John Ydstie

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The U.S. government, today, announced a broad-reaching $14.7 billion settlement in the Vokswagen emissions cheating scandal. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy outlined the heart of the agreement during a news conference this morning.

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Most election prediction models that try to forecast who's going to win the presidency take into account some measure of how the economy is doing. That's because generally if it's going strong in the six months or so before the election, history suggests the party currently in the White House will win. If the economy stinks, the party not in the White House takes over.

But, what if the economy is just so-so like it is now?

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The outlook for global economic growth got downgraded yet again, this time by economists with the International Monetary Fund's economists. In January, they thought the global economy would grow 3.4 percent this year, but they ratcheted that down to 3.2 percent in the latest version of their World Economic Outlook.

U.S. growth for 2016 got trimmed by the same amount in the report released Tuesday, down to 2.4 percent.

So what's going on? Here are five key factors from the WEO.

The revelations in the Panama Papers have generated anger and disgust. Politicians and leaders in countries from Russia to Iceland to the oil-rich Gulf States are implicated.

The irony is that while the shady world of shell corporations and offshore accounts is still massive — costing governments hundreds of billions of dollars a year — the global community has made significant strides toward reining it in.

In the past, falling oil prices have given a boost to the world economy, but recent forecasts for global growth have been ratcheted down, even as oil prices sink lower and lower. Does that mean the link between lower oil prices and growth has weakened?

Jason Bordoff, head of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says there are still good reasons to believe cheap oil should heat up the world economy.

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As the old saying goes, the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions. In other words, sharply falling stock markets are crying wolf about half the time.

Dyke Messinger, who runs a small manufacturing company in Salisbury, N.C., thinks stock investors have been overreacting during this sell-off.

"It is bizarre to me when we see what we believe is good core strength in the U.S. market," he says.

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The U.S. government reports another month of solid job growth. It happened in November, when employers added 211,000 jobs, according to the government. That sets the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this month. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

The business community is well-represented at the United Nations climate summit underway in Paris — and it will be much more engaged in finding positive solutions than ever before.

It's a far cry from the first large-scale U.N. conference to address climate change, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In the past, in fact, business often was an obstacle to action on climate change and seen more as an enemy than a partner.

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The latest report on the labor market is a really good one. Employers added 271,000 jobs in October - far more than expected. So we’re going to talk through what happened with NPR's John Ydstie who's in our studios. John, good morning.

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The idea of crowdfunding, raising money from lots of people on the Internet, got a boost from Washington on Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a system that allows small businesses and startups to solicit funding from small investors.

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