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Business And Economy

The Takeaway

Students Defaulting on Many Loans at For-Profit Colleges

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

As college students head back to campus, a new report says almost two thirds of student loans at for-profit colleges are not being repaid. The statistic calls into question some for-profit programs' ability to prepare graduates for finding jobs, and the Obama administration has proposed cutting off federal loans to the programs with the worst repayment rates. About two-thirds of students in the class of 2013 said that they were concerned about their ability to pay for college.

With default rates at such a high, we're asking you: How have student loans affected your life in ways you didn't expect?

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The Takeaway

Launching a Small Business in a Troubled Economy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amidst all the economic doom and gloom, we hear a story of one small buisness that's actually working. Hilary Lanzer is a Takeaway listener and the vice president of sales at Ask Me, Inc., a marketing firm for travel services. She contacted The Takeaway to express frustration with all the negative stories; she shares her experience of launching a company during a recession.

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The Takeaway

The Unemployed Who Don't Get Counted

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 9.5 percent unemployment rate does not count a huge number of Americans: People who are out of a job and have given up looking. With millions of people out of work and competing with each other for the small percentage of open jobs, it makes sense that a significant portion will call it quits – at least for the time being – and cease searching for employment all together.

If you're unemployed but not looking for work, tell us: At what point did you stop looking for a job?

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The Takeaway

Will You Rent or Buy?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

During the past two years, we’ve heard over and over again that there’s a silver lining to our housing crisis: Now that home prices have dropped, buying property has suddenly become much more affordable.

Prices are low, negotiation opportunities are high, and interest rates are their lowest since the 1950s. But is buying really the right thing for you? Or is renting financially wiser?

What information are you looking for for as you make decisions about your house or apartment? And if you're renting, what would it take you to buy? Tell us what you're waiting for to decide and we'll make it part of the discussion.

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The Takeaway

What to Look For as New Credit Card Rules Take Effect

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

This month, the latest rules in the federal credit card overhaul come into effect. Credit card issuers, however, are already finding creative loopholes. Go check your mailbox: There's a good chance you have a letter from your credit card company or bank telling you about new rules and "improved" new features on your account. Some of those were actually mandated by Congress; others are workarounds to earn more money on new fees. 

We want to help you find out what new fees and charges consumers have to watch out for now that the credit card overhaul is taking effect. Tell us what your card company is asking you to sign up for. Or how they are pitching their new features. Send us pictures of the letters even. Or, tell us any stories for paying too much or getting overcharged by a credit card company. 

 

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The Takeaway

At What Age Will You Retire?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

65 has been the standard age for retirement in this country since 1935. But that specific age has come into question as states hit economic hardships and more and more people live longer. Lawmakers in about a dozen states are looking to increase the retirement age or modify the way benefits are given out. These states might increase the qualifying retirement age for state employees, despite the fact that public-sector workers already retire, on average, earlier than workers in the private sector. Is this fair? We're looking into what the "right" retirement age is in this new age of longer life span and tighter budgets. 

We want to know from you: Whether you've retired already or are just making plans, what is the retirement age for your household? And if you retired early during the boom years, how has it been going? What's a few extra years? 

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The Takeaway

What Do Big Earnings Numbers Mean for the Economy?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Positive earnings reports from UPS, Caterpillar and other companies helped rally the stock market yesterday. The Dow was up by 201 points, hitting the highest mark in two weeks. Overseas growth looks positive as well and economists are eagerly waiting for the results of the European "stress test," which looks at the financial health of Europe's banks. Economics reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Kelly Evans, looks at the markets and what this rallying means for consumers.

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The Takeaway

Financial Regulation Becomes Law; Bernanke Calls Outlook 'Unusually Uncertain'

Thursday, July 22, 2010

President Obama made it official yesterday: the financial overhaul bill has been signed into law. So who are the winners as this new law takes effect? Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner believes the consumer is the real winner in financial reform, with new rules about mortgages, credit cards and student loans. However, she reminds us that car dealers are not included in the law, so it's important to stay vigilant.

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The Takeaway

Where Did Your Job Go? Economists Can't Answer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

58 Democrats and two Republicans in the U.S. Senate overcame a Republican filibuster and moved closer to extending unemployment benefits to 2.5 million Americans. A final vote is expected later today.

The larger unemployment picture is complex. The national unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent in June, down 0.2 percent from the previous month. However, job growth remained stagnant, with only 21 states seeing net job gains. 

With unemployment still high and practically no job growth, we're asking: where have all the jobs gone? We want you to help us track them down: if you're unemployed, or if you know someone who is, tell us: What happened to the job? Did it go overseas? Or did the company downsize?

