The free market is cold-blooded. Under normal circumstances, prices will balance out for supply and demand. Consumers adjust, and the economy goes on its way. But what's going on in Houston are not normal circumstances, and price-gouging is rampant. Economists will tell you those prices make sense, but making business sense is another matter. Then: The Department of Health and Human Services is cutting Obamacare advertising by $90 million. Critics say Trump is trying to sabotage his predecessor's signature legislation, but the administration insists the ads just didn't work. Speaking of ads: TV is starting to take cues from social media, with six-second ads aimed at short attention spans. Finally: Global trade always has winners and losers, and this country has always struggled with thinking about the latter. That's the focus of today's installment of our series "Trade-Off."
A refrigerated storage container at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, exploded this morning. Well, the sheriff calls it a chemical reaction indirectly caused by flooding, which killed the power and backup power that was keeping the container cool. At any rate, it was bad, and eight more could go off. We'll start today's show by looking at the electrical grid: a piece of critical infrastructure that's very vulnerable to storms like Harvey. Then: We talked yesterday about the White House's tax plan, which, right now, doesn't exist. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked about it on CNBC today, and we'll break down his remarks. What you need to know about Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, before Trump potentially overturns it.
President Trump laid out his tax plan during a speech in Springfield, Missouri today. Except, well, the White House has more of a sheet of bullet points than a plan. There are no details, although the President laid out four principles of tax reform, which we'll talk through at the top of the show. Then: According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses that close during a disaster never re-open. And of those that do, nearly a quarter fail within a year. There are any number of reasons for that, but when it comes to floods there's a certain structural problem that has to do with the National Flood Insurance Program. Plus: Will electric cars put mechanics out of business?
It's still raining in Houston, and all along the Gulf Coast. We don't quite know what it's going to look like when the water recedes, so we called Craig Fugate. HE ran FEMA under Obama, and talked to us about what happens next and how displaced people can start putting their lives back together. Then: We'll look how undocumented immigrants are seeking (or even avoiding) help in Harvey's wake. Plus: Why does it seem like Congress does the same debt ceiling dance every couple years?
The thing about Hurricane Harvey is that other than there's gonna be more rain in and around Houston, there's a whole lot we don't know. We'll start with oil. Some of the biggest oil refineries in the country, not to mention the Port of Houston, are shut down right now, and it's not clear when any of that will open back up. Then we'll talk about the empty posts at key agencies responding to Harvey and the shelter strategy for people whose homes are underwater. Plus, we'll look at why Houston is especially susceptible to flooding. Believe it or not, there's other news to talk about today, too, including the Trump administration's restoration of a program that gives military gear to police and Uber's new CEO.
Remember when the news slowed down? Us too. The government has just five weeks to raise the debt limit and pass a budget, avoiding a government shutdown and potential global financial crisis. Trump and congressional leaders have few months more than that to pass tax reform, according to the latest deadline set by economic adviser Gary Cohn. We'll talk about the chances of both happening in time, plus the latest out of the Fed, during the Weekly Wrap. Then: Hurricane Harvey is a Category 3 storm as of this taping, and its eye is just off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas. There are lives at risk, and the region is looking at billions in property damage. But the geography of the American petroleum industry means Harvey's costs will reverberate throughout the country.