with Kai Ryssdal

About the Program

Public radio's only national series about the global economy and finance takes a broad view of business, covering any story related to money — most of the world's stories are. Hosted by Kai Ryssdal.

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What the Golden Age of Hollywood can reveal about the AT&T-Time Warner deal
It became official over the weekend: AT&T wants to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. Time Warner's properties include Warner Bros. movie studio, HBO, CNN and DC Comics, among others.  The deal between AT&T (a company that distributes content) and Time Warner (a company that makes content) echoes a trend already underway in the industry. "Content companies are getting into the distribution business , and there’s essentially a convergence already happening because of technology and streaming," said Gady Epstein, media editor at the Economist Magazine. "You have Amazon, you have Netflix, Hulu – these streaming services making content — and more of that will happen as the paid-TV bundle, the expensive bundle of cable channels, gets eroded as a business model, with younger consumers just going directly to internet services." But we won't be a part of that universe for a while, Epstein said. AT&T and Time Warner still gain substantial revenue from the paid-TV business. Anti-trust regulation So how will this deal affect consumers?  “The anti-trust regulators are going to be concerned about the ability of the distribution side to favor, well, their own content, and block out other providers,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.  Questions raised about the fairness of this merger echo the ones surrounding network neutrality, namely whether internet service providers will end up favoring certain content over others.  "That's a big problem. In fact, last year, the [Federal Communications Commission] set out its net neutrality rule. It turns out there are a lot of loopholes, there are a lot of ways of getting around it," Gordon said. "And, in fact, this merger might cause that rule to be revisited and tightened up."   The Golden Age of Hollywood Classic Hollywood cinema may also offer some insight into anti-trust laws regarding the Time Warner-AT&T merger.  AT&T's desire to buy Time Warner is a story of vertical integration, when a company owns the whole chain, soup to nuts. That sounds like the Golden Age of Hollywood, when the big studios were able to dominate after European film production shut down during World War I. By the early '30s, eight studios controlled roughly 80 percent of all the films being made throughout the world, said Steven J. Ross, a professor of history at the University of Southern California. Companies also had their own theaters where they were able to control what was shown, which changed after a Supreme Court ruling.   “In 1948, in what’s called the Paramount Decision – the Supreme Court said that it was in fact a restraint of trade for studios to control production, distribution and exhibition. And so they basically forced Paramount to give up all its theaters. And that led all the other companies — MGM, Warner Brothers – to do the same," Ross said. "There's going to be a lot of close federal look at the fact that this is, in a sense, going against an earlier Supreme Court decision, and I'm not sure how AT&T is going to finesse this, but I have a feeling they're going to run into a lot of anti-trust legislation."  (10/24/2016)

Will Visa’s recent PayPal partnership stoke its earnings?
Visa reports earnings Monday, and we'll see results for the first full quarter of its partnership with PayPal. Previously, PayPal actively steered its users away from using Visa to avoid the fees Visa charged on every purchase. Now Visa is getting those fees, and something more strategically important — an entry to the booming, and millennial-friendly, mobile payment space. (10/24/2016)

Political ad spending hikes prices, cuts inventory
Chances are good, especially if you live in a swing state, that you’re being bombarded by political ads. Between mid-September and mid-October alone, 117,000 presidential ads aired on television, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. This political ad-buying frenzy makes it a tough market for those who want to buy ad space. Prices have gone up substantially these past few weeks and there isn't much inventory out there. So some businesses are holding off on advertising until after the election, while others are turning to more affordable digital options. (10/24/2016)

Unions bet big on the Senate
There's been big spending by labor unions in this election — and even more in the last couple weeks. The powerful AFL-CIO has spent millions on 2016. Of course, labor unions have long supported Democrats, but this year they’re looking beyond the presidential race to the Senate and even farther down the ballot. Union reps are already in battleground states from Ohio to Wisconsin doing what they do best: knocking on doors, making calls, handing out leaflets at factories. And over the coming weeks, voters in those states can expect an even bigger push. “The final three weeks of this campaign we are gonna step up in major ways,” Josh Goldstein, spokesman for the AFL-CIO said. He said yes, they’re supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton, but also “all the way down ballot to local elections that really shape policy for people in their communities.”Races from governor to Senate. The idea, he said, is to tip the balance on policies that matter to unions. Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara, said Republican-controlled legislatures tend to have laws unfriendly to labor unions. Also, the Senate approves presidential appointees to key agencies like the National Labor Relations Board. “And there’s been a lot of obstructionist efforts to try to stop the NLRB from being funded, or fully funded, try to stop it from having enough appointees to carry on its business,” according to John Budd, professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. And it’s not just the NLRB. Unions care a lot about who’s in charge at the labor department and any other agency that weighs in on issues important to workers.   (10/18/2016)

America loves candy corn, apparently
America — what is the matter with you?A survey out today from Influenster asked people across the country about their favorite Halloween candies. The candy of choice in the most number of states — and picture me shaking my head here — is candy corn. I'm reassured only in the knowledge that the treat getting highest number of total votes was Reese's peanut butter cups — a personal favorite of mine.Check out the state by state breakdown in the map below, and don't forget Marketplace Weekend wants to hear about your Halloween spending stories![[{"fid":"305207","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":1586,"width":2048,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]] (10/18/2016)

