Chris Arnold

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis to protect Americans from being ripped off by financial firms.

Now, President Trump's interim appointee to run the bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is making radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Payday lenders appear to have a powerful friend in Washington.

Former Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney is the interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was appointed by President Trump amid an ongoing a power struggle for control of the bureau.

In the world of streaming workout videos, Shawn T is like Jay-Z or Mick Jagger. He's a superstar. Millions of people have done his workout programs. One is called "Insanity." Another, "Focus T25," aims to get you in shape in just 25 minutes a day without leaving your house.

In our ever more digital world there are all kinds of apps and other quick ways to fit fitness into your life. But you still have to do the exercise. And in his new book, T is for Transformation, Shaun T tells the story of his life and the lessons he's learned about finding that motivation.

The week after Christmas is usually a short and slow one for town officials in New Paltz, N.Y. — but not this time.

"When we opened town hall Wednesday we had almost 100 voicemails from people inquiring about how they could prepay their taxes," says Daniel Torres, the town's deputy supervisor.

And the phones kept ringing. People started lining up. Torres says the clerk's office has a only few people working in it.

"The clerk's office was so overrun. After a certain while we couldn't even pick up the phones anymore," he says.

With lawmakers in the House and Senate announcing that they've reached a deal, affordable housing advocates are anxiously waiting to see which version of the bill wins out with regard to housing. They say the House bill has a poison pill in it.

"The effect would be devastating," says Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "It would mean a loss of around 800,000 affordable rental homes over the next 10 years."

Republicans call their tax bill the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. But critics say maybe it should have been named the Tax Cut and Robots Act.

That's because it doesn't create new tax incentives that specifically encourage companies to hire workers and create jobs, some employers and economists say. But it does expand incentives for companies to buy robots and machines that replace workers.

Republicans say that lowering taxes will boost the economy and spur job creation. But critics say that the tax legislation would create an imbalance favoring machines over workers.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Updated at 12:01 ET Nov. 16

There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now.

That's because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Republican tax plan that was released yesterday is being sharply criticized by home-builders and realtors. They say the plan could discourage home buying and also push down home prices. Here's NPR's Chris Arnold.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This past spring, David Mifflin looked at his credit report online and saw that something wasn't right.

There were inquiries from Chase Bank about an application for a credit card that someone was trying to open in his name. Mifflin, who lives in San Antonio, says he called the bank and was told the identity thieves "had my Social Security number."

He set up fraud alerts with the three major credit reporting companies. But he says the fraudulent attempts to open credit cards continued "multiple times a week, multiple times a day."

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The embattled company Equifax is having even more trouble with hackers. Now the company has had to take down one of its web pages after it was reported to be prompting people to download malicious software. NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who stepped down just last week, faced a roomful of angry senators and some tough questions at a hearing Wednesday. It was the second of three congressional hearings he is testifying in front of this week.

Republicans and Democrats alike are upset about the massive hack of Social Security numbers and other sensitive information at the consumer credit reporting company.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting a record of nearly $13 trillion. And auto loans, home loans and credit card debt are all still on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That has some economists saying the lessons of the bubble of borrowing in the run-up to the Great Recession have already been forgotten.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A massive hack of the company Equifax has compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. Regulators have launched an investigation into what appears to be one of the most serious data breaches ever. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

The Trump administration on Wednesday will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. And despite very tough talk about NAFTA during the campaign, it appears the administration has backed away from a major assault on the decades-old trade deal.

And that is a relief to businesses in all three countries.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump clearly tapped into frustration about workers who had lost jobs in manufacturing. And he painted NAFTA as one of the central villains responsible for stealing Americans jobs.

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

STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

Every day, more than 10 Americans suffer amputations on what is by far the most dangerous woodworking tool: the table saw. Regulators in Washington, D.C., are moving closer to adopting a rule that would make new saws so much safer that they could prevent 99 percent of serious accidents.

Wells Fargo is back in the spotlight for another scandal. This time, for signing up 490,000 auto-loan customers for insurance they didn't need.

This comes less than a year after the bank generated a massive public outcry for opening millions of unwanted accounts for customers.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell this week said his company is making a striking shift in its thinking: It now expects oil prices to remain low forever. The global oil glut of recent years shows no sign of diminishing. Energy demand has leveled off. And if electric vehicles take off, oil prices could come under even more downward pressure.

Wells Fargo bank has struck a settlement to reimburse customers who were harmed when bank employees created unwanted accounts in their names. A federal judge has granted a preliminary approval for the settlement in the class action case.

Wells Fargo says compensation will depend on the financial harm customers suffered. Someone who paid an improper $35 dollar fee likely will receive less money than someone whose credit score was damaged and had to accept a home loan with a higher interest rate.

Home prices have finally clawed their way back to the peak of the housing bubble. That's on average nationally. The story is very different when you zoom in on different counties or cities in particular.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two things we know - interest rates are low; consumer confidence is high, which means the housing market should be hot. But it is not. It's just OK.

NPR's Chris Arnold has been asking, why?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. He offered thoughts and insights on everything from Republicans voting to repeal Obamacare, to the Wells Fargo scandal, to how artificial intelligence and technology might reshape America. Here are some highlights:

Repealing Obamacare is "a huge tax cut for guys like me"

Pages