Economy & Business

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08/21/2017: Two very different kinds of war

Aug 21, 2017

You can look at the costs of increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan in a couple of ways, right? There are lives, of course, the most basic measure. The easiest way is probably in dollars and cents, billions of them. Trump makes his first prime-time address as president tonight, talking about how America will move forward in a war that's been going on since 2001. There's a stability question here, too: Despite, or maybe because of, 16 years of American and allied involvement, the Afghan economy is still in trouble.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada are done with their first round of NAFTA talks. One thing the U.S. wants NAFTA to implement: a rule requiring a set percentage of cars' components to come exclusively from the U.S. Canada and Mexico aren't on board with this, and neither are many U.S. automakers. We'll discuss why. Afterwards, we'll talk about the United States' plans to meet with South Korea over a five-year-old free trade agreement, and then look at why the town of Skagway, Alaska may lose its modern-day gold rush: cruise ship tourism. 

The use of prison labor, and its meager compensation, has long been a contentious issue. But while it is private prisons that get a lot of media attention for their for-profit business model, wages for the incarcerated in public and federal prisons, which hold the vast majority of inmates, have declined over the past two decades.

How Atlanta attorneys are helping kids stay in school

Aug 21, 2017

Kids in low-income neighborhoods tend to change schools more often than their peers. And studies show that can have a detrimental effect on their education. So this past year, one public school in Atlanta tried to break the trend — by providing families with lawyers.

At Thomasville Heights Elementary School, in southeast Atlanta, Christal Reynolds and Ayanna Jones-Lightsy have just started their day.

Reynolds, a community advocate, is already on the phone. She’s talking to a parent who needs her apartment windows replaced.

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What is the best way to help people in need? Some economists argue, well, just give them money.

That's exactly what one man did. 

Once upon a time, there was a flamboyant entrepreneur named Percy Ross who made millions in plastics. In the '80s and '90s, Ross had a newspaper column out of Minnesota where he set himself up as “America’s Rich Uncle” and gave money to people who wrote in.

The United States, Mexico and Canada concluded their first round of NAFTA renegotiation talks in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. President Trump has been promising to renegotiate the agreement, signed in 1994, saying it has shifted jobs to Mexico and resulted in large trade deficits between the U.S. and its neighbors.

One hundred years ago, Skagway, Alaska was the entryway for fortune-seekers of the Klondike Gold Rush. Its present-day economy is dependent on a different sort of gold rush: cruise ship tourism.

But the people in Skagway are worried about losing their prime spot in the cruise market. That’s because a private company holds the key to the waterfront. 

If you’ve ever been on a cruise to Alaska, chances are good you stopped in Skagway. Lisa Chapple, a tour guide who is British, comes here every summer to show people around.

Could those symbols of Americana — the Jeep and Ram pickup truck — become Chinese? On today's show, we'll look at news that Great Wall Motor may be interested in buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Afterwards, we'll discuss how businesses are benefiting from the exodus from Mar-a-Lago — President Trump's palm beach resort. Then we'll chat with writer Jacqui Shine about her Longreads profile on Percy Ross, a self-made millionaire who gave away his money to those who wrote into this newspaper.

As you might have heard, there's a solar eclipse happening today. But even if you're not in the so-called path of "totality," you can stream it on Twitter thanks to its partnership with the Weather Channel. Neil Katz, editor in chief of The Weather Company, joined us to talk about how it's going to film the eclipse and how the company thinks about programming in the digital age. Afterwards, we'll dive into issues with data privacy agreements. 

Classic car shows are a summer tradition. But if you want the most exotic, rare, and the most expensive cars in the world, then you need to head to the Monterey Peninsula, Calif. The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance caps off a week of intensive, obsessive car love.

The Concours this year features 204 of the highest-caliber cars that have ever been made. Essentially, the international car world descends on the region. Fifteen countries and 31 states enter the elite car show held on the famed 18th hole of the Pebble Beach golf course.

Mary Abagi is a 63-year-old widow who has spent most of her life eking out a living by growing crops on a tiny plot of land in her Kenyan village. Then, last fall, Abagi learned that the village had been picked for an unusual experiment that promised to change her life.

On Friday, three well-known charities — the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen — announced they are canceling plans for fundraising events at President Trump's Palm Beach country club, Mar-a-Lago.

The three joined a growing list of nonprofits that have severed ties with the exclusive, Trump-owned resort. Others include the Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society.

In 2011, the National Park Service put in place a policy to encourage national parks to end the sale of bottled water. The aim was to cut back on plastic litter.

It was not actually an outright ban — but 23 out of 417 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, implemented restrictions on bottled water sales. The parks encourage visitors to use tap water and refillable bottles instead.

Now, The Trump administration has reversed this Obama-era policy.

Doing the math on back-to-school tax breaks

Aug 18, 2017

Last week on the show, we talked a lot about the costs associated with school: the cost of sending kids back to school, the cost of teacher supplies and the cost of a poor education.

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