Economy & Business

Business news

Check cashing stores and payday loan centers have a checkered reputation, to put it mildly. Critics say their high interest rates and fees take advantage of people who are already financially disadvantaged. But the truth is, these alternative financial systems are proliferating in Wisconsin and around the country.

Writer Lisa Servon wondered why. Servon is a professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania and her new book is called The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives.

The Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata has reached a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over a deadly defect in its air bags that led to a massive recall.

At least 16 deaths, 11 of them in the U.S., have been linked to the defect.

Nuclear power plants are typically hulking structures made using billions of dollars of concrete and steel. But one company thinks that by going smaller, they could actually make nuclear power more affordable.

Little white chips fly off in every direction with each blow of master ivory carver Li Chunke's chisel.

Gradually, the folds of a robe, tassels and hands of an ancient Chinese woman begin to emerge from a rough piece of ivory in front of him in his Beijing workshop.

Li says nothing looks as smooth, nothing can be carved as intricately or expressively as ivory. Wood and jade are too brittle.

"Whether I'm carving animal or human figures, I try to express their feelings," he says. "That's what Chinese consider most important."

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Andy Uhler

Dean Spanos, the billionaire who owns the Chargers, thinks getting into the Los Angeles market is going to pay off. But with the Rams in L.A. already, the Chargers won’t be the only NFL franchise in town. So will fans actually show up to games and spend money on yet another team’s gear?

Allen Sanderson, economics professor at the University of Chicago, said this move isn’t really about the Chargers or the Rams.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it’s locking in car fuel efficiency standards set four years ago, in advance of the incoming Trump administration. The plan requires automakers to more than double their fleet-wide fuel efficiency by 2025. While a key part of President Obama’s legacy, the regulation is not all popular with the automobile industry.

For banks, there’s a delayed benefit to rising rates

Jan 13, 2017

Interest rates are rising, which tends to be good news for banks. But it looks like it'll take a little longer for them to see the benefits. In earnings announcements today, several big banks, including Bank of America, reported flat or only slightly higher margins on interest rates. So when can the banks expect to cash in?

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Hayley Hershman

No matter who you are, you've probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, Chris Thile, the host of "A Prairie Home Companion," took our money-inspired personality questionnaire.

You can catch "A Prairie Home Companion" on your local public radio station.

Fill in the blank: Money can't buy you happiness but it can buy you ______

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Lizzie O'Leary

This week, President-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference since July, and answered questions about his plans for his businesses. 

The brief gist: he says he's handing over control of the Trump Organization to his older sons and a business associate and putting his assets into a trust. Trump says no new foreign deals will be made, but new domestic deals are allowed and the President-elect can look at an overall profit and loss statement.

The changing balance of US-Russia relations

Jan 13, 2017
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Lizzie O'Leary and Eliza Mills

In the past few weeks, there's been a lot of news about Russia, from the DNC hacking, to the intelligence community's conversations with President elect Trump about the Kremlin.

President Obama recently issued new sanctions against against the country, and ejected 35 Russian diplomats from the United States. 

To get a better sense of the economic and political relationships between the U.S. and Russia and what might change, Marketplace Weekend reached out to Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.

01/13/2017: Business conflicts? Trump has a few

Jan 13, 2017
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Marketplace

We're going long and short on private prisons and President Barack Obama's legacy as a job creator with Marketplace's Lewis Wallace and The Atlantic's Gillian White. Then, UCLA law professor Jon Michaels talks us through President-elect Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest and Russia expert Matt Rojansky explains the economic and political relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Plus, "A Prairie Home Companion" host Chris Thile takes the Marketplace Quiz.

Globalization backlash looms over Davos forum

Jan 13, 2017
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Sam Beard

The presidential inauguration may cast a pall over the World Economic Forum at Davos in the Swiss Alps next week. The vote for Donald Trump represented a stunning rejection of  some of the core beliefs propagated at Davos: a belief in the benefits of  globalization,free trade and mass immigration. Both Trump’s victory and the vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom  have been widely seen as a slap in the face for the global political and business  elite, the very people  who will gather in the Swiss ski resort. Will they feel abashed and deflated by these two electoral setbacks?  

Leigh Gallagher of Fortune and Felix Salmon of Fusion join Kai Ryssdal to discuss the week's business and economic news. This week, they debate whether the new administration will work towards heavily slowing down Congress, if President-elect Trump really is a "tweet risk" and what might be the best thing to ask Steven Mnuchin at his congressional hearing.

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Kim Adams

The city of St. Louis is trying a new strategy to fight urban blight. A massive project to raze an entire neighborhood and turn it into a new campus for a government intelligence agency.

The $1.75 billion project will keep thousands of jobs in the city, but comes at the expense of a historically black community that remains skeptical of how much of the development will benefit them.

Advocates for the unbanked worry about the Trump era

Jan 13, 2017
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Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Nineteen year-old Roxana Mercado Rojo needed $700. She was brought to the U.S. from Bolivia as a toddler.  She’s undocumented, and decided to apply for an Obama administration program that lets people like her get temporary protection from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.  There’s a fee.  Where to get the money?

“You know, I couldn’t kinda borrow from my parents and, you know, there wasn’t anyone of trust that I can borrow from,” she said.

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