Economy & Business

Business news

08/16/2017: Let the NAFTA renegotiations begin

Aug 16, 2017

President Trump has dubbed the North American Free Trade Agreement "one of the worst deals ever." Well, now he has a chance to change it as talks to overhaul the pact begin today. One of the original negotiators of the deal, Mickey Kantor, joined us to talk about some of the revisions we might see and why America's trade relationship with Mexico and Canada is so important. Afterwards, we'll look at how Target is faring as the threat of Amazon looms in the background.

The Department of Justice has asked DreamHost for 1.3 million IP addresses connected to a site that organized protests around President Trump's inauguration. On today's show, we'll look at whether there's a historical precedent for such a request, and what this would mean for hosting companies if DreamHost were to give up this information. Afterwards, we'll chat with Alex Klein, CEO of the startup Kano, about the importance of coding.

At the intersection where protections against unreasonable search and seizure meet the rights to free speech and association, there is now a web hosting company called DreamHost.

The California-based company is resisting a Department of Justice warrant that demands it hand over all files related to DisruptJ20.org, a website created by one of its customers to plan and announce actions intended to interrupt President Trump's inauguration.

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank set off a social media firestorm last February when he voiced some overly positive words about the new administration of President Trump.

"To have such a pro-business president is something that's a real asset for this country. I think people should really grab that opportunity," said Plank, whose company makes sports apparel.

CEOs Cut Ties With Trump

Aug 15, 2017

The CEOs of Merck, Intel and Under Armour resigned their positions on the White House American Manufacturing Council this week. The three condemned the hate groups that attracted violence to a recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — something President Donald Trump has been criticized for not doing in a timely way.

What will the absence of these CEOs mean for the president’s business council? And what does the council do anyway?

GUESTS

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Should Wisconsin be the only state making a major investment in the proposed Foxconn factory? Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson asked that question on Tuesday at a Rotary Club appearance in Milwaukee.

The Republican businessman says the huge plant in far southeastern Wisconsin likely would provide jobs for many Illinois residents. As a result, Johnson suggested that perhaps Illinois should share the burden that Gov. Scott Walker wants Wisconsin to take on in order to ensure Foxconn build its plant here.

Applebee's announced this month that more than 130 of its restaurants will close by the end of the year.

The casual dining chain rebranded itself in the past few years as a modern bar and grill.

Applebee's executive John Cywinski recently told investors that the company had hoped the effort would attract a new kind of customer.

The chain aimed to lure "a more youthful and affluent demographic with a more independent or even sophisticated dining mindset, including a clear pendulum swing towards millennials," he said.

Updated 4:31 pm August 16: On Wednesday, the White House said it would continue what's known as cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers for another month, buying President Trump some time to decide whether he'll continue the payments long-term or cut them off altogether.

The announcement came a day after the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis that found that ending the payments would increase the deficit by $194 billion over 10 years.

Can We Feed The World With Farmed Fish?

Aug 15, 2017

For years, scientists and activists have sounded the alarm that humans' appetite for seafood is outpacing what fishermen can sustainably catch.

But new research suggests there is space on the open ocean for farming essentially all the seafood humans can eat. A team of scientists led by Rebecca Gentry, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that widescale aquaculture utilizing much of the ocean's coastal waters could outproduce the global demand for seafood by a staggering 100 times.

The place where globalization kept its promise

Aug 15, 2017

The idea of more open, global trade has been sold as necessary for economic success. Yet today we hear calls to "build a wall" and to break up trading partnerships. Turns out we've seen the pendulum swing between free trade and protectionism many times before. Our series Trade Off looks at key moments when trade barriers have been built up or torn down and at globalization's winners and losers. 

Updated at 1 p.m. ET Aug. 16

More business leaders have added their names to the growing list of executives who have resigned from President Trump's manufacturing council, as members from Campbell Soup and 3M stepped down Wednesday.

3M President and CEO Inge Thulin said the decision to leave the group followed reflection on the values of "sustainability, diversity and inclusion."

President Trump's American Manufacturing Council originally included the chief executives of more than two dozen top U.S. companies, as well as leaders of industry groups and labor unions. Today, it has four fewer members, after Trump made what many called an inadequate response to the deadly weekend violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Of 577 key federal jobs requiring Senate confirmation, only 106 have had nominees put forward by President Trump. That's according to the count by the Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service. Those vacancies include leadership roles at NASA and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With no one at the helm, science-based agencies can’t undertake major new research or other initiatives, and lose their effectiveness. But under the current White House administration, new leadership could be more disruptive.

Amazon is everywhere. Even in economic data.

Aug 15, 2017

Today the retail industry got a small piece of good news in the form of some data from July that was better than expected. The government announced this morning that retail sales last month were up 0.6 percent during the previous month and more than 4 percent from this time last year. Not bad for an industry that’s had a lot of hand wringing of late. One of the reasons for the gain? Amazon Prime Day.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Your pumpkin pie is a lie

Aug 15, 2017

Always leave room for dessert, especially when it's served with a little business history on the side. In her new cookbook, "BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts," Serious Eats senior editor Stella Parks tells how some of the most all-American desserts became so popular in this country. A lot of times, it's because a corporation made it happen.

Pages