Data shows drug prices spiked seven percent last year
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new inflation numbers today.Turns out consumer goods are about 1.5 percent more expensive today than they were last fall.It’s the usual culprits — gas, housing. But deep among the data was a figure which grabbed our attention.Prescription drugs have gone up 7 percent since last year — the highest annual increase since 1992.It's an historic price spike, but health policy people aren’t exactly sure what’s behind it.Yale economist Fiona Scott Morton said a new class of powerful drugs — sometimes called biologics — could be helping fuel costs.These are treatments for conditions like MS and rheumatoid arthritis and “autoimmune disease, cancer drugs, and they are often quite expensive $100k, $200k a year,” she said.Scott Morton said manufacturers have been aggressively raising their prices on these potent drugs, sometimes by double digits.Controversial business practices like this have landed some companies in the spotlight — like Mylan, the makers of EpiPen.Dr. Walid Gellad at the University of Pittsburgh sees a connection between those scandals and a political shift.“A piece of what we are seeing maybe an anticipation from industry that the end is coming,” he said.“At some point they are not going to be able to increase prices they way they have.”These higher drug prescription prices could be the harbinger of rough times ahead.Since the Recession and the rise of Obamacare, overall healthcare spending growth — that’s prices and utilization — has been historically low.But Paul Hughes-Cromwick at the healthcare research organization Altarum Institute said the days of moderate spending growth may be over.“We see some writing on the wall that might presage a return to the bad old days,” he said.Not only would the bad old days mean it’s harder to pay for our care.Hughes-Cromwick said it also means healthcare costs eating up more of our economy, leaving less money on the table for everything else. (10/18/2016)

Liberating Mosul from ISIS is just a first step
A major offensive to capture the Northern Iraqi City of Mosul from the Islamic State is underway and will likely intensify over the coming days. Iraq’s second largest city has been under ISIS control for the past two years. The U.S. Treasury Department said the Islamic State pulled in about $1 billion last year — half from oil and gas revenue and more than a third from taxing and extorting people in places it controls — places like Mosul.Bilal Wahab, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow, said Mosul has been a cash cow for ISIS.“So when we look at ISIS Inc. at large, not just ISIS, Iraq, freeing Mosul from ISIS will actually translate into a tremendous economic hit to ISIS finances,” he said.That’s part of the strategy of the U.S.-led coalition. ISIS would need to rebuild its financing if it loses Mosul, Iraq’s government, for its part, would have to rebuild roads, sanitation and power facilities, among other infrastructure projects.“There’s going to be a huge rebuilding job to do and the price tag could easily go into the billions,” said Robert Ford, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. "With low oil prices worldwide, the Iraqi government will be really challenged to come up with money.”Another challenge: the UN estimates as many as 200,000 people may be forced to flee the fighting in Mosul. Some have speculated that’s a conservative number. All the while, aid agencies are already scrambling to cope with a global refugee crisis.Joe Nye, professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said he's not holding out hope for the fair treatment of Mosul refugees.“There has not been adequate treatment of refugees in the Middle East," he said. "And so, if you ask, 'will this all turn out neatly?' it would be remarkable in terms of what has happened to the rest of the region.”So, what can, or should, the U.S. do?Stuart W. Bowen Jr., former U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said to avoid wasting taxpayer dollars (as happened in the past), the American government needs to think strategically before making any moves.“You have to secure a zone before you can begin to rebuild it," he said. "I think that too much money was lost during the Iraq reconstruction because of rebuilding that occurred in very unstable zones.”Bowen said recapturing and rebuilding Mosul won’t wipe out ISIS, but could be a step in that direction. (10/18/2016)

Why would a big bank help startups win its customers?
Low-income Americans can sometimes feel invisible to startups and big banks, many of which focus on wealthier customers. Changing that is the focus of Financial Solutions Lab, an unusual joint project of JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, a nonprofit. The bank has committed $30 million over five years, including support for startups trying to address challenges faced by low and moderate income Americans.Use the audio player to hear the story, including Bee, one of the startups in the program. (10/18/2016)

Let's do the numbers: our latest economic anxiety poll
There are plenty of numbers in our recently released Marketplace-Edison Research Economic poll , but the overall takeaway is Americans are even more anxious about the economy than they were a year ago. What does that really look like? Washington Bureau Chief Andrea Seabrook breaks down the numbers behind the poll via Twitter:[View the story "Our DC Bureau Chief gives her two cents on economic anxiety" on Storify] (10/18/2016)

