Your regularly scheduled episode of Marketplace is coming later today, but for now we have a special investigation from the team at The Uncertain Hour. When OxyContin went to market in 1996, sales reps from Purdue Pharma hit one point particularly hard: Compared to other prescription opioids, this new painkiller was believed to be less likely to be addictive or abused. But recently unsealed documents in this investigative episode shed light on how the maker of OxyContin seems to have relied more on focus groups than on scientific studies to create an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that helped fuel the national opioid crisis.
They're considered inefficient, under-utilized and useless, respectively, and all face uncertain futures. Incandescent light bulbs will no longer be available to purchase in California beginning in 2018; instead, Californians will buy compact florescent lights and LED bulbs, which have triple the energy efficiency. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could lose 1.5 million acres to energy developers, due to a mandate in the new tax bill. And even though you can't buy anything for a penny anymore, the coin may stay in circulation despite calls to get rid of it once and for all. Plus, on this Christmas Day, we revisit the story of Santa's little surveillance helper, the elf on the shelf.
Before Hurricane Maria hit, there was already an exodus underway from Puerto Rico to Florida, but the storm put it on fast forward. Since Maria's devastation, nearly 200,000 people have fled the island for the state. We talk to Puerto Ricans in Florida about the difficulties they face staying in touch with home. Plus, if you’re still Christmas shopping, you’re pretty much limited to brick-and-mortar stores at this point. And this year, it may be tough to get the kind of in-store last-minute deals you used to. Anyone out there still looking for a Christmas tree? We catch up with a sidewalk Christmas tree seller in New York as his annual sojourn winds down.
The tax debate in Congress may be over for now, but the ad war to win over the public is just beginning. Learning from Democrats’ struggle to shape the narrative for Obamacare, tax ads from both sides of the aisle are being rolled out in anticipation of next year’s midterm elections. Plus, President Donald Trump outlined a national security plan earlier this week labeling China and Russia “rival powers” to the U.S. One area where that rivalry is prominent is in the race for the world’s fastest computer. And what’s it like to be a part of CamperForce, a seasonal swarm of mostly retired folks who live on campsites paid for by Amazon and pack and ship holiday orders at its fulfillment center in Kentucky.
Congress just passed the first major tax bill since 1986 and did it in record time. It's about to land on President Donald Trump's desk, and it will take effect in a couple weeks. So now what? In this special episode, we talk to business owners, economists and families about how they see their futures under the new tax system, while Marketplace contributors answer listener questions along the way.
In an effort to report on the sexual harassment blue-collar workers, specifically women of color, face in the workplace, Susan Chira of the New York Times wrote about what went on at Ford plants in Chicago, even after the company said it had dealt with the problem. And today a major legal action gets underway against oil giants Shell and Itay’s Eni. The two are accused of involvement in a corruption scandal in Nigeria. Plus, you probably share your Netflix passwords with a few people, right? Well, the practice may be on the way out as companies aim to crack down on password sharing.