Marketplace from APM

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American Public Media's Marketplace presents news on business, economics, and money for the rest of us.

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The "Illuminati of cheese" is filling fast food chains with cheesy dishes

21 hours ago

"Got Milk?" is arguably the dairy industry's best ad slogan ever. But how about "Got Cheese?" That do anything for you? Americans are eating record amounts of cheese — 35 pounds of it per person each year on average. But diary farmers still have plenty left over, and there's a huge surplus of the base product, milk, too. Enter Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI), a quasi-government trade group whose mission is to find a use for all that extra milk, cheese and butter. Their answer? Fast food chains like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Burger King and Domino's.

We haven’t seen much in wage gains out of recent jobs reports from the Labor Department. The most recent one, for June, showed average hourly wages, as reported by employers, up just 2.5 percent over the past year, not much better than inflation. But another measure of income from the Labor Department, based on a survey of American households, is telling a more upbeat story. That report, called “Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers,” showed median earnings up 4.2 percent, compared to the second quarter one year ago.

In a bid to avoid the legislative fiasco that was the attempt at Obamacare repeal, the GOP has tried to take a more deliberate approach to its next big priority — tax reform. The White House said it has held "hundreds of listening sessions" on the topic, and Politico reports that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn have been meeting behind closed doors with CEOs, businesses and tax experts. But tax reform remains a heavy lift for Republicans. Here’s why. 

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Carrie Barber

Smart speakers, those voice-controlled devices reminiscent of “Star Trek’s” multitasking computer, are finding a place on kitchen counters and in living rooms. They can play music, answer questions, control lights and, in the case of Amazon’s Echo, place shopping orders. Turns out they are lending a virtual hand to parents, too. 

The Trump hotel: gold, glitz and lawsuits

22 hours ago
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Nancy Marshall-Genzer

When it comes to President Trump's business dealings, there are still a lot of unanswered questions, including whether the president is breaking the law — and violating something known as the emoluments clause — by receiving payments from foreign governments. Not directly, but by way of their business at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which opened last year on the historic site of the Old Post Office and is still operated by Trump's company. And that's not the only headache the flashy new hotel is causing.

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Gigi Douban

If you’re driving around West Jefferson. Ala. looking for a place to eat, you won’t find much. The Alabama Rose, a restaurant that pops up on a phone search, actually burned down a few years ago. But it’s still where 78-year-old Arthur Graves lives.

07/20/2017: On to the next

Jul 20, 2017
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Marketplace

While the Senate keeps on trying to figure out what it's gonna do about health care, there are plenty of other economic policy problems to deal with. The next big project on the table is tax reform. We take a look at how that debate is shaping up. Also on today's show: What do gold, glitz and lawsuits have in common? The Trump International Hotel. Plus, we talk to Clint Rainey from Bloomberg Businessweek about America’s cheese surplus and the "mad cheese scientists" who are trying to solve it. That's right, cheese scientists. 

 

07/20/2017: The line between free speech and propaganda

Jul 20, 2017

In Paris, 25 senior economists and public officials from about two dozen countries recently met behind closed doors to talk about how the world economy is doing. One of them: Diane Swonk from DS Economics. She shared some good news (the rest of the world seems to be doing better) and bad news (these gains have caused negative undercurrents in political elections).  Afterwards, we'll look at how companies are trying to find allow free speech, while blocking propaganda from terrorist organizations like ISIS at the same time.

The cost of repealing — but not replacing — Obamacare

Jul 20, 2017
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David Brancaccio

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its calculation of the costs and benefits if Congress repeals the federal health care law, but doesn't replace it. About 32 million people would be uninsured by 2026 and premiums would double. On the other hand, the federal deficit would drop by $473 billion. 

Marketplace's Dan Gorenstein joined us to talk about the possibility of another repeal-and-replace plan in the cards and the future of Medicaid. Below is an edited transcript.

