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.
When Freddie Mac hands the Treasury a $10.4 billion dividend next month, taxpayers will have received almost $82 billion back for the $71.3 billion in support the mortgage giant received during the financial crisis. We look at whether the arguments for getting rid of Freddie and sibling company Fannie Mae– made back in the financial crisis – still hold. Next, the federal highway tax hasn’t been increased since 1993... and the Highway Transportation Fund is running out of money.
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?