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.
Bank earnings look good, and big banks’ shares are doing well in the markets today. But for some years now, a significant contributor to earnings is simply the release of loss reserves set aside during the Bad Days. When accounting affects earnings so greatly, what’s the value of these earnings reports? Next, the conservative Koch brothers have been spending money for fall campaigns already. They're targeting vulnerable Congressional Democrats who supported the ACA. But most campaigns say a dollar spent this early is a dollar spent unwisely. And finally,Viacom’s new My Nickelodeon Jr. takes personalized TV to the younger set – well, to their parents. Parents can program the TV their kids will watch – sounds a bit like Netflix.
So much for neutrality. A federal court said today the FCC can't force broadband companies to treat all content equally. That means giants like Verizon and AT&T — as well as cable companies — can pick favorites on the web, by slowing traffic from some sites and boosting the speed of others. Also, as American Idol opens its new season, it's easy to forget how influential the show was when it began more than a decade ago. Just as "The Sopranos" changed cable, American Idol shook up the networks. And finally, the Seattle Seahawks are limiting playoff tickets to credit card holders in the region – which rules out 49ers fans with California address. Does engineering a bigger home-field advantage work?
Target took weeks to reveal details of its data breach. Neiman Marcus, too. How do companies decide whether and how to reveal details of data breaches to the public? Next, we look at the updated situation in West Virginia, as residents question whether their water is safe just days after a chemical leak. Finally, we begin our new series that answers your economic questions, like "Why does one rotisserie chicken cost less than two chicken breasts?" and "Why do hotels give you a sewing kit, but not a toothbrush?" Today we examine why your zipper probably has three letters on it: YKK.
The Labor Participation Rate hasn’t been this low since the late 1970s. Who's in? Who's out? Target has upped the total number of customers impacted by its two-and-a-half week data breach to 70 million. A staggering figure that’s a reminder of the volume of shopping that happens in the U.S. consumer economy. California's state budget famously sank during the recession. Now that the state has just as famously turned it around and has a revenue surplus, Gov. Jerry Brown wants the state to pay down debts it piled up during the bad years.
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.