Economy & Business

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Will the U.S. invent the next generation of batteries?

Dec 8, 2017

Developing long-lasting, powerful batteries is no easy task. And it takes a lot of money to experiment with energy technology. President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget would make major cuts to battery research. Those programs generally enjoy bipartisan support, so the cuts might not go through. But the potential lack of funding could open the door for other countries to create better batteries before the U.S. does.

Since President Donald Trump took office, the unemployment rate has slowly edged down to 4.1 percent in October.

In the nine months beginning in February, the economy has added 163,000 jobs per month on average. In the three years before Trump took office, job growth was higher (250,000 per month in 2014, 226,000 per month in 2015 and 187,000 per month in 2016).

Sheryl Connelly has a crazy job. She's in charge of looking into the future for Ford Motor Co. The automaker is trying to predict how people my age — from Generation Z — will use cars.

"I have two Gen Zers at home," Connelly says. "So my 16-year-old daughter is thrilled, actually. Her car is ready to go. As soon as she has her license, it's in the driveway. And so she sits in her car and she listens to the radio and she loves her car."

That's definitely not me.

How Reagan's Tax Cuts Fared

Dec 8, 2017

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bryan Singer, the director best known for the X-Men series of films, is being sued over an allegation that he raped 17-year-old boy during a party 14 years ago.

Singer has denied the accusation.

Hurtling toward the tax bill's unintended consequences

Dec 7, 2017

Assuming the GOP tax overhaul passes, it's going to take effect in about three weeks. That's not much time to digest a once-in-a-generation change to the tax code, even if you're an expert in this sort of thing. The bill was written at break-neck speed as well, which means that if you've got an enterprising accountant, there may be room to game the system. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Martin Sullivan, the chief economist at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit that — you guessed it — analyzes the tax code, about what the unintended consequences of this speedy tax overhaul could be.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

General Electric Co. announced today it’s cutting 12,000 jobs in its core power business worldwide, as demand for coal and other fossil fuels softens. It’s the latest move by new CEO John Flannery to cut costs and turn things around at the struggling conglomerate, whose stock plunged 44 percent this year. GE Power is the company’s largest division, by both revenue and employee headcount. Flannery says cutting nearly 1 in 5 of those workers globally will save the company a billion dollars next year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

The country's first private high-speed rail service is opening this month in Florida, promising to transform congested South Florida highways by taking as many as 3 million cars off the road.

In a matter of weeks, the GOP tax plan will be in effect and riddled with unintended consequences due to the haste of passing it, says Tax Analysts chief economist Martin Sullivan. His favorite unintended consequence? Benefits for pass-through companies, which are basically any businesses that aren't corporations, and could include you if you incorporate yourself. Then your wages can be seen as tax-preferred income and you can pay a lower rate.

To send or not to send the emergency alert

Dec 7, 2017

Wildfires continue to burn across Southern California, spurred on by high seasonal winds. Those fires and winds have spurred regional authorities to utilize technology as a warning system, sending alerts to millions of phones.

The current limitations of the federally regulated Wireless Emergency Alerts system can make such warnings a little vague in messaging.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks a little more secure in her job today.

The country’s left-leaning Social Democratic Party, or SPD, has agreed to talk with Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union about forming a coalition government or, at least, supporting Merkel’s party if it were to continue to govern as a minority party.

The SPD’s move surprised many. Ever since elections back in September, the SPD had ruled out such a possibility. Today’s decision by the SPD will please many Germans, who warm to Merkel’s measured, pragmatic style.

A bankruptcy judge has granted struggling retailer Toys R Us permission to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after the company argued it was necessary to motivate its top brass during the critical holiday shopping season.

Vanity Fair has not always been the iconic, pop culture and current affairs magazine we know today. Thirty-five years ago, Vanity Fair was a floundering reboot of a magazine from the 1920s and '30s, trying to find its voice, trying to get advertisers and trying to be profitable.

The career website Glassdoor has released its annual list of the best places to work in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, the survey has ranked companies based on employee feedback anonymously submitted on the Glassdoor website.

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