Visa is set to report third-quarter earnings today after market close and all signs are pointing to good news. The company’s investment in digital platforms is contributing to growth. Visa Checkout, for one, has more than 20 million enrolled accounts and other initiatives are expanding globally. But they’re not the only digital pay app in the game. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Uber’s whole value proposition is that it’s cheaper, quicker and easier. But this week the ride-sharing service was accused of being not so easy for people who are disabled. The group Disability Rights Advocates, filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber. The suit argues the company discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities because it doesn’t offer enough wheel-chair accessible vehicles. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

07/20/2017: A new way of cleaning your house

Jul 20, 2017
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Marketplace

They may not be the most anticipated items in the world, but transparency reports are important because they reveal how companies disclose information about the way they deal with the U.S. government. On today's show, we'll talk with Michee Smith, a product manager at Google, about the changes the company is making to its report. Afterwards, we'll look at the model behind Up & Go, a service that connects those in New York City who need cleaning services with small business owners.

07/20/2017: Repealing Obamacare, by the numbers

Jul 20, 2017
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Marketplace

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated the costs and benefits of repealing Obamacare, but not replacing it. An estimated 32 million people would be left uninsured. On today's show we'll take a look at what the release of these figures mean for the GOP's health care strategy. Afterwards, we'll talk with APM Reports about the Trump administration's infrastructure plans, and then discuss a class-action lawsuit filed by the Disability Rights Advocates against Uber over wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Sorry Spotify, country music is still a radio industry

Jul 19, 2017

Over on the Billboard Country Charts, a song called "In Case You Didn't Know" by Brett Young is sitting at the No. 2 spot. Young is relatively new to the country music scene, and just last year, he went out on a radio tour across the U.S., as many new country artists do. The radio tour is a right of passage for new singers in the industry. After an artist signs a deal with a label, they travel around America, visiting upwards of a hundred radio stations. The singers meet with radio program directors, trying to convince them to add their songs to the rotation.

Tax reform is like health care reform in at least one important way: If Republicans want to pass it without Democrats, they can’t raise the deficit too much over the long term. But tax experts who have analyzed the GOP’s main proposals say they would add trillions of dollars to the deficit. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Tech issues loom large in U.S.-China talks

Jul 19, 2017

The U.S and China began talks in Washington today about trade and other issues. The talks — billed as an "economic dialogue" — have a couple of clouds hanging over them. Like North Korea and steel, which, the U.S. complains, China produces and sells too cheaply. But there are other issues. Chinese companies want access to U.S. markets and vice versa. One big concern of American tech companies: new hoops for firms that want to play on China's digital turf.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

 

Can the Hollywood baseball movie make a comeback?

Jul 19, 2017
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Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

So far this summer at the movies we've seen "Wonder Woman," a new "Spider-Man," a shark thriller and a car chase-musical mashup. Many would say, though, that the summer movie list is missing a key item: a classic baseball movie. As the New York Times Magazine puts it, "Where Did the Great Hollywood Baseball Movie Go?" Jay Caspian Kang, author of the article, explores this question with host Adriene Hill.

Can a better-designed bike helmet make people safer on the road?

Jul 19, 2017
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Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

In the middle of downtown Los Angeles' bustling Arts District, you’ll find the headquarters of Thousand occupying one of the few work/live lofts left in the area.

It's a company that makes bicycle helmets, but think less duck-billed head gear and more Steve McQueen in the 1960s.

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Sabri Ben-Achour

It's vacation season, and for some, that means setting off to a new state or country.

But we here at Marketplace know the value of a dollar, so when it comes to travel, we try to find ways you can spend your money strategically and not get ripped off.

We turned to Mark Orlowski, who does a lot of travel as the founder of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, to find out when to use your points and how airlines are starting to devalue their miles. Below is an edited transcript.