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The Takeaway

Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs Settlement

Friday, July 16, 2010

Contributing editor at Rolling Stone Magazine, Matt Taibbi weighs in on whether the punishment for Goldman Sachs is adequate. The financial giant mislead subprime mortgage investors as the housing market began to collapse. The settlement seems significant, however, it's not that much money for Goldman and, pending approval by a federal judge, the settlement will clear the company of the charges. 

However the question remains: If no one is personally held accountable, will fraudulent business practices ever cease to exist?  Matt Taibbi says that part of the problem is that "when these things happen, the leadership isn't prosecuted, no one goes to jail."

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The Takeaway

Listeners Respond: Design Your Ideal Bank

Friday, July 09, 2010

We'll be talking next week about efforts to recreate banking in a post-crisis era. One new bank in Brooklyn is trying a model with no branches and no fees. Help us with a new model! What do you hate about your bank that you would like to see done differently?

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The Takeaway

Why It's Time to Rethink Unemployment Benefits

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Two gentlemen asked Ebenezer Scrooge for his "liberality" to help the destitute.  Scrooge immediately asked if something had perhaps happened to the prisons, the union workhouses, and the treadmill, all means of punishing the poor.  When assured that these institutions were in fact all active and busy, Scrooge rubbed his hands together and chortled, "I'm very glad to hear it!"  An economist answering questions about unemployment benefits always feels a bit like Scrooge.  Because the answer to the question "Couldn't we do more to help the poor?" is always, "Yes, but..."

So, should we rethink unemployment compensation?  Yes.  But...

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The Takeaway

Unemployed? You Should Get a Bonus

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

You hear the debate in the U.S. Senate: aid money is wasted money. Giving people or nations money in the form of unemployment benefits or aid is a disincentive to change. Pay unemployed people and they stay unemployed. Pay poor people and they stay poor. Give aid to corrupt governments and those governments stay corrupt.

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The Takeaway

Unemployment Rate Drops, Layoffs Rise

Friday, July 02, 2010

New figures out this morning show the unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent, it's lowest in almost a year. But this was driven mostly by a drop in people looking for work. Employers cut 125,000 jobs last month, which was the most since last October. New York Times finance reporter, Louise Story, breaks down the numbers. Louise reminds us that 8 milllion jobs have been lost since 2007 and that a real recovery will take years. She also looks at the effects of these numbers on the markets.

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The Takeaway

Can AIG and Others Sue Goldman Sachs?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Louise Story, finance reporter for The New York Times, co-reported on a big story in today's paper. In the fall of 2008, when the government propped up A.I.G. with billions of taxpayer dollars, the insurance giant was forced to forfeit its right to sue the very banks which helped drive it into the ground.

A.I.G. investors and executives alike have been frustrated over their lack of legal recourse against big banks, including Goldman Sachs, for insuring over-leveraged mortgage backed securities with them. However, after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit for fraud against Goldman Sachs in April accusing the bank of misrepresenting a mortgage deal to investors. A.I.G. is now examining the idea of filing its own suit against Goldman. Was A.I.G. indeed misled by Goldman into insuring mortgage deals that the bank knew were flawed?

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Cornered

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Harper’s and Financial Times contributor Barry C. Lynn discussing an alarming trend: the widespread consolidation of power in nearly every imaginable sector of the American economy.

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The Takeaway

Today in Business: Jobs Report Disappoints

Friday, June 04, 2010

The government reported that 431,000 jobs were created in May, but most of those were temporary census employees. While the positive numbers marked the fifth month in a row of jobs created versus lost, the number of private sector jobs fell far below what economists had expected.

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The Takeaway

The Day in Business: This Week's Seesawing Markets

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let’s see. Yesterday, stock markets traded in positive territory throughout the day. But then, suddenly in the last hour, markets dropped sharply, and the Dow closed below the 10,000 mark for the first time since this February. The Dow has lost 11 percent since April 26, when it hit a high of 11,205. Now, the Dow is definitely in “correction” territory.

But this morning, the markets completely reversed course and shot up at the start of the trading. We’ll have to wait to see if the better mood holds throughout the day.

All this activity begs the question: What’s moving the markets? Before getting to the specifics of the day on Wall Street, check out this report from WNYC’s Lisa Chow, which examines why the markets have been on such a wild ride recently. One reason, she suggests, is that it’s all in your head.

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WQXR News

Stock Market Falls, Unemployment Claims High

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The stock market tumbled again Thursday after investors' already bleak view of the world economy worsened with another drop in the euro and disappointing U.S. employment news.

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The Takeaway

Should You Save for Your Kid's College or Your Own Retirement?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We've been talking with Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life", about how to get ourselves on strong financial footing, with our Do It Yourself Bailout series. This week, Beth helps us with a big dilemma: If we can't afford to do both, should we sock away money every month for retirement or save for our kids' college?

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