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.
With a six-month agreement in place to thaw some of the restrictions on doing business in Iran, international firms are now making calculations about whether to get involved in that marketplace, or wait and see what comes next. Also, Yahoo! is hiring Katie Couric. It’s the latest in a number of high-priced recruitments by the internet company, but Couric is unusual. She’s older, she’s a TV icon, and she’s a host, not a reporter. Finally, the Affordable Care Act has turned insurance brokers into a legion of private navigators for individuals and families faced with insurance decisions. The brokers are frustrated by the law’s complications and the failures of healthcare.gov, but also have a wave of new business.
Justin Rowlatt of the BBC talks about helium’s impact on the world, and what’s being done to conserve it. Wall Street bankers take a turn on the stand-up comedy stage. Cable TV has been losing subscribers to satellite and phone companies—not to mention a growing online video presence. How will merging Time Warner with another company affect the cable TV business? Social media art sales are breaking down the white walls of the traditional art gallery business model. Now that the rules for breaking a Senate filibuster have changed, what will be President Obama's first move?
Target is the latest low-price retailer to lower expectations because consumers aren’t spending freely. The problem appears to be lower-income consumers, worried about jobs, food and gas. Also on the show: Many would say that the unveiling of Obamacare has been one of the worst product launches in history. Now comes the do-over: New branding (Only refer to it as the ACA -- not Obamacare). And finally, United Airlines and Delta are tweaking their frequent flier mileage plans. American and US Airways will to, following their merger. The changes will devalue miles earned by frequent fliers, potentially alienating customers.
It’s shaping up to be a good holiday for people looking to get a deal on consumer electronics. Best Buy says it’s preparing deep discounts – even if they put profit margins at risk – to win the holiday season. Rivals are expected to follow. Next, the FCC is moving toward allowing phone companies to replace their century-old land lines with internet-based phone service. Finally, our series The New Math of Health Care continues with a look at what 'value' means in the context of health.
Most banks with legal exposure to the financial crisis are dealing with the lawsuits one-by-one. But today, J.P. Morgan Chase decided to deal with the whole issue in one go, and settle for $13 billion. We begin a special collaboration with the New York Times that we're calling The New Health Care Math. Plus, meatpackers and ranchers are fighting each other over new labeling rules that take effect Saturday, requiring packaged meat to state where the animal that contributed said meat was raised, slaughtered and processed. And finally, the Obama administration launches a $100 million race-to-the-top-style competition meant to overhaul career and tech education by pairing high schools with colleges and employers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 16,000 today. The record-high means something to the trading and investing community, but how important is that mark to the rest of us? Also, Walmart has signaled that the ACA requirement that most Americans either carry insurance or pay a penalty could hurt sales. Plus, a Senate committee is trying to understand Bitcoin today. Will the rest of us have to understand the idea of a virtual currency some day? Right now Bitcoin functions mainly among early Bitcoin adopters – who have pushed the currency’s value to a record level.