Trump's desire for private infrastructure money will narrow his choices to mostly urban projects

Jul 19, 2017
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Tom Scheck, APM Reports, Curtis Gilbert, APM Reports and Will Craft, APM Reports

Officials in states, cities and counties are increasingly looking to use private money for public infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, a result of tight budgets, eager financial investors and a president who believes that business — not government — can deliver better services to Americans.

The Republican effort to get rid of Obamacare and maybe, sometime, replace it is alive again. Or is it? The Congressional Budget Office released a new score this afternoon on GOP efforts to repeal and delay replacement. The bottom line: 32 million more people without insurance by 2026, and a cut in federal deficits by $473 billion in that same period. We'll get you up to speed. Then: local governments all around the country have sent the White House hundreds of projects for consideration under a big infrastructure package.

For a good long while, Sherry Lansing was the highest-ranking woman in the entertainment industry, both as the head of production at 20th Century Fox and then later as the CEO of Paramount. Under her tenure, Paramount saw huge success with "Forrest Gump," "Braveheart," "Titanic," "Saving Private Ryan" and the launch of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise. We talked about her life and career, which is also documented in Stephen Galloway's new biography "Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker." 

A House subcommittee will consider proposals Wednesday that would bar states from setting their own rules for self-driving cars and take other steps to remove obstacles to putting autonomous cars on the road. The measure would be the first significant federal legislation aimed at speeding self-driving cars to market.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Markets have more to think about than health care (thankfully). Susan Schmidt from Westwood Holdings Group joined us to talk about other factors investors are looking to, like earnings season and housing starts. Afterwards, we'll talk about the state of the manufacturing industry, and then discuss how Comic-Con makes money for itself.

The annual Comic-Con International kicks off this week in San Diego. Comic-Con makes money selling tickets, renting floor space to vendors and exhibitors, and getting sponsors. GuideStar, which tracks nonprofits, says the convention has seen steady year-over-year revenue growth for the last 17 years, as comic culture has become central to pop culture. The most recent report puts convention revenue at $19 million, which exceeds its expenses. The convention brings tourism dollars to San Diego and has spun off other events in other places. 

After months and years of trying, there's going to be no replacing — or repealing — of Obamacare. At least for now.

You might expect that health insurance companies have been holding their breath, waiting to see what’s next. But it turns out many of the larger insurers don’t make much of their money selling insurance in the individual market. For example, UnitedHealth, which is largely out of the exchanges, announced huge second quarter earnings on July 18, beating Wall Street expectations.

So how are insurers boosting profits in these uncertain times? 

What happens to abandoned cars

Jul 19, 2017
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Jana Kasperkevic

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

07/19/2017: A chipmaker's challenges

Jul 19, 2017
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Marketplace

Qualcomm may not be a household name, but its chips are inside a household item: your phone. On today's show, we'll look at the company's ubiquity, along with the struggles it's been facing as smartphone makers decide to find solutions in-house. Afterwards, we'll discuss the announcement of Bluetooth Mesh, the idea that eventually all your Bluetooth devices may be able to talk to each other separately from your Wi-Fi network. 

07/19/2017: Let it fail, or make it fail?

Jul 19, 2017
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Marketplace

Republicans didn't have the votes to neither replace nor repeal Obamacare, so President Trump has said to just let it fail. One way to do that is to stop paying the billions in subsidies to insurers that cover out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans. On today's show, we'll look at how plausible it is that that these payments will get halted. Afterwards, we'll discuss the House's consideration of a proposal that would bar states from setting their own rules for self-driving cars, and then talk about how to make the most of your travel points.

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Adam Allington

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, kind of everything, at least if you’re asking someone from Harlem, in New York. Backlash has been swift and fierce against what was supposed to be a simple, catchy acronym: SoHa, short for South Harlem. That is what some realtors in the city have taken to calling part of the neighborhood. 

Some residents have said this kind of backdoor re-branding smacks of gentrification. But the practice of creative neighborhood renaming is actually quite common in real estate, and in some cases can speed up economic development. 

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