Tim Kaine: Still a long way to go on jobs
Senator Tim Kaine was in Detroit, Michigan today,  a city that's kind of become the bipartisan default backdrop for political speeches about the economy. The Democratic nominee for vice president was talking this afternoon about poverty and how a Clinton-Kaine Administration might work to end it. Kai Ryssdal: Senator Kaine, good to have you with us. Tim Kaine: Kai, great to be with you today, thanks. Ryssdal: Right at the top of your speech today, sir, you were talking about the commitment that Secretary Clinton and yourself are making toward jobs in this economy as part of the way to wipe out poverty. What, then, is a good job? What makes a good job as far as you're concerned? Kaine: You know, it’s something that satisfies you, but it is also something that enables you to have financial success, raise a family and have a secure retirement. The wage level is really, really important. We’ve got to make sure we got to increase the number of jobs. And President Obama, we’ve seen a growth of jobs of 50 million in the private sector. But we still got a long way to go. And we need to see wages going up, because that’s what it takes to get people out of poverty. Ryssdal: You know the bugaboo in this economy, sir, in the past seven years, has been that wages are stuck and good jobs with all that comes with that have been hard to come by. What are you going to do about that? Kaine: Well, we sort of have a couple of pillars to our economic plan. The first pillar is major investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and research. Heavy on the infrastructure side because the nation needs it. Interest rates are still low; it’s a good time to do it. As a former mayor and governor, what I love about infrastructure investments is you hire people right away to build bridges, roads, ports, airports, broadband roll out, but then you raise your platform for economic success. Many of these investments are basically utilized for 40, 50, 60 years, so it’s kind of a double economic win. That’s Pillar 1. Pillar 2 is making sure we invest in the workforce. From pre-K education to celebrating great teachers, to career and technical education, to affordable college. If you have the best-trained workforce, you’re going to have the strongest economy. Pillar 3 is what I call just basic fairness policies: increase in the minimum wage, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work or childcare tax credits. And then Pillar 4 is the focus on small businesses as the engine. Sixty-five percent of new jobs comes from small businesses. Hillary and I both grew up in small business households, and we want to make it easier to start, finance and grow small businesses. Ryssdal: I want to turn, if I might, sir, to the secretary's Goldman Sachs speeches that came out over the weekend on WikiLeaks, and I understand that the campaign is not going to authenticate them. But I do have to ask you, there is, it sure looks like, a whole lot of daylight between what the secretary was saying in these private speeches three years ago and what she said during the primaries and even today on the campaign trail. And I wonder if that helps you understand why some people look at her and your campaign and say, “We don't know what she's going to do, actually, about trade or Wall Street regulations, or those kinds of things.” Kaine: Well I mean, people are asking questions of both candidates about trade, about Wall Street certainly. Let's just talk about Wall Street regulations. I have been a strong supporter in the Senate for Dodd-Frank and maintaining regulations to make sure that Wall Street can no longer tank the American economy through kind of being unbridled and unleashed. And Hillary and I both share that, and we definitely believe in Dodd-Frank and in trying to make it stronger. You don't have to guess to know what the other side's position is. They want to repeal Dodd-Frank. That would expose the American economy to major, major problems, and so fair questions to ask of both sides, but there's a huge difference between the two tickets on Wall Street regulations. Ryssdal: Well sir, I get that, but Secretary Clinton said in one of those speeches, “Listen, I think we need an insider to help us regulate Wall Street,” and I would betcha that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would say, “Yeah, no, we don’t need too many more insiders.” Kaine: Well, look, the issue … but she was talking about regulating Wall Street, she was not talking about deregulating Wall Street, she was not talking about no-holds-barred or repealing the existing regulations. You know, people who have experience in the industry are often necessary and helpful to help you tailor what the regulations are that are going to enable you to have the effect that you want to have. You want to avoid unforeseen consequences. But the appropriate level of regulation is what we are seeking, and we are going to resist any effort to do what the Trump ticket wants to do, which is to repeal Dodd-Frank. Ryssdal: Do you see a way — if I can shift to global trade here quickly for a second — Kaine: Yeah. Ryssdal: — because I know your time is tight. Do you see a way that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Secretary Clinton was for when she was secretary of state and now is opposed to as are you, is there a way it can be amended or changed that she would be in favor of it?   Kaine: I can’t see it right now. As you know I voted to give the president the ability to fast track to negotiate the best deal possible. Every president since Gerald Ford has had that power, and I think it’s a power you oughta give to the president. But when we had that vote back in the summer of 2015, I and some others who voted to do it laid out some criteria we want to see a deal that looks like this. I had some very particular concerns about the enforcement mechanisms. What fast track does, Kai, as you know, it requires an up or down vote, no amendments, no committee process. It’s an up or down vote in Congress about this. And there’s just too many problems with the deal that was negotiated on the table, ah, for us to support it, so we are going to vote, I have a vote as a senator at least. You know, as long as I am in the Senate I’m going to vote no. It’s an up or down vote and it doesn’t meet the standard that we put on the table, which is does the deal increase jobs, increase wages, is it good for national security and then also can you enforce it.  Especially on the enforcement side its very, very weak. Ryssdal: To the future now sir, and what happens should you and Secretary Clinton win come November. You said this today, “This is a momentous time in America. We’re going through a real test of our values and our commitment to one another.” You will, and Secretary Clinton will if you win, have to deal with a not small part of the electorate that feels disenfranchised, that feels they have been cut out of the economy, and that has been warned that you are not gonna act in their best interest. What are you going to do about that? Kaine: Kai that’s a big one, and Hillary and I, you know, we had a number of to-do’s already on the list, but especially with the way the Trump campaign in the last few days has been trying to question the legitimacy of the election, this to-do has gotten more important. But I do think a lot of it does come back to the economic plan we’re going to put on the table in the first 100 days, that will have to be bipartisan. We’ll have to get Republican votes to get an economic plan through. And it’s going to be an economic plan that has the features that I’ve described, where there is both strategies to increase prosperity. But we’ve been an economy where increases in the GDP are not accessible by everybody. And if you have points on the GDP going up, but a lot of people don’t see the ladder for success for themselves, they are going to be frustrated. They are going to be concerned. I see this in Virginia. I talked today in the speech about, I was a civil rights lawyer for 17 years. I care deeply about the equity issue. And then I was a mayor and governor and cared deeply about making economic development deals and growing the economy. We have to put a plan on the table that can create a more shared notion of prosperity. And that will be, that will speak very clearly to some folks who feel cut out. If we do it, it will speak to their condition, and I think we’ll be able to work together. Ryssdal: Have you or Secretary Clinton had conversations with Speaker Ryan or Secretary or Sen. McConnell about the economic healing that needs to take place? Kaine: I have not had conversations with either since being added to the ticket, but I work in the Senate, obviously, with Sen. McConnell, and I was on the Budget Committee when Paul Ryan was the Budget Committee chair, and we’ve talked broadly about some of these issues. But you know, you get in the campaign season and everyone’s just running. The dust will settle, but look, we are all going to have to work together for the good of the public. Both Hillary and I, Hillary as a senator had a great track record of working across the aisle. I had that same track of record as a governor with two Republican houses, and in the current Senate I, I reach across the aisle on things every day. We are going to have to do it for the good of the folks. Ryssdal: A question about your parents, sir, if I might. Your father ran an iron-working workshop. Your mother taught home-ec. Kaine: Yep. Ryssdal: They’ve been out on the campaign trail with you. Do you think they can make it in today’s economy? Kaine: You know, that's a great question. I think my folks would have done exactly what they did 55 years ago. My mom was a home ec teacher for a while until the three boys came in quick order, and then later she worked in food service for a while. She would have done the same thing, and my dad definitely would have done what he did. He started off working with larger businesses, but then you know, there's that entrepreneurial gene, you want to have your own thing. I think that some of the challenges that small business owners have today — if my dad was doing it today — getting access to capital. If you don't have your own track record of running a business, can you get the capital? And that's why Hillary and I have made this fourth pillar of our plan, small business success, because she came out of a small business household just like I did, and these were not businesses that were household names, but they were businesses that put my dad's kids and his workers' kids through school and made a dignified living for them, and so I know he'd be trying to do the same thing. Hillary and I want to have an economy where the folks who have that dream, and want to own their own business, where they can do it. Ryssdal: Senator, thanks very much for your time sir. Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia, Democratic candidate for the vice president of the United States. Have a good day, sir. Kaine: All right Kai, thanks. (10/18/2016)

