Economy & Business

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We're trying a new thing (for us): We ask guests to tell us about something they read that changed how they see the world.

Today, Diane Coyle — an economist who writes a blog about economics books — tells us about Micromotives and Macrobehavior by Thomas Schelling.

Coyle says it's helped her understand everything from why it's so hard to get the water temperature in the shower just right to why ABBA wore such ostentatious costumes on stage.

More U.S. cities are talking about opening supervised places for addicts to inject their drugs, including San Francisco, with a target opening date of this summer.

What's that saying? You can't manage it if you don't measure it? Everybody's got their own answer about how to stop mass shootings, but nobody has substantive data. That's because there's effectively a ban on spending federal money for research on gun violence. Then: We know the National Rifle Association spends big on lobbying, but thinking of the NRA as just a Washington powerhouse lobbyist obscures its actual impact in this economy. Plus, what you need to know about Google's new ad blocker.

(Markets Edition) Amid all the hubbub about the Consumer Price Index's inflation figures yesterday, retail sales were looking a little low. Diane Swonk, chief economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton, joined us to explain why and what tax refund delays may have to do with it. Afterwards, we'll talk to Stephan Richter — editor in chief of the publication The Globalist — about the cheap costs of living in Germany. 

It's barely been two weeks since Idaho regulators said they would allow the sale of health insurance that doesn't meet all of the Affordable Care Act's requirements — a controversial step some experts said would likely draw legal scrutiny and, potentially, federal fines for any insurer that jumped in.

And on Wednesday, Blue Cross of Idaho unveiled a menu of new health plans that break with federal health law rules in several ways, including setting premiums based on applicants' health.

Even for cryptocurrency traders, the taxman cometh

Feb 15, 2018

As more people invest in cryptocurrency, will they report gains or losses to the IRS? One tax preparer says only a fraction of tax filers have reported cryptocurrency investments so far. How much money could the IRS be missing out on? And what should cryptocurrency traders be aware of when it comes to possible tax consequences?  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

02/15/2018: The tax-dodging device known as bitcoin

Feb 15, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Cyril Ramaphosa will take power as South Africa's president after Jacob Zuma stepped down amid corruption allegations. On today's show, we'll look at Ramaphosa's political experience, along with the type of economy Ramaphosa will inherit. Afterwards, we'll discuss how people who own cryptocurrencies aren't disclosing their gains on their tax returns.

Tired of annoying online ads? There could be some relief starting Thursday, if you're one of the vast majority of people who use Google Chrome as your default browser.

Google is launching a built-in blocker in Chrome that is designed to filter out ads it says repeatedly violate standards put out by the Coalition of Better Ads. Pop-up ads? Check. Auto-playing video ads? Yep. Large sticky ads? You know, the ones that stay on your screen even as you try to scroll past them. Those are on the blacklist, too.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … After months of pressure to resign, embattled South African president Jacob Zuma will leave office today. We’ll tell you what’s next for the nation and how its new leader will try to revive the battered economy.  Then, Iranian authorities have arrested nearly 100 currency traders and shut foreign exchange bureaus – all aimed at trying to stop the Rial falling in value amid concerns the nuclear deal with the U.S. could collapse. Afterwards, custom-tailored clothing is nice to have, but can hit your wallet hard.

Someone probably owns most of the things you say

Feb 15, 2018

Many™ of™ the™ words™ you™ say™ are™ probably™ trademarked.™

And this is causing a lot of problems for people who are trying to start businesses.  

Google Chrome’s built-in ad blocker is set to start blocking some of the most annoying ads — pop ups, automatic players and the like. But while ads can be irritating, ad-tracking software might actually be worse. To get a closer look at this kind of tracking and why it should matter to consumers, Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood speaks with Casey Oppenheim, co-founder and CEO of the privacy software company Disconnect. 

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Burgers and chicken nuggets are still the mainstay of the Happy Meal. But on Thursday McDonald's announced its goal to market more balanced kids meals around the globe.

The company says by the end of 2022, at least 50 percent or more of the kids meal options listed on menus will meet new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria: Meals will have 600 calories or less; no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650 mg sodium; and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.

Netflix brings award-winning producer on board

Feb 14, 2018

Netflix has made a deal to bring prolific producer Ryan Murphy into the fold to create a bunch of binge-able series and movies. The five-year deal is reported to be worth $300 million. It's the streaming giant's latest move to book top-level talent. Less than a year ago, Netflix signed an estimated $100 million four-year deal with Shonda Rhimes. The company is clearly doubling down on original content.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Does data mean retailers are pulling back?

Feb 14, 2018

We got some number today hot off the keyboards of the folks at the Commerce Department. They show that retail spending in January was lower than December by 0.3 percent. That dip was notable because the consensus was actually that it would be slighter higher. A drop when you’re expecting an increase, that turned some heads.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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