now the economy has soured with its currency down by about a third against the dollar this year. Ghana has reached out to the International Monetary Fund for help, as foreign investors are concerned about the economic crisis, which Sarkodie the rapper emphasizes is hitting poor people hard.