Cost of living adjustment ticks up, barely
The annual cost of living adjustment, known as COLA, was released this morning.Starting in January, Social Security recipients will receive a tiny bump in pay of just 0.3 percent, which equates to something close to $4-5 per month for the average retiree.COLA increases have been essentially flat in recent years. Since 2009, the cost-of-living hike has been more than 2 percent only once, and has been zero three times.This is because inflation has been so low. Historically low, in fact. Consumer prices have not gone up by much. Here we’re talking about things like the cost of food, clothing, and gas at the pump.When costs aren’t increasing, that generally means purchasing power remains constant, which would negate the need for a cost-of-living increase.Social Security benefits reach more than 60 million people as well as 8 million Supplemental Security Income recipients. In 2017, the average retired worker will receive $1,360 per month, according to the Social Security Administration. But Max Gulker, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, said the small increases we’ve seen recently aren’t necessarily hurting retirees.“On average it’s going to be neutral for people; however, that’s using an average price index. So, depending on what you spend your money on, there could be winners and losers based on that,” Gulker said.The losers in this case, notes Gulker, could be people with high health care costs that are not covered by Medicare.Also noteworthy is the fact that women account for 57 percent of all Social Security benefits, so small COLA increases are going to affect them the most.  (10/18/2016)

Social Security recipients to get $5 more a month
On today's show, we'll talk about a 0.3 percent increase in Social Security benefits for next year; the most important attributes Americans value in a job; an increase in the high school graduation rate; and why Saudi officials are going on roadshows.  (10/18/2016)

National graduation rate hits a new high
We learned this week that the national high school graduation rate is higher than ever. More than 83 percent of high school seniors finished on time in 2015, according to federal figures released Monday. The biggest gains were made by students learning English, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students, though big gaps remain.The graduation rate has increased from about 71 percent a decade ago, said John Bridgeland, CEO of the public policy firm Civic Enterprises.“That translates into more than 2 million more students graduating from high school rather than dropping out,” he said.With a diploma those graduates are less likely to be incarcerated or live in poverty, he said, and more likely to be employed. But they aren’t necessarily prepared for college or careers.About half of students take at least one remedial class in college, said Andy Smarick, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute —  meaning stuff they were supposed to learn in high school. In community colleges, as many as 70 percent need remediation.“We’ve asked educators to get more kids to graduate and they have succeeded at that, and so we should be proud,” he said. “The next hurdle is making sure that high school graduation is synonymous with college and career readiness, and we’re not there yet.”Even as more students graduate, 12th grade reading and math scores have been fairly stagnant over the past decade. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, considered “the Nation’s Report Card,” just 37 percent of high school seniors are prepared for college-level coursework in those subjects.  (10/18/2016)

What's a "good job"?
The Marketplace-Edison Research Economic poll asked respondents what attributes were important for a job to be considered a “good job.” The top selection among the choices offered was that the job provide health benefits — picked as “essential” by 73 percent of respondents. Next in line was “provide a good working environment,” followed by “provide opportunities for advancement,” and “make you feel valued.”At the bottom of the list: “offer a salary rather than an hourly wage” (31 percent) and “provide flexible work hours” (40 percent).[[{"fid":"305180","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"Sarah Menendez/Marketplace","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":3200,"width":5692,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Sarah Heidler is 48 years old, and has worked at Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Ore., as a mechanic and service advisor since mid-2015.“This is a fantastic job,” Heidler said, “because of the benefits, and the owners actually care about people and invest in people.”Heidler has raised two children — the youngest is still in high school — and has had her share of bad jobs, including “assistant manager at a convenience store — working 45 to 50 hours per week and still eligible for food stamps.”[[{"fid":"305181","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"Sarah Menendez/Marketplace","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":1330,"width":3167,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Fellow mechanic Jeremy Smith said a “good job” pays the bills and provides a path for advancement.“For me it’s training, because I’m trying to grow, I’m trying to get better,” Smith said. “And it’s paid for, it’s part of the deal” for employees at the auto shop.For many American workers, decent pay and health benefits are just a starting point for a “good job.”[[{"fid":"305182","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"Sarah Menendez/Marketplace","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":2244,"width":3333,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Victoria Edwards is 32 years old and lives in New York City. She works part time as a tutor for a developmentally challenged adult, and is pursuing a graduate degree in journalism at the City University of New York.“You need to have your basic needs met in order to focus on your job,”Edwards said. “And if you don’t have health insurance, if you’re not able to have your basic needs met, I don’t think you can give your 100 percent in any job.”The next-most important thing for Edwards is a good relationship with, and support from, her employer.“I want to know the guidelines, I want it to be structured,” Edwards said. “I want good communication so I know where I am every step of the way.” (10/18/2016)

