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.
Corporations are urging the governor of Arizona to veto legislation that would allow businesspeople to refuse service to gays. The corporations say this could harm their ability to do business in the state. We look at how corporations could be affected, and how a state could be affected if it bucks corporations. Also: Credit Suisse is the subject of a Senate hearing today. The IRS says bankers at CS helped US citizens hide bank accounts, and thus dodge We report on how these tax dodgers got their dollars out of the US, and what will happen to them, now that they’ve been busted. Finally, Target says the security breach that hit its stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas cost the company $61 million. But the net loss is only $17 million, thanks to cyber insurance policies Target had to hedge its risk about this kind of threat.
Connecticut is acting like an entrepreneur. It got its health exchange up and running effectively, and now it’s trying to sell its exchange-in-a-box to other states. Plus: Beijing correspondant Rob Scmithz explains how Weibo fits into the broader Chinese Internet-scape. Finally: Customers in the Northeast and Midwest are about to get big natural gas bills, and not only because they used a lot of gas during the freezing month of January.
The Obama administration wants to shrink the Army to its smallest size since the buildup to U.S. involvement in World War II. Plus, airlines and travelers are increasingly antsy about the screening drill at airports, and the TSA has a March 11 deadline for bids for new screening machines. We look at the hang-up in getting people through airports quickly – is it technology, or the cost? And: Netflix breaks down and pays Comcast directly for faster access. Who’s next to collect -- Verizon, AT&T? More to the point, who picks up the check? Us?
It seems the fever over U.S. debt has broken, if President Obama’s budget blueprint is any indication. Public opinion polls show it’s no longer a top issue, the economy is improving, and advocacy groups dedicated to solving the long-term deficit have petered out. But that doesn’t mean the fight over debt is gone. It’s just hibernating. Next, producers of “Anchorman 2” are releasing a new movie, “Anchorman 2 and a half,” which is the original “Anchorman 2” with all new jokes, taken from the outtakes. 700 jokes.
Gap announces it will raise wages of its lowest-paid workers above the current minimum wage. Walmart and other chains are looking at doing something like this. We examine the factors that go into their decision making. Next, Facebook’s $19 billion bid for WhatsApp essentially means it’s paying $42 per WhatsApp subscriber. That’s $12 more per user than Facebook paid for Instagram. Finally, a new report on inequality from Brookings looks at which American cities have the highest and lowest rates of inequality. What impact does the gap have on vibrancy, and quality of life?
New housing starts are down in January, but up year-to-year. We examine the mortgage factor – what role strict lending standards and rising rates have on buyers. Also, consumer debt is up, particularly among people with lower incomes and young adults. The economy depends on people borrowing and spending more, but this might not be a great sign -- we ask whether people are getting over-extended once again. Finally, Netflix seems to be slowing down. Why? Because the people who provide the pipes that Netflix streams through for free want Netflix to pay for that privilege. This flies in the face of net neutrality rulings, but the fact is that other big web firms do pay a premium for faster service.