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.
Iraq's war agains internal militants is hurting its oil production, but overall production is okay. OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, hopes Saudi Arabia will keep its pumps on 11 million barrels more a day to make up for Libya and Iran. Longer-term, OPEC is still looking at a worldwide glut that could force its members to cut back. Plus, nutritionists want WIC, the program for pregnant women and mothers with small children, to stop promoting white potatoes as a vegetable. There are, like, actual vegetables that deserve more notice. Potato growers aren't amused. Also, BP has just got permission to use drones for its oil operations in Alaska- this is the first government-approved use of a drone over land in the US. Drones equal business opportunites for private companies, and the pressure on the FAA to approve the commercial use of drones is mounting. We look at who else is lining up for FAA permission to do this, from filmmakers to pizza companies.
President Obama is making big news about changes that will make but a small difference in the student loan debacle. But who will these changes help? And by how much will it help them? Plus, Time Inc. is going at it alone after having been spun off from Time Warner. The biggest-selling magazine in the company's stable of publications is People. But the celebrity magazine industry, like all print media is facing declining sales. So how do People and other celebrity magazines keep up their sales and future-proof their industry? Also, the latest venture-capital investment in Uber has put the car-service algorithm's paper value at more than $17 billion. Who's investing in Uber? And why would they think it's worth so much?
Tesla is trying to get its showrooms in New Jersey re-opened with legislation that argues that car dealerships are really repair shops. Teslas don't require a lot of repairs and maintenance, ergo sum, a Tesla showroom doesn't threaten traditional dealers. Except, maybe, by revealing their real business model. In sweeter news, today's National Doughnut Day! The celebration was begun by the Salvation Army in 1938 to raise funds for people in need during the depression era. We report on the intersection of poverty and America's favorite breakfast treat. Plus, UPS is delivering 6-pound bricks of Restoration Hardware catalogs, The Complete Set, including a one-page statement of sustainability impact (hey! We only do this once a year...). We look at the marketing strategy, figure out exercise routines using the brick, and investigate other uses.
The European Central bank has put in place a “negative interest rate” policy, in hopes of stimulating its economy. We explain what a negative interest rate actually is, and how it will affect the Eurozone economy and that of trading partners like the US. Plus, new data shows the number of American homeowners who are underwater, owing more to banks than their homes are worth, continues to decline. We explore what that means for homeowners and the economy as assets increase and homeowners regain mobility.
Word is that the head of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, is on the short list to be the new boss of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA system has more in common with the renowned Cleveland Clinic than you might think, despite its recent problems. We look at some of the similarities between the two organizations. Plus, the protests and appeals of Walmart workers are a far cry from the labor movement that organized the country's major industries many decades ago. The reliance on protests and publicity just goes to show how limited labor organizers have become, and how difficult it is to organize low-wage industries whose workers can't afford to risk their jobs. We'll also take a look at a couple hearings on the hill including one heard this morning regarding student debt. Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill that would let students refinance their federal student loans. Why can't they do that now? And what would it mean if they could?
A national poll shows there is broad public support for the EPA clean up of coal-burning generating plants. But the EPA's proposal does not eliminate coal. In fact, coal would still power 30 percent of electricity generation by 2030. What the rules are likely to do is move utilities to do what they're already doing for business reasons- eliminate their most inefficient, therefore most polluting, plants. Then, Conde Nast is getting into the business of teaching. The renowned media company that already teaches a Vogue fashion course in London is working with universities to create accredited certificate programs. We 'll take a look at the range of knowledge they might impart: from Wired to Golf digest to the New Yorker. Moving on to the auto industry- auto sales figures out today show a big jump in sales for major manufacturers, including Chrysler, GM and Nissan. What's behind the sudden rise in sales and why do consumers now feel able to shell out on autos? We investigate.