Political divides are causing tech deals to fall apart
They say not to talk politics around the dinner table, but what about in the workplace? The outcome of the election will have big consequences for many parts of the economy, from construction and manufacturing to finance and health care. And that's causing a lot of uncertainty for businesses, their employees and their customers. Paul Kedrosky, co-founder and managing partner at SK Ventures, spoke to us about how the election is impacting tech companies and startup funding.  On whether this election is causing more uncertainty than previous years:Kedrosky: It's much more dramatic this time, because it's not as if it's sort of a little bit to the left or a little bit to the right. There's this feeling like it's kind of a polar swing. We could be seeing a president come in that's actively much more hostile towards immigration or, for example, wants to make changes in some of the ways the venture capital industry has been structured — there's lots of talk about changing taxation with respect to venture capital. These are seismic changes; they really move around the tectonic plates of the way we innovate in this country. With such a high percentage of immigrant founders involved in some of the largest, most valuable companies — Google and others — you think about the value creation that goes away and the impact that has not just on wealth creation for individuals who work for those companies, but for you and I who hold stock in those companies — either directly or through pension funds or retirement funds.On how the election is impacting business relationships: Kedrosky: It's like nothing I've ever seen before. There's active hostility. I've actually seen two deals, well I guess two and half because we've got another one that's in mid-argument stage, that have come apart. Investors can't reach agreement on things that have nothing to do with the deal. They are actively hostile towards each other with respect to what's happening in political markets, and as a result have a breakdown of the discussion of how to fund a young company. I can't remember that happening in my 20-plus years in this business, and that's entirely a function of this completely bizarre election. At first it's sort of funny and you think, "Oh my goodness, we are having a debate about politics, I've never seen us do this before." Then you realize it's sort of tragic because the consequences are very real for some entrepreneurs. We want to hear from you: Is uncertainty around the election impacting your business? Have political divides popped up at your workplace? Tell us about it here.  (10/18/2016)

The Nobel Committee can't find Bob Dylan
Let me preface the following with my long standing, widely unpopular opinion — I never was a big fan of Bob Dylan.Since he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature last week, the Nobel committee hasn't been able to track Dylan down. Committee Secretary Sara Danius told the Guardian they've been calling and sending emails to Dylan's "closest collaborator" and gotten a positive response, but nothing official from the man himself. It's not clear if he'll show up for the award celebration on December 10."If he doesn't want to come, he won't come," Danius said. "It will be a big party in any case and the honor belongs to him." (10/17/2016)

Is Walmart’s investment in employees paying off?
A year-and-a-half ago the company announced a higher starting salary and other employee benefits.  Walmart is generally known for its low, low prices. The catch is that those prices were made possible by pay for Walmart workers also being low, low. Economics being what it is, that bottom tier pay structure brought some not so intended consequences sales-wise. So a year-and-a-half ago the company promised to raise pay and make things better for its workers. Neil Irwin writes about how it's going for the biggest retailer in the country in the New York Times and spoke with Kai Ryssdal. (10/17/2016)

Foreign students eye U.S. election with caution
It's tempting to think our presidential election is an entirely domestic affair. But a big chunk of the rest of the world is watching, and that includes foreign students who might consider coming here for college. American universities need those students more than ever, as the college-going population here gets smaller. So the question is, after all the ugly rhetoric about immigration, will those students still want to come? Here’s how important international students are to this country : There are almost a million of them enrolled in US colleges, up from just over half a million ten years ago; bringing an estimated $30 billion a year to the economy. From an educational standpoint, colleges say all students benefit from a multicultural campus.“We’ve become a very global economy, and universities want to provide that to their students,” said Ben Waxman, CEO of International Education Advantage, which helps colleges market themselves to foreign students.Earlier this year, his company and FPP EDU Media surveyed more than 40,000 prospective students from around the world. Sixty percent said they were less likely to study in the U.S. if Donald Trump is elected president, Waxman said. About four percent said they’d be less likely to come here if Hillary Clinton wins.The survey didn’t ask why, but Waxman said he suspects Trump’s positions on immigration —  like a proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, and a wall on the Mexican border — had something to do with it. Eighty percent of Mexican students said they were less likely to study in the U.S. if Trump wins.Mariami Dolashvili, from Ukraine, is already studying here, as a junior at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She came on a scholarship, but had money been an issue, she said, she might have done things differently were Trump in the White House.“If I would have to pay for myself and choose the country I want to go to, maybe I would choose some European country to go instead of coming here,” she said.Whoever wins the election, a lot of damage has already been done, said Rose Kunnappallil, a graduate student from India. “When I talk to people back home in India, there are a section of people who are now second guessing what the American people think about immigrants and of people coming to find their dreams here,” she said.Foreign students typically pay full tuition, so even a small dip could have a big impact on American universities. For example, new restrictions on a Saudi Arabian scholarship program has meant fewer Saudi students at many U.S. campuses.“Enrollment matters, and small shifts in policy, for domestic students or international students, can shift those enrollment trends pretty quickly,” said Mike Licari, provost at Indiana State University, where nearly half of international students are Saudi. Saudi enrollment was down four percent this year at the school and is expected to drop again next year.To be clear, none of the candidates wants to limit the main visa program for foreign college students, though Trump has proposed cutting a program that brings exchange students here to study or work for short periods.Anti-immigrant sentiment is worse in many other countries, said Peggy Blumenthal, with the Institute of International Education, a research and advocacy group. A recent proposal in the United Kingdom would create a two-tiered student visa system, giving preference to students at more elite universities, she said.“So I think when students look around the world and look at other potential host countries, the U.S. still looks far more welcoming and far more accessible,” Blumenthal said.If that were to change, she said, colleges would work aggressively to keep the doors open.  (10/17/2016)

