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.
Airing on Wednesday, July 8, 2015: The government has maintained a stockpile of helium for about 80 years now. And it’s the subject of a hearing on Capitol Hill today, following an audit critical of the reserve in April. We look at why the government is in this business and the applications for helium. Next: Dungeness crab is one of the most valuable fisheries on the West Coast, worth close to $300 million annually. But crabbers have been idle for weeks because an algae bloom is having a toxic effect on shellfish. KUOW'S Ashley Ahearn reports.
Airing on Tuesday, July 7, 2015: Greece’s economy is terrible, almost like a country that's just lost a war. But say Greece got to hit a reset button. What would it have going for it? We survey its natural and human assets. Next: The trade deficit increased in May to $41.9 billion dollars, fueled by a drop in exports, attributed to a strong dollar and weak international demand. We look at what this says about the economy, and how the drivers of growth are changing from export-led sectors to domestic-based ones. Plus: In Mountain View, CO, traffic citations and associated fees account for more than half of the town’s revenue. Mountain View is one of three Colorado towns that earned more than 50 percent of revenue from “fines and forfeitures” in 2013 – and it’s a practice not unique to Colorado. Now, both federal and state lawmakers are looking at capping the amount of revenue a town can generate through the police force so that police are not “fundraisers” for a town.
Airing on Monday, July 6, 2015: An audit of Blue Shield of California faulted the nonprofit health insurer for amassing a $4 billion surplus while failing to offer more affordable rates. The audit, the details of which were reported in the LA Times, was one reason California revoked Blue Shield’s tax exemption. It raises the question — how did big health insurers end up with non-profit status in the first place, and what does that mean for customers and executives today? Next: China’s markets have gotten so frothy the government has tried to calm them. We explore the extraordinary efforts the government is now making to keep the markets from completely tanking.
On today's show wrap up the week's business news, look at Phil Knight's impact on Nike and contemplate a massive heath care merger. Plus: a conversation with FCC chair Tom Wheeler and the new Battle of the Alamo.
Airing on Thursday, July 2, 2015: One of Chicago's remaining black-owned banks is in danger of closing, a reality that's part of a national trend. Unlike the more segregated days when these banks were founded, African-American customers can now take their business elsewhere. But black-owned banks provide a link to a proud history, and research says, they may do something a lot more important. Marketplace's Dan Weissmann has the story. Next: forget the baking soda volcano. Science fairs these days are about developing apps, designing a better hazmat suit or figuring out how to reclaim wastewater. And why stop there? How about getting a patent and some venture backers too? The U.S. Army is trying to help budding inventors do just that. Marketplace's Amy Scott reports.
Airing on Wednesday, July 1, 2015: Puerto Rico is in dire financial straits. So what, you might shrug. Well, if any of your money is invested in a municipal bond fund, you might own Puerto Rican bonds and they could take a hit. Marketplace's Adam Allington finds out who’s vulnerable. Next: Speaking today in Tennessee, President Obama will try to court conservative states to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. We unpack his sales pitch on using federal dollars to help states’ bottom lines.