Economy & Business

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Aaron Schrank

Have you ever noticed that when you go on Amazon, sometimes you get charged sales tax and sometimes you don’t? That’s because different rules apply for different states, and there’s a lot of grey area. But now, under pressure from state governments, the company has agreed to collect them uniformly across the country. With that out of the way, revenue-hungry states are shifting their attention and trying to force the rest of online retail to pay up. 

Counting television viewers outside their homes

May 16, 2017
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Adrienne Hill

It's that "upfronts" time of year, when TV broadcasters make their pitch to advertisers.

ESPN takes the stage in New York on Tuesday morning. And after years of trying to figure out how to count it, the sports channel will be pitching the size of its out-of-home-audience, all those folks watching in bars, at restaurants, at airports, and in the doctor's office.

Republicans and Democrats don’t quite see eye to eye when it comes to repealing Obamacare. But when the Senate Finance Committee meets today, there’s likely to be common ground on how to improve care for the 3.5 million sickest and most expensive Medicare patients: a new bipartisan bill that targets new treatments for the people who cycle in and out of the hospital.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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Marketplace

By now, you've likely heard about the malicious ransomware that spread like wildfire across computer networks using Microsoft's products. Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, joins us to talk about how users can keep safe and the primary motive behind the hacker(s) actions. Plus: Imraan Ismail, co-creator of the new virtual reality film "The Protectors," on why the medium hasn't become all that common yet. 

05/16/2017: The high price of the future

May 16, 2017
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Marketplace

Ford could lay off about 10 percent of its workforce worldwide, most of whom may be salaried workers. On today's show, we'll discuss one of the issues the company is grappling with: its investment in the future, a move that comes at the expense of high costs in the present. Afterwards, we'll look at a new Trump administration policy that will deny funding to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion, and then explore how ESPN will try to use its out-of-home audience numbers to court advertisers. 

Investigators looking into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia will be able to pursue leads by tapping into a huge database of suspicious financial transactions maintained by the federal government.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions operating in the U.S. are supposed to inform the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, when they see transactions that indicate possible money laundering, such as all-cash purchases of expensive real estate.

President Trump has proposed big tax cuts for businesses and individuals — breaks that could reduce federal revenue by trillions of dollars. Economists and tax specialists say that unless they're paid for, the tax cuts could explode budget deficits and the national debt.

The prospect has prominent Republicans and Republican members of Congress worried.

A ransomware attack that began in Europe on Friday is lingering — and hitting new targets in Japan and China. The WannaCry software has locked thousands of computers in more than 150 countries. Users are confronted with a screen demanding a $300 payment to restore their files.

The cyberattack has hit more than 300,000 computers, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said at Monday's midday White House briefing. He added that the rate of infection has slowed over the weekend.

The global cyberattack known as WannaCry continued to spread today, with 300,000 computers infected in 150 countries. The attack involves so-called ransomware, which basically holds the important files of victims hostage and then demands payment to unlock them. In this case, payment is the virtual currency bitcoin. Given to the scale of the attack, it doesn’t appear to have been all that lucrative for the hackers yet. Cyber security experts say hackers have raised only about $55,000 in bitcoins so far. 

My Economy: Making close to six figures as an intern

May 15, 2017
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Robert Garrova

For this latest installment of our series My Economy, we hear from David Kuhns who, as an intern, was making close to six figures. While he was a PhD student at the University of Oregon.

"The internship job description that I found, I found because I was searching for cognitive neuroscience. So, I had, I don't know gosh, it was 11, 12 years of education at that point before I even could get that internship.

Saudi Arabia and Russia announced plans to cut their amounts of oil going onto the market. That has suppressed oil prices. The two countries make up a significant part of the oil market, but not that much. So why can a minor cut in supply affect the price worldwide? Because the oil market has something its watchers call "inelasticity." When the supermarket’s out of strawberries, you buy apples. But there’s no substitute for oil, for the gas that runs our cars. We need it, and only it, meaning there’s little wiggle room when less is available.

Didn't pick up your rental car? No problem.

May 15, 2017
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Reema Khrais

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands?

China pushes for free trade leadership as U.S. retreats

May 15, 2017

Chinese President Xi JinPing is calling for wider participation in his country’s massive “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure project. Xi hosted a summit in Beijing over the weekend to tout the benefits of the plan, which will expand trade links between China, Asia, Africa and Europe. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is pushing ahead with its “America First” program and questioning the value of free-trade pacts such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So, do China’s gains in developing trade constitute a loss for the United States? 

It was 2 a.m. on a Sunday night in January 2016. Ben and Jerry's flavor guru, Kirsten Schimoler, had been at the ice cream plant in St. Albans, Vt., all weekend. Now she stood mesmerized in the wee hours as 180 cups of non-dairy almond "ice cream" whizzed past her every single minute.

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