Does the government lie about economic figures?
In the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Economic Poll, we found a lot of skepticism about the reliability of economic data:[[{"fid":"305168","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"We asked \"how much do you trust the data about the economy reported by the federal government?\"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"Sarah Menendez/Marketplace","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"We asked \"how much do you trust the data about the economy reported by the federal government?\"","height":2583,"width":4167,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]One in four Americans we polled completely distrust government numbers like the unemployment rate, job gains and consumer spending. In particular, nearly half of Trump supporters distrust these statistics. Why is that?Well, there are conspiracy theories, which Trump hasn’t shied away from.  Then there's the people who live in areas where things aren't going well. When they look around, they don't see 5 percent unemployment."Yearington happens to be a very small town. There are no jobs, so my answer's 'no, I don't believe it,'" said Donna Townsend, a resident of Yearington, Nevada.How does the government arrive at these numbers? About 1,500 data collectors survey  60,000 households each month, and this provides data for about 110,000 people each month. But the nagging sense that the economy just isn’t working isn't really something you can explain with the numbers. "I think people want the unemployment rate to capture more than it does," said Jesse Rothstein, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Berkeley.  "There's a real sense in which the labor market has not been working for lots of people but that's not coming through unemployment — that's coming through people aren't getting wage increases."Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (10/17/2016)

Goldman transcripts show how Clinton has evolved
The transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s expensive speeches to Goldman Sachs came out over the weekend, and while they don’t contain any bombshells, they do reveal some differences between Clinton circa 2013, and Clinton on the campaign trail today. The release came from Wikileaks, and we can’t independently verify them. Without denying their authenticity, Clinton’s campaign has accused Wikileaks of trying to undermine her campaign with the support of the Russian government. Still, there’s no smoking gun, as it’s not a secret that Hillary Clinton the candidate has hardened her rhetoric on Wall Street compared with a few years ago. “If anyone was under the impression that Hillary Clinton was not a politician, they have been set straight,” said Julia Azari, a political science professor at Marquette University. She says when Clinton talked to Goldman Sachs  in 2013 it’s unsurprising that she sounded lukewarm about financial reforms. For example, she talked about Dodd-Frank as being passed for political reasons — now, she’s more likely to frame her views on financial reforms in moral terms, promising that she will veto anything that rolls back regulation. David Birdsell, Marxe Dean of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College at City University of New York, says Clinton’s views on trade have similarly been updated. “Plainly she has been a proponent of increased trade, of more trade agreements,” he said, and that comes through in the transcripts. During the campaign she’s emphasized her skepticism about these agreements and promised to insure they are good for workers. Still, the concern for many voters is what Clinton would do were she to become president.  “You can’t go back on those policy positions, because she’s weak with Democrats on trade, and she’s weak with Democrats who view her as too cozy with Wall Street,” said Erin O'Brien, chair and professor of political science at University of Massachusetts Boston. She says even if Clinton’s elected, there will be re-election to think about. “Basic self-interest kicks in.” In other words, she’s compromising to get votes now...and election 2020 is just around the corner. (10/17/2016)

Where did 'I approve this message' come from?
Given that it is election season, there is a particular bit of audio we’ve all heard dozens, if not hundreds of times. “I’m candidate X, and I approved this message.”So we at Marketplace wondered — when exactly why did “approving a message” become a thing?Personally, I physically cringe every time I hear that ubiquitous phrase pop up on TV or radio.  It just seems obvious, and more than a little bit dorky.Turns out there is a good reason for forcing candidates to add the disclaimers, and that reason is accountability.Politicians have been taking pot shots at each other since basically, forever. Thomas Jefferson’s for instance accused his opponent, President John Adams of having a:“Hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”Now, Jefferson was careful not say that himself, but his surrogates did.Fast forward nearly 200 years and while the attacks are less brazen (sort of), figuring out exactly who was launching the attack was often still a mystery. Case in point, the  infamous 1988 “Willie Horton” TV ad.  The ad was little more than a mugshot of a black man, William Horton, a convicted murderer who was allowed out of prison as part of a weekend furlough program. Horton later fled and committed more crimes.As attacks go, this one was devastating for Michael Dukakis, even though Dukakis inherited the program from his Republican predecessor. The ad was also widely criticized as a racist dog whistle for white suburban voters. When the Bush campaign was questioned about these issues it simply claimed to have no role in the ad’s production.Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden was also on the receiving end of anonymous attacks during his 1996 campaign Senate.“I was just struck by the fact that you couldn’t tell who was running ads,” Senator Wyden said.Wyden ended up winning that election and when he got to Washington D.C. he was determined to come up with a fix. He rallied up support for a bill which ultimately became the “Stand by Your Ad” provision.“Stand by your ad provides another reason why candidates will say to themselves, ‘you know, that’s something that people can actually hold me personally responsible for’,” Wyden recalled.The provision was later added into the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. So stand by your ad became law and people started hearing the disclaimers during the 2004 presidential election.So, problem solved right? No more crummy attack ads?“Initially it was true that we saw a change, it didn’t last long,” Kathleen Hall-Jamieson said, Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.Hall-Jamieson said campaigns quickly found new ways to obscure precisely who is approving what. One trick was to simply put the disclaimer at the top of the ad.“So, ‘I’m Hillary Clinton, or I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message’, and then the attack proceeds from there,” she said.“You lose track of the fact that the candidate was identified up front and by the end you’re not paying a lot attention to the print on the screen at the end.”When Stand by Your Ad was passed back in 2002, the modern internet was still barely a thing. Meaning digital ads, of the sort and stripe that we are used to today, weren’t even covered under the law, only TV and radio spots, or ads paid for directly by the campaign.“Posting something on your website or putting a video up on Tumblr, or just uploading things to your YouTube channel, you’re not required to do that at all,” Joe Rospars said.Rospars is the CEO of Blue State Digital, the company that handled online advertising for both Obama campaigns.“We created thousands and thousands of pieces of video content, and ran tens of millions of dollars in digital advertising that did not have that “I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message’,” Rospars said.If nothing else Rospars says, the provision means campaigns only have 27 seconds instead of 30 to launch an attack. So, progress.Attempts have been made recently to update the law. In 2014 Congressman David Price introduced the Stand by Every Ad Act, but it has yet to come up for a vote. (10/17/2016)

