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Business And Economy

The Takeaway

Who is Middle Class Today?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not long ago, we asked what it means to be rich in the United States today. Now we're asking what it means to be middle class, and the two definitions depend on each other. The boundaries of one abut the other. I think my favorite definition of wealthy came from one of our listeners. She said that when you're rich, everything works. You don't worry about incoming bills, flat tires, broken appliances or emergency room visits because you never have to wonder if you have the money to cover the cost.

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The Takeaway

Your Take: What is Greed Good For?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tomorrow, Oliver Stone releases "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," the follow-up to his 1987 morality tale about the corrupting power of greed. The irony of the original film's most memorable line, "Greed is good," was never absorbed by a generation of corporate raiders, who seemingly took the character Gordon Gekko's advice sincerely. Gekko's line got us thinking, what is greed good for? America has a long tradition of wealthy individuals giving away large sums of money to good causes, just look at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to Newark, New Jersey public schools.

What good can come of greed? What examples do you see of it in your own life? Read through responses and leave a comment here.

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The Takeaway

Blockbuster Files for Bankruptcy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It could be the end of the brick-and-mortar video store era. Blockbuster, the world's largest movie rental company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York this morning, after a tough decade during which it failed to adapt its strategy against rivals like Netflix and Redbox. Jeanine Poggi tells us how this once revolutionary company fell so far behind.

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The Takeaway

One Small Business in Detroit is Hiring Again

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are small businesses hiring again? Detroit Power and Light owner Will Laneski is, and he explains why.

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The Takeaway

Your Take: What Would Make You Spend Again?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I think I now understand why my grandparents have never thrown any food away. The lessons from depressions and recessions are not to be forgotten.
—Jonathan, Columbia, SC (via text)

A job.
—Geneva, NY (by text)

Confidence in the economy
—Mich. (by text)

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The Takeaway

'Overhaul': Behind Closed Doors in Detroit and Washington with Steve Rattner

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At a CNBC Town Hall Meeting on Monday, President Obama announced some good news coming out of Michigan: the three US automakers are making a profit for the first time in a long time.

It hasn’t been so long since the day when GM was almost synonomous with doom. But it’s been long enough, apparently, for the companies to start turning a profit — and for the Car Czar behind the recovery to write a book about how it all came to pass.

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The Takeaway

Recession is Officially Over, Small Businesses Still Struggle

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stocks surged on Monday, following an announcement from the National Bureau for Economic Research that the recession has been over since June of 2009. 

You can be forgiven if this comes as news to you — it's come as news to many people, not least the small business owners who've been struggling to survive in an economy where credit is tight, health care costs are high, and consumers and investors remain skittish.

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The Takeaway

Your Suggestions for the New Consumer Head

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elizabeth Warren is now the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What should she tackle first? Credit card practices? Mortgages? Student loans? Send your assignments for Warren.

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The Takeaway

Small Business Owners: Are You Hiring or Firing?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A bill to boost small businesses is making its way through Congress right now. We're calling out to small business owners and the people who work there: Is your company hiring or firing? Let us know in the comments.

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The Takeaway

Your Take on When you Feel Rich or Poor:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Being poor means constantly having to make choices about what is most essential to you because you can't have everything you want. Being rich means not having to make those choices.

—Emily Williams on Facebook.

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The Takeaway

What Does it Mean to Be 'Rich' in America?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich breaks down the politics behind the Bush-era tax cuts, made during a time of budget surplus, and the proposals to allow the cuts to expire on individuals making more than $250,000 a year. Are there political agendas here? Also, chief economist for the Concord Coalition, Diane Lim Rogers, discusses the economics of this debate. Will this benefit middle class America and, in turn, stimulate the economy or will it negatively affect small business owners that are in the $250,000 income bracket that will lose their tax break?

We asked our listeners: What does it mean to be rich these days anyway? The tax code says it's $250,000 a year. How much do YOU think you have to earn to be considered rich?

