Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Monday, June 29, 2015 7:08pm
Monday's Marketplace was broadcast live from the Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. We took a break from the usual Marketplace format for a series of conversations all around one theme: mobility and the economy.
Economic mobility (or lack thereof) in Greece (starts at 01:10)
First things first: we had to talk about Greece. The European Central Bank froze funding to Greek banks. As the latest deadline for the country looms over its creditors and citizens, tensions are understandably high.
Some business owners, like gourmet sandwich shop owner Nick Voglis, have voiced their concerns.
"They implemented capital control here in Athens, and people started getting a little worried," Voglis told our reporter. "They have panicked a little bit."
To help better understand the current situation, Kai Ryssdal spoke to David Leonhardt, managing editor for The Upshot from The New York Times.
Mobility in education (starts at 6:15)
Next up, Knewton CEO Jose Ferreira and Veniam CEO Robin Chase, who chatted with us about the intersection of technology and education. The ever growing number of technology platforms makes it easier for people to use data. As a consequence, this makes it easier for students all over the world to expand their opportunities.
The bottom line when it comes to education and technology: “Get on board, or get left behind.”
Mobile content (starts at 14:55)
Netflix has revolutionized the way television content is distributed and consumed. Ted Sarandos, the company's chief content officer, says that he doesn't care how people watch the content of the service, even if it means watching "Lawrence of Arabia" on an iPhone.
"We just want you to have the best experience possible," Sarandos says. "For some, that experience is defined by convenience and watching a movie on your iPad. Or it's defined by wanting to see it on your big TV in 4K."
Brand mobility (starts at 20:12)
Among the leaders and thinkers at the Aspen Ideas Festival were some unexpected guests. Entrepreneur and two-time world champion skier Chris Davenport talked with us about what it takes to change your brand when you’re an athlete.
First things first, why does anyone choose to hike up dangerous mountains and ski down them? Chris says, “because it’s there.”
As of now, Chris is an athlete. But someday he’ll have to make the transition away from that. Of course, whether it’s a physical risk or a reputation-based risk, being brand mobile can be tricky. Chris says one of the keys to keeping himself on the right track is that he “can’t be afraid to fail.”
He says, “I’m out there putting one foot in front of the other … always have to be willing and able to turn around and find another way.… In my business, there has to be another day, I can’t afford to risk it all.”
Monday, June 29, 2015 5:33pm
The Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama two victories last week: the Affordable Care Act will keep its subsidies and same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states. But in a 5-4 decision on Monday, the Supreme Court decided against the Environmental Protection Agency's air pollution regulations.
The regulations would have limited emissions from coal-fired plants, but the court's decision centered on the issue of environmental benefits versus industry cost.
Justice Antonin Scalia, on behalf of the court, wrote, "The agency must consider cost — including, most importantly, cost of compliance — before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary." Scalia added, "It is not rational, never mind 'appropriate,' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits."
The EPA's rules will stay in effect until a District of Columbia appeals court decides whether the rules will be amended or thrown out entirely.
Monday, June 29, 2015 5:00pm
Let's circle back to the lack of mobility Greeks and their money are dealing with right now.
Bloomberg News is reporting that Europeans have been buying gold — traditionally the safest of safe havens — at quite a clip this month.
The U.K. Royal Mint says sales of gold coins to Greeks was "double the five-month average in June."
Private coin retailer CoinInvest.com says it's sold out, and that it's the French, Germans and Greeks who are buying.
The rest of the world ... meh.
Gold closed up about 0.5 percent today in New York.
Monday, June 29, 2015 7:00am
With the Greek public being asked to vote on Sunday to approve or reject the terms of the EU's latest financial bailout, the immediate question is how to keep the economy going between now and then. More on that. Plus, we'll talk about the case before the Supreme Court involving Environmental Protection Agency regulations of power plant emissions. And Police departments all over the country are frantically ordering body-cams and dash-cams for their patrol officers these days. But those little cameras are also spreading into a lot of workplaces that have absolutely nothing to do with the police.
Monday, June 29, 2015 6:24am
Puerto Rico is staring down a deadline on July 1st when some of its $72.3 billion in public debt will come due. There’s the $630 million payment on general obligation bonds, and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority owes money on its $9 billion debt.
“They’re reaching the Rubicon now and have to decide how to proceed," says Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue. "Debts are coming due. They don’t have the money in the bank to pay them.” In an interview with the New York Times, Puerto Rico's Gov. Alejandro García Padilla openly admitted the island is not able to pay its debt.
Moody’s Investors Service has rated Puerto Rico’s debt at CAA2, one of the lowest ratings the agency can give. On a 21 level scale, CAA2 is third from the bottom and considered "junk" status.
“It indicates a high risk of default and significant expected losses for bond holders,” says Ted Hampton, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s.
Moody’s downgraded Puerto Rico’s debt a month ago, driven by disclosures the commonwealth had made about its declining cash reserves and the potential to run out of cash this summer if it couldn’t sell more debt.
“The House of Representatives passed a measure that would suspend the practice of setting aside the money they need to pay future bond service,” Hampton says. "That’s an indicator of severe distress and lack of liquidity, even if that law is not enacted.”
Charles Blitzer, principal at Blitzer Consulting and a former International Monetary Fund official, sees some potential for a turnaround. “I’ve seen many distressed sovereigns suffering from fiscal crises in my career, and I would say this is the most stress for least fundamental reasons,” he says. “This can be solved without too much effort.”
The government raised the sales tax in May from 7 percent to 11.5 percent, though that won’t help with the July 1st deadline as revenues won’t come in until late in July.
While most investors have abandoned the territory, Puerto Rico is negotiating right now with hedge funds for loans to keep its budget afloat.
Some proposals involve raising electricity bills, and one lawmaker has warned of massive furloughs of government workers. This has left Puerto Ricans swimming in uncertainty.
Christina Sumaza is an entrepreneur who moved back to the territory to pursue business interests and fight the exodus of talent from the island. “I try to look at the positive side of things and be solutions oriented, but a lot of people are very, very frustrated and scared even. Can the government sustain itself economically for the next few months? You know, what’s going to happen?”
Puerto Rico’s troubles have several origins. In 2006, a U.S. tax break that incentivized manufacturers to produce in the territory expired.
“At one time about half of all pharmaceuticals used in the U.S. were manufactured in Puerto Rico,” Hakim says. “When Washington decided to phase out that tax-free situation, by the end of it the companies were leaving Puerto Rico, and unemployment jumped very high very quickly.”
Hakim says government leaders in Puerto Rico have not been held accountable for economic management because so much economic power and support derives from Washington.
The territory borrowed to finance current expenditures, and combined with the recession's toll, Puerto Rico found itself having difficulty repaying those debts.