Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
At America's largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, bales of plastic and paper are piling up. Once upon a time, they would have been packed and shipped to Asia, where they'd be turned into consumer goods and shipped back. But China has plenty of its own recycled materials now to sustain the manufacturing of goods, leaving the U.S. with a big problem: where's it all going to go? Maybe it can be hidden in the giant $2.4 trillion hole that the GOP's tax plan would leave in the budget (but it's likelier to end up in storage for now.) The tax plan is a big flip-flop from the fiscal responsibility Republicans have been been preaching, but it's not without precedent — historically, each side cares more about debt when they're in the opposition. Plus, NAFTA negotiations, what's really behind Amazon's choice of location for their secondary headquarters and how Houston's undocumented parents are struggling to receive federal aid for their children as the city recovers from Hurricane Harvey.
Many nonprofits are shaking in their boots at the prospect of a GOP tax plan that would decrease incentives for giving, especially for individuals in lower tax brackets. And as the smoke begins to clear from massive wildfires in Northern California (some of which are still active), we examine the failure of maps that show places most at risk for wildfires. One neighborhood that burned last week was Coffey Park, a subdivision in the middle of Santa Rosa — the type of place that everyone assumed would be safe from wildfires. And on the latest installment of My Economy, we hear from one listener grappling with health care costs.
We wrap up the news week wondering: Will Congress be able to pass any big legislation in 2017? What will happen to low-income people seeking health care once government subsidies disappear? Will President Donald Trump and European leaders decide to impose new sanctions on Iran? Plus, corporate America's reliance on nondisclosure agreements helps serial harassers stay under the radar and aren't necessarily protecting public interest, so why do we still have them? And, on a more personal note, it would make it a lot harder for us to do our jobs if we didn't have accurate economic data. The Census Bureau usually takes care of this every five years, but the upcoming count has already been delayed by six months because of funding cuts.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order today that will eventually allow Americans to buy health insurance with lower premiums. While younger, healthier people may be able to take advantage of these plans, they may exclude some sick people with pre-existing conditions and other factors Obamacare eradicated. The president is keeping us in business as fact-checkers: Last night he said the rising stock market will fix the debt problem. But debt and stocks are entirely different assets and can't be compared dollar for dollar. And while fires rage in Northern California, we look into the risk assessment of floods and why some in Houston would prefer their homes stay off official floodplain maps.
The White House made a few statements recently regarding tax cuts and tax rates that could really use some fact-checking. And that's what Marketplace is here for. President Donald Trump tweeted that the massive tax cuts he'd like to see from Congress would cause an already rallying stock market to skyrocket. But historically, the effects of big tax cuts on the stock market have been small, and it has likely gone up since Trump was elected in anticipation of cuts. Then, Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured the press corps that the U.S. has the highest tax rate in the developed world, which is technically true, but the rate most corporations actually pay is pretty average in comparison. There's also some tax trouble in Cook County, Illinois, over a soda tax that's been repealed after only two months in effect. Plus, we dive deep into home buyouts in post-flood Houston, the economic mood in Catalonia and how to make a women's magazine thrive in a competitive industry.
The venture capitalists who just gave $110 million to a sock company said that. And that's today's good news. Nearly everything else revolves around two men at the helm of their respective organizations who are losing popularity this week: Harvey Weinstein, whose business affiliates in Hollywood are fleeing from deals with his eponymous production company after years' worth of sexual assault allegations were reported, and Donald Trump. His tactics renegotiating NAFTA were described as an "existential threat" by the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, his big infrastructure plan is in limbo after he made comments trashing the public-private partnerships that had been expected to fund it, and data shows that the coal industry won't be coming back anytime soon despite his reversal of greenhouse gas emissions regulations. And we answer a listener's question: "Why are bottles of soda sold in liters but milk is sold in gallons?"