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Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program ran out at the end of September, meaning millions of kids and pregnant women won’t have coverage in the new year. There are bills in Congress that would fund the program, but nobody can agree where to get to money to do it. The $15 billion program funnels federal money to states, which they use to subsidize healthcare for some families. Now some states are sending notices to CHIP recipients that their coverage may go away next year.

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Tucked away in the House and Senate tax bills is a big break for companies that have stockpiled money overseas. The hope is that bringing that cash back to the U.S. will lead to more jobs here. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

At a meeting in Geneva today, the treaty organization that shook the music industry with new trade regulations on rosewood took formal action to clarify and potentially ease some of the regulations.

Rosewood is a prized "tonewood" used for musical instruments from guitars to clarinets and oboes.

The treaty cracked down on the material's international movements late last year to combat worldwide depletion of rosewood trees, driven by China's burgeoning demand for rosewood furniture.

Is this the right time for a tax cut?

Dec 1, 2017

The GOP tax cuts may add about 0.8 percent to GDP growth during the next 10 years, according to several budget models. But that's economic growth for an economy that's already heating up. And you know who you call when the economy gets too hot? The Federal Reserve. It's the Fed's job to come in and put on the brakes. So there are some concerns that the Fed might have to mop up the very growth the GOP is promising.

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You risk overheating it. If these cuts pass, and if they do, in fact, stimulate the already-growing economy, the Fed would inevitably have to pump the brakes and raise interest rates. We get into that scenario and hear listeners' ideas about what America would look like with this tax bill in place. Plus, who the Children's Health Insurance Program left stranded when Congress failed to extend its funding, a dispatch from coal country and the tale of how Charles Dickens wrote his hit Christmas story and ended up with almost no money.

Planet Money Goes To Space

Dec 1, 2017


Space is easier to get to than ever and it will change life on earth. Private companies are pouring billions of dollars into tiny satellites, new rockets, and gathering information on earth from above. To see how it all works, we are getting in on the action ourselves.

We adopt an adorable satellite, go rocket shopping, and try to figure out how to turn our little piece of the new space race into a profit.

When Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico — or Hurricane Irma into Florida, or Hurricane Harvey into Texas, or wildfires ravaged California — the federal government stepped in to help with recovery. It's been quite a year.

And recovering from all those natural disasters, well, has had quite a cost.

Where does that money come from? We took a closer look at how the federal aid process works, from what triggers federal involvement, to how federal dollars are spent, to what happens when things don't go according to plan. 

Craft breweries might be about to crack open a celebratory cold one.

Under the Senate tax bill, alcohol producers would save $4.2 billion from 2018 to 2019, according to Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation.

The measure would help small-brewery owners like Kevin Sharpe, the founder and president of Dark City Brewing Co. He hopes to use the extra money to expand his business in Asbury Park, N.J.

"More money means better beer, and hopefully more of it," he said.

Some Puerto Ricans refuse to leave their island, despite lack of power

Dec 1, 2017

On Puerto Rico’s north coast is a town called Hatillo. At this time of year, the fields are lush green, the air is thick, and humid. It's the middle of the day and cars drive slowly through the neighborhoods, along roads with electricity poles leaning at a 45 degree angle, holding power lines that drape into U-shapes in front of people's homes, for as far as the eye can see.

Meet the man bringing power back to Puerto Rico

Dec 1, 2017

Almost three months have passed since Hurricane Maria made landfall, and much of the island of Puerto Rico is still without power. Roadside debris, downed trees and fallen power lines mark the damage Puerto Ricans live with on a daily basis.

While the Army Corps of Engineers is focused on the big picture of restoring power to Puerto Rico, the daily work falls to crews of linemen with bucket trucks and heavy equipment out around the island. Some of them have contracts with the Corps and others are there by mutual aid agreements with PREPA, Puerto Rico's power authority, like the Con Edison team from New York. Listen to Con Edison New York's Johnny Price share his experience of helping to restore power in Puerto Rico.

It’s been more than three months since Hurricane Harvey devastated southeast Texas. The eye of the storm first made landfall in the coastal town of Rockport — population 10,000 — and the destruction is evident right when you arrive. It’s a tourist town, mostly charter fishing and bird watching. Local officials said that up to a third of the town’s full-time residents are displaced, living in other towns miles away. There’s no vacancy in hotels, even for those who received Federal Emergency Management Agency vouchers. Many live in damaged RVs, some in tents. 

In a packed classroom at a career center in Greene County, Pennsylvania, Adam Maley is learning the skills of a dying profession: coal mining. Maley and roughly 20 classmates are being shown how to stay alive by breathing properly during a mine emergency.

They’ve paid $200 a piece for this two-week course. Despite huge layoffs and a shrinking market for coal, mining still has a hold here. Even if its rebirth hasn’t exactly been realized, Maley said.

“I fell into the common error that, you know, I thought that the day Trump got elected my troubles was over,” he said.

(Markets Edition) Amid all this discussion about taxes, what does the Federal Reserve think? Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to discuss how they might react to a growth in GDP from the overhaul like Republicans are hoping. Afterwards, we'll discuss the Department of Education's plan to give the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) a tech makeover by making a mobile app for it. Plus: We'll look at whether the ultra-discount retailer Big Lots has what it takes to keep up with other discounters like Walmart and Dollar General.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About Ray Dalio's TED Talk

Entrepreneur Ray Dalio would want somebody to tell him if he's about to make a mistake. So in his company, even the most junior employees are expected to give him--the boss--critical, honest feedback.

About Ray Dalio