Economy & Business

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On today's show, we'll talk about the news that Japan's central bank wants to keep its interest rates near zero — its first long-term target. We'll also chat with Ikea's U.S. president, Lars Petersson, about research that found Americans care more about quality of life than owning things. He shares what this means for a company whose goal it is to sell material goods.

Marketplace Tech for Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the Transportation Department's push to formalize data sharing on autonomous vehicles between companies and the government; scientists' collection of gene data from residents living in Sardinia, Italy — a region with a high life expectancy; and the possibility that the European Union may investigate some U.S. companies, like it did with Apple, over unpaid taxes. 

Tony Gonzalez

In a few ways, the McMillin Court in Nashville, Tenn.  looks like a vintage motel.  It is yellow-and-gray, two stories tall, and in the shape of a horseshoe. All 16 units have their own doors to the outside.

The kicker is the neon sign in blue and yellow. It even touts “no vacancy,” although that’s kind of a joke. Since these are former apartments, there’s no front desk to inquire about a room. Guests like Luke Graham, of London, England, book online.

The U.S. government wants to help you take your hands off the wheel.

The Department of Transportation on Tuesday issued its Federal Automated Vehicle Policy, which outlines how manufacturers and developers can ensure safe design of driverless vehicles, tells states what responsibilities they will have and points out potential new tools for ensuring safety.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Saudi Arabia is such an influential player in the oil industry that any action it takes — or is rumored to take — can sway global markets. So it's not surprising there's a lot of speculation about whether its massive state oil company, Saudi Aramco, is trying to buy a refinery in Texas.

Facing off with the CEO whose massive bank appropriated customers' information to create millions of bogus accounts, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., had sharp questions Tuesday for Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. She said Stumpf made millions of dollars in the "scam," telling him, "You should resign ... and you should be criminally investigated."

As the number of people covered by high-deductible health plans soars, some insurers and employers are easing the strain on consumers' wallets by covering certain benefits like doctor visits or generic drugs before people have reached their plan's deductible.

But there's a hitch: Under Internal Revenue Service rules, high-deductible plans that can link to health savings accounts can only cover preventive services, such as vaccinations and mammograms, until patients buy enough services on their own to pay down their deductible.

Donna Tam

News of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s impending divorce captured headlines and social media today, likely taking over the water cooler talk everywhere.

After a 330,000-gallon spill shut down a gasoline pipeline in Alabama on Sept. 9, fuel shortages and high gas prices are occurring across the Southern United States this week, NPR member stations report.

Emily Siner of Nashville's WPLN tells NPR's Newscast that prices there have risen about 20 cents per gallon since Thursday, and officials are urging drivers not to fill up unless they need to:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Clawbacks often leave out the clawing

Sep 20, 2016
Sabri Ben-Achour

Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf went to Capitol Hill today to get an earful from Senators. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren did not hold back.

“This just isn’t right.  A cashier who steals a handful of twenties is held accountable but Wall Street executives almost never hold themselves accountable,” she said, referring both to the financial crisis and to the incentive system at Wells Fargo that she said drove employees to illegally open bank accounts for customers without their knowledge. 


As driverless cars go from sci-fi to reality, Americans are watching the birth of a revolutionary new industry — and the government wants to play more of a role in shaping it. 

The Obama Administration has released guidelines to get makers of self-driving cars to share more information about their safety systems proactively, instead of having them hash everything out on their own.