Celebrating 25 years of being a Dummy
The familiar For Dummies series reaches its 25 year anniversary this fall. The books were meant to simplify everything from Windows 95 to puppies. Steve Hayes is the executive editor for John Wiley & Sons, the company that publishes the series today. He says out of the hundreds of millions of titles, Golf For Dummies is one of his favorites. On the Origin Story for the For Dummies Books: It's an interesting story and it was a case where a couple of good things happened at the same time. Someone from IDG books, the original publisher For Dummies, overheard someone in a bookstore saying the current books out there were too difficult to understand and what they really needed was something called "DOS (Digital Operating System) For Dummies". On publishing For Dummies books in the age of Google:Well, I think we have to look to the future. I think we still have very active and very successful publishing program, but we're also trying to find ways to engage our audience in ways that they are going out and finding answers. So we have to look for ways to put dummies out there on YouTube. We have to look for ways to create courses that they can go take to maybe, you know, improve their job opportunities and so forth. And I think one advantage that we have is that because we have that "25 years of" reputation as a good place to go for answers, when people find dummies in these new places, they may be more apt to look to us first, rather than just someone out there just putting up the answer off of a video they recorded on their cell phone.Click the audio player above to hear the full interview. (10/17/2016)

Pepsi looking for sweeter returns, but cutting sugar
PepsiCo is rolling out plans today that would, among other things, reduce the amount of sugar in its soft drinks and improve water efficiency.According to the company, at least two-thirds of its drinks will have 100 calories or less, per 12 ounces.The move comes as there is increasing pressure on “Big Soda" for the role they play in the obesity epidemic.Pepsi set a target date for implementation by 2025, so still many years out. But sales of pop have been decreasing for some time.“Part of this are probably changes Pepsi would have been making anyway,” said Kelly Brownell, the Dean of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.Even though both Pepsi and Coke have spent millions lobbying against measures such as soda taxes. But giving consumers more low-calorie choices is a step in the right direction.“In their defense, there are some things that they show some willingness to do. And they have great potential to reformulate their products to have less sugar,” Brownell said.But even as Coke and Pepsi plan to cut calories from their soda pop, Nik Modi, a beverage industry analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said consumers still like their sugar fix. Think of all those Starbucks lattes and energy drinks.“So there’s plenty of anomalies to point out in the industry to suggest that consumers still don’t mind sugar, bubbles, caffeine and flavor,” Modi said. Coke also has a plan to reduce calories by 10 percent per liter by 2020, and expand low-calorie options into every one of its markets. (10/17/2016)

What Americans should value
On today's show, we'll talk about Pepsi's decision to reduce the amount of sugar in its drinks; Netflix's efforts do dominate the online programming space; and the values Americans think are most important as part of our "Secretary of the Future" series.  (10/17/2016)

Donald Trump may be getting a TV network
An agent for Donald Trump has reportedly met with a financier on setting up a TV network.The Financial Times says Trump’s son-in-law and campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, spoke about the idea of a Trump TV network as late as August with the New York investment banker Aryeh Bourkoff. Bourkoff is the founder of LionTree, a bank that does media deal financing.James Fontanella-Khan, one of the FT reporters who broke the story, joined us to chat about Trump's future in television.  On current plans for the network: They spoke about setting up a...Trump TV channel. It was a very preliminary conversation — nothing is going on at the moment. But it's a clear indication that Trump and his family are trying to capitalize on the movement that he's created in the last year and a half.  On taking advantage of his momentum:It kind of shows you that they are very concerned about actually winning. But at the same time they don’t want to lose the platform that he’s built, which is a kind of populist — some would say right-wing — movement that has appetite for greater representation, which they at the moment think the mainstream media isn’t giving them.Click the above audio player to hear the full interview.  (10/17/2016)

Basic income, government accountability, and everything else the U.S. should focus on instead of the election
This election season, Marketplace is casting its eyes toward the future, asking how the country can address long-term opportunities and threats — the ones that don’t fit into a single federal budget or election cycle. Writer and social critic Kurt Vonnegut once suggested the U.S. should have a cabinet-level position to worry about future generations. Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio recently visited Indianapolis, Vonnegut's hometown, to ask people what they think a so-called Secretary of the Future should focus on. Click on the audio player above to hear their responses, and listen to the audio below to hear about the values they think are important in society.  (10/17/2016)

