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.
A new government report reveals that thousands of employees of the Internal Revenue Service got bonuses or time-off awards despite being disciplined for misconduct – including tax compliance problems. How could this happen and what are the criteria for determining awards for government employees? Should they be revised? Plus, Valeant’s acquisitions have had a particular focus: companies that produce “medical aesthetics” products that smooth and clear facial skin – Botox and similar paralyzers, Restylane and similar fillers, and lasers. This care is a fast-growing business, and Valeant now has one sales force to sell all these products. Also, the NYPD's newly created Twitter hashtag #MyNYPD has backfired spectacularly – as New Yorkers have used it to tweet about police brutality and misconduct. Why do organizations/ companies fail to tame Twitter in these instances? And when the public can so easily hijack your hashtag, who's managed to get it right?
Marketplace’s David Gura sums up the case between braodcasters and the firm Aereo and explains why it threatens to upend the way people consume television. Plus, the world’s greatest football team, Manchester United (which is listed on the NYSE and will report earnings Friday) has sacked its brand new manager after less than a season. David Moyes performed so poorly, and pissed off shareholders, supporters and players so effectively that he had to go. Why don’t companies move with this kind of alacrity against executives who fail to perform? Sabri Ben-Achour reports. Also, there are reports that Nike is making layoffs in its Fuel Band manufacturing plant, and might be exiting the wearable tech market – but shifting its focus to fitness software instead. We look at where that's going in the ultra-competitive world of wearable tech. Then, CVS says it will take customers’ health insurance payments at its more than 7,000 locations. We explain how much the chain stands to gain and what’s at risk as it diverges from its core business and into payment processing.
President Obama will visit East Asia this week – stopping in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea. All these nations have territorial disputes with China. The president has repeatedly promised a military and diplomatic shift of focus to the region. How much has been spent so far on the "pivot" and is it real? Plus, last week, the deadliest avalanche to rip through Mount Everest killed 13 sherpa guides. It’s prompted the sherpas to ask for better compensation, and threaten a strike, just as the climbing season begins on the mountain. Krissy Clark looks at the central role of the Sherpas in Mount Everest's climbing industry. Then , two railroads are scrambling to comply with a federal order to get fertilizer to Midwestern farmers in time for spring planting. Shipments of crude oil have squeezed out other freight, so much that farmers were being told they wouldn’t get full orders of fertilizer in time. How does oil trump other freight?
With spring in full swing across the US, economists are looking forward to a busy home-buying season. One factor that might push people to buy – the high cost of renting compared to owning. Since the financial crisis, people who hold a mortgage have been spending less on housing than people who rent. But that’s beginning to change, as Adriene Hill reports. Plus, Gillette is said to be close to unveiling a new razor with a blade that rotates on a ball hinge, the latest innovation in the high-end battle for the dollars men spend on grooming. The thing looks like a Dyson vacuum cleaner, and it’s enough to make you wonder… how do Gillette and others go about convincing men that this is something they need to have? Then, the Obama administration announced $2.5 billion more in loan guarantees for solar energy. Despite the Solyndra failure (followed not long after by the failure of several Chinese solar companies), solar has grown into a big industry. We count the ways.
Goldman Sachs announced an 11 percent drop in profit today… and it’s stock went up one percent. This happens all the time in the financial world: a company’s shares move in opposition to its earnings results. Why? It’s all about the investors’ expectations, and how the company matches up to them. Mark Garrison explains how those expectation s come about. Also, companies in sectors from telecommunications to banking to healthcare are employing a new technique to shield themselves from lawsuits – adding a provision to their terms of service to say by using a service or buying a product or even liking something on Facebook, consumers agree they can’t sue the company. We look at how widespread this is, and whether the practice might withstand a legal challenge. Plus, Sonic is the 4th largest burger chain in the U.S. by sales, but you wouldn’t know it in a lot of states, because it’s concentrated in certain regions. Now the chain that serves its food drive-in style is expanding. Is it freeing to be #4, after the standard McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s?
Whether banks have posted profits or losses this quarter, the data suggests that people are getting better at paying back their loans. Dan Bobkoff looks at what’s led to the overall improvement in creditworthiness for consumers. Then, the White House hosts a summit of deans from top biz schools today to talk about educating the leaders of the future. The event is in the lead-up to, you guessed it, another summit in June, that one about Working Families. We ask what comes of these confabs, and what real utility they provide. Plus, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing $50 million to creating an anti-gun voting operation. This is on top of $50 million to fight coal-burning plants, $53 million to fight overfishing of oceans, $50 million for women’s reproductive rights. What does $50 million buy?