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.
It's a little known historical fact that when it was created 110 years ago, the Department of Commerce was actually called the Department of Commerce and Labor. It's a reflection, perhaps, of the relationship between those two parts of the economy. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker stops by to talk about growing the American export economy as one way to keep American businesses competitive. Next, T-Mobile is offering big incentives to try and get you to leave your phone carrier. But to do so, you've got to change the family plan, the data plan, get a new phone, etc. Even where there's a better deal out there, consumers don’t always make the switch because it’s just too much trouble. Also, an increase in heroin use has been reported in many states. This week, Vermont's governor devoted his entire state of the state speech to the problem.
Today, on the the fifty-year anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s State of the Union address, in which he issued a call to arms against poverty, we look at the fierce debate, not only over whether the U.S. has won or lost the war on poverty, but whether the country as a whole is gaining ground or retreating. Also, this week marks the 50th anniversary of a report by the Surgeon General on the health effects of smoking, linking it to lung cancer and heart disease. We hear about the impact the report had on one of the biggest industries in the nation. And, the National Federation of Independent Business said small business owners added more jobs per firm last month than they have in eight years. Even so, there are more Americans unemployed now than at any time since World War II, while Congress is debating whether to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.
As a deal to reinstate unemployment insurance works it way through Congress, we delve into the "freeloader argument." What happens when folks lose their benefits -- do they finally start looking and land a job? Next, AT&T is offering companies the opportunity to pay for your smartphone’s data use. The idea is that a company would offer, say, a video for which it pays the data charge, getting you to stream it when ordinarily you’d pass. It gets a view, and AT&T increases the data flowing through its system. And also, Lindsey Vonn, one of the few big names in winter sports, is out of the Winter Olympics with an injury. For NBC/Comcast, which paid a fortune for the rights, a lackluster games could come at a very high cost: lower ratings for the game themselves, but also a loss of ratings for the Today show.
As CES opens, exhibitors are showing all sorts of gadgets and apps that will connect you to everything in your home and your car. But if you look back at some of the futurist visions promised in the past, what happened to them? Next, a really deep freeze can screw with an economy built on moderate temperatures. And finally, we take a look at the accounting tricks behind extending unemployment benefits. Pay for something today that we will save the money for tomorrow.
Airlines and airline pilots are facing a major rule change this weekend that may impact flight delays and scheduling -- the same weekend that airline traffic will be impacted by the snowstorm on the East Coast. Next, three NFL teams (out of four) could have their playoff games blacked out this weekend if they don’t sell out their stadiums by this afternoon. Under a nearly 40-year old rule, games can’t be televised locally if the stadium has empty seats. But the whole pro football industry has changed. Finally, decades ago Carl Drake left the Smithsonian millions of dollars set aside specifically to collect bugs. Now, the Smithsonian says it has collected enough bugs.
Fiat is set to acquire full-control of Chrysler in a $4.35 billion deal. Could foreign ownership of this American classic dent sales in the U.S., or do people no longer care about "buying American?" Next, the Affordable Care Act is supposed to give more people access to primary care doctors, getting them into treatment early instead of relying on the Emergency Room (which costs more). Also, the Dow’s 2013 record would have been even higher but for IBM’s showing. IBM, which carries a lot of weight on the Dow, was the only component to see its shares fall for the year. And finally, the rescue of 52 passengers on a scientific research in the Antarctic today was the result of collaboration among several nations, including China, Australia and the U.S.