Economy & Business

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For a young Donald Trump in the 1970s, the Grand Hyatt hotel on East 42nd Street was his first major development project, a chance to make a splash in the big-time world of New York City real estate.

Yet the glitzy glass-fronted hotel never would have been possible without an almost unprecedented 40-year tax abatement from the city, which was then recovering from a painful fiscal crisis.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


The numbers are out — and they confirm what we've been hearing from farmers and immigration lawyers. More and more farmers are turning to foreign "guest workers" to plant and harvest the country's crops.

The Trump administration has set into motion the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, following through on the president's earlier promise.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders in a letter Thursday that the president intends to launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable."

The Federal Communications Commission has officially begun to undo Obama-era regulations on Internet service providers, often called net neutrality rules. The rules, passed in 2015, had placed cable and telecom companies under the strictest-ever oversight of the agency.

Plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over defective Takata airbag inflators have reached a settlement with Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW that's worth $553 million. The plaintiffs filed papers to settle their claims against the companies Thursday, saying the deal covers nearly 16 million vehicles.

The settlement does not cover claims of personal injury or property damage, the plaintiffs, say. The deal is now in the hands of a federal court in Miami.

Here's a breakdown of how many vehicles are in question, and the amount automakers will pay:

Why Pittsburgh is buying $1,200 garbage cans

May 18, 2017
Erika Beras

It’s a Monday morning and Val Trinkala and Robert Sledge are slowly making their way along Pittsburgh's downtown streets, stopping to check public trash cans in a Department of Public Works truck. About half the cans need emptying; the rest they skip. But they still check every can on every street on their route.

A copy of President Trump’s proposed education budget has been leaked to the Washington Post. In total, the plan would eliminate $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, including things such as after-school programs for the poor, teacher training, and surprisingly, work-study funding for college students. The cuts to work-study, together with other proposed rollbacks in college loan programs, would create an environment where one truth rises to the top: This budget would simply make it harder for students to afford college.

Kai Ryssdal

President Trump's economic surrogates were out and about today: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on TV, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Capitol Hill. They were talking up the administration's plans for trade renegotiation and tax reform, ambitious would-be changes to the American economy — and all changes that are being waylaid by American politics.

Do fewer regulations translate to more growth?

May 18, 2017
Kim Adams

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, he discussed economic growth, and the Trump administration’s goal of achieving 3 percent gross domestic product or higher using a combination of “historic reforms” to taxes and regulation.

The administration has made no secret of its desire to cut regulations, but while many politicians and economists espouse the idea, there's wider disagreement over how much growth such moves can generate.

The bond market has a message for President Trump

May 18, 2017

The yield on the 10-year treasury has been tumbling for the past week. Another way of saying that is: That is strong demand for these bonds, which causes their price to rise and the interest rates they pay to fall. And that is telling us something about investor thinking — about the Federal Reserve, the president and the future. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Trump is actually trying to renegotiate NAFTA

May 18, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

After a couple of fits and starts, the White House made it official today, sending formal negotiations to Congress — and one assumes to Mexico and Canada, as well — that it's going to open up the North American Free Trade Agreement for renegotiation.

Each year, the United States sends billions of dollars to poor countries. Does it really help them grow?

The question isn't new.

But it's taken on renewed urgency in the Trump administration. Last month, NPR's David Greene asked Stephen Moore, who advised Trump's campaign on economic policy, whether he supports the idea of cutting the U.S. foreign aid budget. His response: "100 percent."