Economy & Business

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The idea of saving 20 percent for a downpayment has dashed many homeownership dreams. The thought of saving that much money while home prices and rents are increasing and wages are stagnant can be daunting.

But don’t give up on that dream of a white picket fence just yet. It turns out that the average downpayment for a first time homebuyer is much lower than you think.

If protectionism were a song it'd sound like this

Aug 11, 2017

In recent years there has been growing discontent in Western countries; between talk of building border walls and Brexit, it is easy to think that a new era of  global retreat is under way. But, disputes between trading partners and rhetoric about protecting domestic industries from foreign trade (protectionism) isn't new. In fact, the U.S. was having the same argument back in 1896, when Democrat William Jennings Bryan campaigned against Republican William McKinley, a protectionist.  

Food is at the center of US-UK trade concerns

Aug 11, 2017

President Trump has promised a “big, big” free trade agreement with the U.K. once that country leaves the European Union in 2019. The British cabinet is, however, split over the prospect. Some ministers believe that Britain should clinch a deal with the U.S. at any cost. But others fear that a free trade deal would lift the existing European ban on the importation of some controversial American farm products and that could undermine British food standards.

The U.S. Postal Service wants more freedom to raise the price of stamps. After a 10-year review, regulators at the Postal Regulatory Commission could give a decision on that request as soon as next month. This comes as USPS has lost money for the past 10 years straight.

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Airbnb closes accounts linked to white supremacy rally

Aug 11, 2017

Airbnb has canceled accounts of users who planned to attend a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Gizmodo first reported the story and confirmed it with Airbnb.

Tech companies have had to grapple with some big moral issues as of late. Recently, Airbnb reportedly deactivated the accounts of users planning to attend a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Virginia. On today's show, we'll chat with University of Maryland professor Dana Fisher about whether the company is allowed to do something like this, and whether it's good for a business' bottom line to make a big political stand. Afterwards, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Saron Yitbarek, founder of the Code Newbie podcast.

With tensions rising between the U.S. and North Korea, we'll talk with Leon Sigal — director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project — about whether sanctions actually work, and then look at growing support in Congress for greater missile defense spending. Afterwards, we'll discuss the U.S. Postal Service's push to gain more freedom to raise the price of stamps.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


When people in several North Carolina precincts showed up to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

"Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn't," recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as poll books — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

Promising online shows that run from comedy and reality to live sports, Facebook says its new Watch platform will let creators connect with their audiences — and earn money in the process. The social media giant's plan calls for using ads to monetize video.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Last month President Trump announced a deal with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to bring as many as 13,000 jobs to southeastern Wisconsin in exchange for $3 billion in tax breaks. Now legislative analysts are projecting the state won't break even on that investment for more than 25 years. These sorts of mega-incentives to lure employers have been on the rise in many states since the recession. But do these deals really pay off for local economies?

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Koch brothers are silent investors in "Wonder Woman"

Aug 10, 2017

One hears a lot that in its politics, Hollywood tends toward the liberal. The Kansas-based Koch brothers (whose company is an on-again, off-again underwriter of this program) tend toward conservative politics. And one would imagine that the twain would never meet. But movies are expensive to make, so producers need money. And movies can be profitable, and people with money like profit, which is where the Koch brothers come in.