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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.
Friday, July 25, 2014 2:00pm
As the song goes, "Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!" That is, unless you're getting paid the federal minimum wage like Mary Poppins.
Or, rather, Kristen Bell as Mary Poppins in a Funny or Die video poking fun at how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour:
Aside from lamenting that she has to buy her own birds (from Mexico, apparently), Poppins points out the irony of CEOs' growing paychecks, while she can't even live above the poverty line. Our own Paddy Hirsch has a video on this phenomenon. He doesn't sing:
Can't this British nanny catch a break? Or at least get a new umbrella?
Thursday, July 24, 2014 2:26pm
Walk into an American Girl store - any American Girl store - and you'll see different shades of pink. Everywhere. That, and dolls, which cost a minimum of $110. Accessories and services like ear-piercing cost more.
American Girl has been around since the 1980s. Their dolls started out as historical characters, who starred in accompanying books about significant periods in American history. Over the years, the line has expanded to include more contemporary characters.
Jean McKenzie, the woman who runs American Girl for its parent company, Mattel, says parents see the dolls an an investment. "I think they feel good about it because it’s quality and there’s just a lot of meaning behind it.”
She took Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal on a tour of her store, at The Grove in Los Angeles He's ... well, you should just watch:
Video produced by Preditorial
Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:57pm
Parts of rural America might be getting an infrastructure upgrade.
The Department of Agriculture is partnering with the private sector to launch a new investment fund stocked with $10 billion to go toward rural infrastructure development.
The idea is to bundle projects together so investors can more easily fund them, ranging from schools and hospitals to wastewater treatment facilities or even broadband.
For example, the state of Georgia exports nearly 30 percent of its agricultural products, according to Kent Wolfe, director of the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development at the University of Georgia.
“In order to get those products to the port and compete on a global basis, we need to make sure that we have an efficient transportation system, requiring additional funds in rails, roadways, and port facilities,” Wolfe says, describing the type of investment his area might benefit from.
Especially in more rural locations, communities simply can’t afford to do these large projects on their own.
“Rural areas often have farmland and lower cost rural housing and that’s about it to tax,” says Larry DeBoer, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. “In order to do a big project, the tax rates you’d need to do this sort of thing at normal interest rates would be quite high.”
CoBank, a national cooperative bank based in Colorado, is putting up the first $10 billion, though the Department of Agriculture is seeking additional funding from other private sources, like pension funds, endowments, and foundations.
The agency will then act as the matchmaker, finding projects for this fund to invest it. Some loans will be all private money, others a mix of private and public funding.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:00am
Retirees and employees have voted to accept benefit cuts under Detroit’s bankruptcy blueprint, but not all creditors are on board. Two of the biggest holdouts are bond insurers.
Some are cooperating with Detroit’s plan, but not Syncora Guarantee Inc.
“They’re fighting tooth and nail against the city’s proposed settlement, because it’ll cost them money,” says Alan Schankel, a municipal research analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott.
Syncora and Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. (FGIC) insured almost $1.5 billion of Detroit’s pension debt. The city is offering ten cents on the dollar, or less. That may not be enough.
“Bond insurers got in a lot of trouble in the 2008 crisis. A lot of them were investing in some very exotic derivatives and other things,” says Eric Scorsone, a public finance economist at Michigan State University.
Syncora was insuring mortgage backed securities and other complicated financial products, says analyst Alan Schankel. As the housing crisis hit, Syncora lost capital and its AAA rating.
This all comes at a time when fewer muni bonds are even getting insured. Schankel says before the financial crisis, more than half of new bonds got insurance.
“This year to date that percentage is 4.85 percent,” he says, calling it a precipitous drop.
He believes marketshare will improve over time. The question is whether it will happen in time for Syncora.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:00am
Corporate tax inversions are the latest topic of debate on Capitol Hill. Allan Sloan, senior editor at large for Fortune magazine, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday to talk about international taxation and ways to reverse American companies reincorporating overseas.
Click the media player above to hear Allan Sloan in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to explain the maneuver, why it’s happening, and what government should do to regulate it.
June 11, 2013