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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.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:19pm
3.2 million passports have been lost or stolen from U.S. citizens since 2004.
That’s a lot of passports!
When a passport is stolen, it can make a circuitous loop around the world via underground criminal markets. Here's how it happens:
The Passport is taken.JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images
The Passport makes its way from the petty thief to a wholesale warehouse. There, it will sit in a stack of other stolen passports.Flickr: UKhomeoffice
A passport forger calls the warehouse to say, "I have someone who needs an American passport, got any?"
The warehouse man rummages through the stack, pulls out a passport, and sends it to the forger.PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
The forger will, if necessary, adulterate the image on the passport. He'll run it through a chain of people possibly 10 links long, until it makes its way to the client.Flickr: Hc_07
Someone will buy the fake passport for $200-$7,000. It could be used to get a job, to open a bank account, to launder money, or to get on a plane. As is clear from the Malaysian Air mystery, border patrol does not always check against Interpol lists of stolen or flagged passports.Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
STEP 6 (optional):
The stolen passport can be used to glean identification information that can then be used to apply for brand new passports – with a criminal’s photo and biometric information attached.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:48pm
Our long national menswear nightmare is over.
Men's Wearhouse is going to pay $1.8 billion for its smaller (but, if I may say, classier) competitor.
Also: I'm still not Audie Cornish.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:47pm
Lauren Wolkstein has her eyes glued to YouTube, watching the latest Wes Anderson movie. She gives a startled laugh as Jason Schwartzman's character's car crashes into a wall.
This seven minute film is not for theaters. It's for Prada, the fashion label.
“This is actually very entertaining,” Wolkstein says. She's an indie film director herself. She's had three films at Sundance. And like Wes Anderson, she's also made a short film for a fashion label, Gucci.
Which begs the question: Why are these famous directors selling out?
“To me,” Wolkstein says of her experience working for Gucci, “it was like, 'Oh, I don't have to worry about dressing the actors, I don't have to worry about the location, they gave me everything to play with, and I was able to tell a story, with these amazing clothes!''
Wolkstein says it can take years to raise enough money to finance a film, even for established indie directors. Commissions from big brands take that problem away.
"They're saying 'I love your work, here's some money, pretty much take this money and run with it and tell your stories.' And the only requirement, if any, is to put their name and the brand on the film."
She says having a fashion brand as your patron, giving you free rein, it actually raises a filmmaker's street cred.
But what's in it for the brand?
“I think fashion brands for a long time struggled to go online,” says Quynh Mai, founder of the agency Moving Image and Content, which helps fashion companies with digital marketing. “They sell exclusivity, aspiration. And for a long time the online space was the antithesis of that.”
Mai says having a web film with a fancy director gives fashion houses the exclusivity they're aiming for.
“When brands like Prada spend exorbitant amount of moneys on their films online,” Mai says, “they're trying to create a halo effect for their brand – that crosses not only their target consumer but maybe the consumer who buys their sunglasses, or buys their nail polish.”
Although, Mai says, when brands hire big name directors to make their films, it can take away attention from the brand.
“All people say is, 'Have you seen that Wes Anderson short?'” she says. “I’m not sure that that was a Prada piece.”
But director Lauren Wolkstein says hiring an indie director can actually save a brand money, because they're used to making films on a smaller budget than most commercial crews.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 5:49pm
On this week's Marketplace Money, we'll tackle the demographics of renting vs. buying. How did you choose the way you did?
According to Trulia, buying a home is 38% cheaper than renting. But that varies widely depending on location, "buying ranges from being just 5% cheaper than renting in Honolulu to being 66% cheaper than renting in Detroit."
Need help deciding? Trulia: Rent vs. Buy: Which is Cheaper
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:57pm
Leaders of the Senate Banking Committee unveiled a bipartisan plan on Tuesday that would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and replace them with a hybrid public-private mortgage-finance system. The government-sponsored enterprises were bailed out by taxpayers in 2008, at a cost of $187 billion as the housing market crashed. Fannie and Freddie guarantee mortgages and issue mortgage-backed securities, and back well over half of new mortgages right now.
The new plan would shut Fannie and Freddie down—presumably over several years—and create a new government entity just to guarantee mortgages. Private sector firms would bundle those mortgages into securities and market them to investors.
“There’s no question it would be a boom for large financial institutions,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “Mostly banks that would take over that activity and, to some extent, that risk.”
The first 10 percent of losses from guaranteed mortgages would be absorbed by private financiers, not the government. That’s to protect taxpayers from another bailout.
But Cecala is skeptical: “Just like we couldn’t afford to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fail, the question is, would we be able to allow large banks to fail, if they were propping up the mortgage market by issuing government-guaranteed mortgage securities?”
December 27, 2013