Economy & Business

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On a scorching afternoon in March, Agner Balladares Cardoza drives along Managua's chaotic main road, the Masaya Highway, jammed each day by the city's stressed-out commuters.

Balladares, 36, is the father of a 6-month-old girl. He has no formal job and makes his living selling whatever he can get his hands on — pants, used car batteries, baseball caps — and by working as a driver on occasion. When he has nothing to sell and no one to drive, Balladares stays at home and takes care of his little girl.

Can Venezuela's Maduro survive the latest riots?

Apr 13, 2017
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Kai Ryssdal

In the past couple of weeks, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, and, by extension, the dismal state of the economy. Daniel Gallas, the BBC's South America business correspondent, talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about the cause of the riots in Venezuela. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

If you are one of the 42 million people out there with federal student loans, you have surely come into contact with a loan servicer. That is a company or nonprofit paid by the federal government to collect your payments and handle any problems with the loan — the name Navient may ring a bell. One of the last moves of the Obama administration was to sue the company for allegedly cheating borrowers and making it harder for them to repay their loans. This week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew several Obama-era policies aimed at cleaning up the industry.

What's behind Trump’s shifting economic policies?

Apr 13, 2017

President Trump is reversing his positions on some key economic issues, as a Wall Street Journal interview revealed: China (no longer calling it a currency manipulator); the Export-Import Bank (supports it); Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (likes her, would like to see interest rates stay low), to name a few. What’s behind all this? Is this a result of growing influence of business leaders, like White House economic adviser Gary Cohn or Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin?

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Jana Kasperkevic

Every city needs teachers and first responders. Yet these blue-collar jobs no longer guarantee workers an entry into America’s middle class or a home of their own.

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Johnny Kauffman

The November election was only five months ago, but already Republicans and Democrats are raising and spending big bucks in special congressional elections, like those in Kansas and Georgia this month.

The outside money is really pouring into Georgia, where a special election is set for Tuesday in the Atlanta suburbs.

Trump plan to privatize the FAA faces familiar foes

Apr 13, 2017
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Adam Allington

It’s been a bad week for U.S. airlines. It started first with the mass weather cancellations by Delta followed swiftly by the now infamous video of a United Airlines passenger being physically assaulted and dragged off a flight to Louisville, Kentucky.

All of this turbulence has overshadowed a recent endorsement by the Trump administration of a congressional plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system.

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Marketplace

Noticed something different about President Trump these past couple days? He's reversing his positions on some key economic issues. We'll look at what might be the cause and the implications for the broader economy. Plus, Republicans and Democrats are testing the limits of how far outside money can take them in the race to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price. Cash is pouring into the Atlanta suburbs. Then, we take a break from the news to do a small business story at one of Kai's favorite types of businesses: A craft brewery.

United Airlines says it will never again use police to forcibly remove passengers from overfull flights. But this week's public relations disaster for United highlights a problem that airlines face every day: how to entice people to give up their seats voluntarily.

NPR reached out to some of the top thinkers in the world of "game theory" who say they think the industry could be doing a much better job. Here are some solutions they offered.

Treat the problem as a game.

The U.S. markets are reacting to Trump's decision to back away from several economic stances he took on the campaign trail. One reversal? A (positive) change of heart when it comes to Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Diane Swonk, CEO of DS Economics, joins us to discuss possible reasons for the shift. Next, we'll look at David Brancaccio's journey to find his own C-3PO as part of our "Robot-Proof Jobs" series. The digital sidekick he's auditioning this time: Benjamin, software that creates original stories of its own.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Andy Uhler

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he was thinking about overhauling the Affordable Care Act by withholding subsidy payments to insurers to entice Democrats to negotiate.

Repeal and replace is on-again, off-again, but that doesn't mean the rules affecting your insurance will stay the same in the meantime.

The Trump administration late Thursday issued a final rule aimed at stabilizing the existing health law's insurance marketplace that could have rapid, dramatic effects — perhaps as soon as early summer — on people who do not get insurance through work, and buy it on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges instead.

Where do the U.S. and China go from here?

Apr 13, 2017
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Kim Adams and Marketplace staff

First, Donald Trump claimed China was holding its currency down.

Then he lauded his "outstanding" relationship with the country after a meeting last week with its president, Xi Jinping.

Micaela Martin

In Wisconsin, the gender wage gap is 22 cents per dollar, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. This adds up. American women are losing up to $1.5 million over the course of their lifetimes. A program at UWM is hoping to make wages more equal by teaching future graduates how to negotiate with employers.

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