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 the deadline for healthcare.gov sign ups looming 72 hours away, we look at how administrators are preparing: If the rush of customers is a coming flood, what are the Obamacare sandbags and where are they being deployed? Lead bullets are on their way out. Fourteen states have banned them, the military is phasing them out, and on Dec. 1, the EPA is shutting down a bullet-producing lead smelter. But hunters say a shift to copper will make bullets more expensive and less effective, and even could raise copper prices. Finally, today’s glance at third-quarter GDP numbers are good. The country is growing at a rate of more than 4 percent. But unemployment is still high, wages are still not growing, and while companies are thriving and sitting on piles of cash, Americans, for the most part, are not.
Target has revealed that data for more than 40 million customers have been stolen from its retail network. But what on earth does a thief do with all those credit card numbers? How can they be used and for what purpose? Next, what’s the perfect gift for traditionalists this Holiday Season? Light bulbs – the old-fashioned kind invented by Thomas Edison a century ago. They are banned as of Jan. 1, and lots of people will miss them. Plus another installment from our travels across Europe, looking at unemployment among the young.
The Federal Reserve says it will reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January, citing a stronger U.S. job market. What will that do to interest rates? Next, BP has long complained that its settlement money for the Deepwater Horizon spill was often spent frivolously. Now it’s going public with its complaints about claims that businesses have filed against it, starting with Emeril Lagasse, the New Orleans chef. Finally, it used to be that sports and fashion marketing existed on the periphery of the Hollywood entertainment business. But as a IMG’s sale to William Morris demonstrates, the talent business is diversifying.
Some are worried the Fed will announce that it’s going to stop -- or at least slow -- its stimulative bond-buying program. Others are worried the buying will continue. But it’s not solely inflation they’re worried about. Next, tech companies are taking ownership – and therefore control – of everything from the cloud to so-called dark fibers. Finally, GlaxoSmithKline says it will stop paying doctors to push its drugs and will stop rewarding its sales reps to push doctors to push their drugs. But just what is this “sales rep” and what is her or his role?
Google is buying Boston Dynamics, which is famous for making cool robots like that mecha-cheetah you've seen on YouTube. Next, the coming ad blitz from health insurers is the surest sign yet that Obamacare is working, and isn’t going anywhere. Also, the United Nations is launching its largest appeal ever for humanitarian aid to Syrians – even though its earlier appeal is only 60 percent funded. Finally, millions of Europeans under the age of 30 are unemployed and not in school or some sort of job training. In Europe, the economic downturn seems to have hit the youth the hardest.
Forget long, involved marketing campaigns. Beyoncé released a 14-song album last night online (with videos!), no promotion, no announcement. Is this the sort of trick that only the super-est of superstars can pull off? Next, Twitter’s done of the fastest-ever flipflops, reversing a change in its process after users slammed it. Is it something about Twitter, Twitter users, or a particular kind of social media that makes customers get heard. And finally, "Saturday Night Live" took the backlash over its lack of female black performers seriously enough to hold a special audition Monday night for seven or eight candidates. The winning candidate will be hired and will join the cast for shows beginning in January.