 

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The Takeaway

Obama's Ohio Speech: Strong New Proposals, Or Too Little Too Late?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

President Obama gave a sweeping economic address to a handpicked crowd of 800 people near Cleveland, Ohio yesterday… partly to announce several new economic proposals, partly to try to set a new tone for the midterm election campaigns. 

It was his second speech on the economy this week; in it, he proposed $180 billion dollars in new business tax breaks and infrastructure spending, to get businesses spending and hiring again. 

But even if Congress passes the proposals, would they be enough to turn the economy around in a substantial way? And will it do anything to improve fortunes for the Democrats heading into the November 2nd elections?

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The Takeaway

Obama to Propose Tax Break for Businesses

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Midterm elections are now less than two months away, and this week President Obama’s agenda is all about the economy. In Milwaukee on Monday, the president said, “I am going to keep fighting, every single day, every single hour, every single minute, to turn this economy around, and put our people back to work.”

In Monday's speech, the president proposed a $50 billion plan to invest in infrastructure across the country—from roads to railways and runways—as well as an expansion of the tax credit for research and experimentation.

Today, in Cleveland, the president will give another speech on the economy, and one of the major initiatives he’s expected to propose would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of their new investments in equipment and plants all at once—rather than over a number of years, which is how businesses can currently deduct investment expenses. The idea is that this would be an incentive for businesses to start immediately investing in goods they need, and hiring more workers.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Price Check

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, talks about discovering pricing violations in city grocery stores and explains how consumers can protect themselves.

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The Takeaway

How Much Money is Too Much?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How much money do you need to have a happier life? New research says you stop getting happier after you reach a salary of $75,000 a year. After that point, according to the study from Princeton, "life evaluations" level off. We look at why this is, and we want to know from you, When has having more money made you LESS happy?

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The Takeaway

Unemployment Rises, But Jobs Report Better than Expected

Friday, September 03, 2010

As large portions of the East Coast breathed a sigh of relief as Hurricane Earl lost strength overnight, another storm, this one economic, was also less damaging than expected. 

The government reports that employers cut fewer jobs than expected in August. The nation’s payrolls shrunk by 54,000.  

This was not a great report but it was "better than many thought it would be,” wrote Joel Naroff, chief economist with Naroff Advisors in a note to clients.

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The Takeaway

Jobs, Unemployment and the Danger of the Double-Dip

Friday, September 03, 2010

All eyes are on the Department of Labor's monthly jobs report, scheduled to be released this morning. Economists predict the report will show small gains in the jobs market - between 40,000 and 70,000. But they are concerned that if job creation numbers are too low, the overall unemployment rate could still rise - making the report an indicator that the economy could be heading for a "double-dip" back into recession.

What is your personal jobs report? How would you characterise YOUR job situation? Is it scarier or safer than last month? Let us know in the comments below or text the word TAKE to 69866.

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The Takeaway

Dick Fuld Testifies Before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Former Lehman Brothers chief executive Richard Fuld testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on Wednesday. He described his frustration that his firm did not get the help that other firms later got from federal regulators. Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for The New York Times, explains what we're learning from the FCIC, which is tasked with finding out what caused the financial and economic crisis in 2008.

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The Takeaway

2010's First and Only New Bank

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Since the financial crisis began in 2008, hundreds of banks have folded and federal regulators have become more cautious about the banks they approve to go into business. Hartie Spence is the President and CEO of Lakeside Bank in Lake Charles, La. He explains how Lakeside Bank became the only truly new bank to open this year.

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The Takeaway

Home Sales Drop to Lowest Level in a Decade

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sales of existing homes in July fell to the lowest level in 15 years, significantly worse than expected. Stocks fell after the news as it added to the growing concerns of investors about the pace of the nation’s economic recovery.

According to data collected by the National Association of Realtors, existing homes sold at an annual rate of 3.83 million units — 27.2 percent lower than the June level. Compared to a year ago, sales were off 25.2 percent.

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