When (original) content is king
Netflix reports its third-quarter earnings on Monday, and the company’s numbers — especially how many new subscribers it added and old subscribers it lost — will be closely watched for signs of how many eyeballs the company is attracting with its big push into new original programming.Netflix originally built its business streaming TV shows and movies that had already aired, but this is a multibillion-dollar bet for the online streaming giant to generate original content.“My sense is, it’s the original content that is drawing new subscribers to Netflix and retaining existing ones,” said media analyst Paul Verna at eMarketer.He added that Netflix faces increasing competition in the streaming-video market from rivals Amazon and Hulu, both of which are aggressively moving into the original content area as well. And it’s an expensive move: Netflix has said it will spend $6 billion this year on content, with high-profile, high-budget 10-episode series like the new British-royals drama “The Crown,” which will be released in its entirety on Nov. 4.Media analyst Tuna Amobi at CFRA said Netflix is going all in to be the premier producer of online streaming programming.“You’ll find kids shows, documentaries, comedies, talk," Amobi said. "Their goal is to try to be all things to as many people as possible.”Amobi said Netflix might not be able to afford the current level of new-content investment for years on end. But for now, the name of the game is to spend big in order to make the biggest splash. (10/17/2016)

Cuban-American support for the GOP is eroding
When it comes to the Latino Republican vote, Cubans are a big deal."They’re certainly one of the most influential, if not THE most influential group of Latino Republicans," said Jens Manuel Krogstad, who studies Latino trends at the Pew Research Center. But now, support for the party is eroding, and among the reasons why is the easing of sanctions against Cuba, especially for an older generation of Cuban-Americans who didn’t support it. As far as relations with Cuba, opinion is split: more U.S.-born and younger Cubans overwhelmingly support opening trade relations.But there are holdouts. "Most people who left early after the Cuban Revolution do not support these changes," said Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.Nor do they tend to identify as Democrats, he added. But Republican support even among older Cuban-Americans has weakened, according to the most recent polls. "This is the lowest percentage of Cuban-Americans who said they were going to support the Republican candidate ever since the poll was first conducted in 1991," Duany said.Duany explained that’s in large part because of the Trump campaign’s anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric.  (10/17/2016)

Despite economic recovery, many Americans still feeling anxious
The latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll shows that anxiety has increased despite the fact that 37 percent report that their personal situation has improved since last year.This is somewhat counterintuitive given that we’re several years into a wide-ranging economic recovery, albeit one characterized by slow growth.Diane Lim, an economist at the Committee for Economic Development, said recovery or not, people are also worried about their future economic security.“You know, you can be feeling short-term better off than you did a few years ago, and yet still feel very uncertain and anxious about whether this will last,” Lim said.[[{"fid":"305144","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":3088,"width":5333,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Lim did note that unemployment is down, wages are trending up. But, when asked, many people have a lingering fear that structural changes to the labor force could just come along and wipe out their job and others.“What will happen to jobs that are increasingly being automated?” Lim said. “What about people who work for industries where a lot of the work is being off-shored?”Nikki Hayes, of Cheverly, Maryland, is among those who are better off on paper, yet still quite anxious about the future.As an IT consultant in the health care industry, her salary has gone up steadily over the past three years.“I have a decent job, I would say, thankfully,” Haley said as she put her two small dogs out in her back yard.Her fear however, hinges on the fact that more companies are relying on contractors like her.“As a consultant having a contract with a corporation, if the economy starts to tank, the first they’re going to cut are their consultants,” she said. “You know, you keep your full-time people and you cut your consultants off.”Even though her salary has gone up, so to have her costs, particularly the medication she takes for her asthma. Which used to cost $30, but now under her new policy through Obamacare, it's 10 times that.“A $300 inhaler is a lot of money,” she deadpanned.In addition to health care, there are also things like retirement savings and increasing partisanship which are weighing heavily on the minds of survey respondents.This makes sense said Damon Jones, an economist at the University of Chicago. Oftentimes our own personal sense of economic security extends well beyond our bank accounts. “I may have a steady job, but I don’t feel good about the rest of the economy,” Jones said. “The things I see and what I hear are that other people aren’t doing as well.” (10/17/2016)

Obama administration eases Cuba restrictions, again
The Obama administration announced Friday that new tourists to Cuba can bring back as much rum and cigars as they can fit in their baggage. Normal duties apply, of course.Richard Feinberg, a non-resident fellow at Brookings, recently wrote a book on Cuba’s changing economy. He said the announcement “brings closer the day when you have a general availability in the United States of those iconic Cuban products.”But, he said there are still several limitations — the embargo is still technically in place, and “what U.S. businesses are waiting for and what the Cuban government is waiting for are really very clear and definitive signals that we will be moving definitively to a brand-new stage of the U.S.-Cuban relationship.”John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, is frustrated with what he sees as a slow pace of the changes, especially as they pertain to businesses.“These regulations are supposed to be focused upon the commercial relationship, not upon the travel relationship,” he said.Kavulich said it’s still hard to move money between Cuba and the U.S.“Currently, when a U.S. company wants to pay Cuba, or Cuba wants to pay a U.S. company, it’s a triangular relationship. It will go from US.. to a third country to Cuba, Cuba to a third country to the U.S.,” he said.Even so, things are getting easier, especially for those working in the tourism sector.Jose Azel, with the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, said the boost in tourism will maybe have a trickle-down effect for the Cuban people, but, he said, “It’s very hard to see how those non-export activities will contribute to the economic development of the island.” (10/14/2016)

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