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The Takeaway

Debate Over Pay Cuts at Bailed-Out Banks

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Obama administration plans to cut executives' pay at companies that received taxpayer money as part of the financial bailout. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve says it will monitor bank pay packages in the hopes of deterring payouts that reward overly-risky behavior. For a look at what this means for recruiters we're joined by Joe Nocera, business columnist for The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

White House to Curb Executive Pay at Bailed-Out Banks

Thursday, October 22, 2009

According to Bloomberg News, Wall Street bonuses are on track to increase by 40 percent this year. But as our partner The New York Times reports, the Obama administration will order the companies that received the most aid from the bailout to slash the pay of their top earners. According to officials who spoke to the paper, seven companies will have to cut the paychecks of the 25 highest-paid executives by an average of about 90 percent from last year. More companies will have to curb special perks like country club memberships and private planes. We look at how much the government should be involved in setting private salaries with New York Times reporter Stephen Labaton; Paul Hodgson, senior researcher at The Corporate Library; and Steve Kaplan, professor of finance at the University of Chicago's School of Business.

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The Takeaway

The Health Insurance Industry Goes on the Offensive

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In the high-volume debate about heath care reform, one major player has been notably quiet: the health insurance industry. For the most part, the industry has given faint support to reform, but that changed this week. Health insurance companies are buying up ad time in a number of key states as part of a coordinated push to make sure their concerns remain part of the reform debate. We speak to Brad Fluegel, executive vice president and chief strategy and external affairs officer for the health insurer WellPoint. We hear also from Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade group for insurance companies; and Jon Gruber, a health care economist at MIT who helped Massachusetts develop its universal health insurance plan.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After our segment aired, Jon Gruber disclosed that he has been paid at least $297,600 by the Department of Health and Human Services to model costs and effects of health care reform for the Obama Administration.  We did not discover or disclose that in our interview.

 

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The Takeaway

Rep. Barney Frank on Banking Reforms

Friday, September 25, 2009

Up on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are talking a good game about the need to regulate banks and enforce limits on executive salaries. But how close are we to real reform on these issues, and what's going to happen at the G-20? For an insider's view of the process of reforming banking, we speak to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), head of the House Financial Services Committee. (click through for the full interview transcript)

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The Takeaway

Addressing Climate Change One Prank at a Time

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Last week close to a million New Yorkers received a special edition of the New York Post emblazoned with the giant headline: "We're Screwed!" Plausible as the headline seemed, the paper was not the work of the Post staff, but rather an elaborate prank by The Yes Men, a group dedicated to pranking for change. We talk to one of the two Yes Men, Mike Bonnano (his partner-in-pranks, Andy Bichlbaum, would have joined us, but is still in jail after being arrested yesterday) about their goals, their pranks and their agenda for the week. We also talk to Steven Heller, co-chair of MFA design at the School for Visual Arts, about whether such pranks change conversations in a positive way or just distract from important topics.

For more from the Yes Men, check out their movie, The Yes Men Fix the World, which opens nationally on October 23rd, or read their book The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization.

Lately the Yes Men have been touting the benefits of a new product, the Survivaball. Click through for more videos from the Yes Men:

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The Takeaway

Congress Eyes Financial Giants 'Too Big to Fail'

Friday, September 18, 2009

Are you a company that is "too big to fail?" Well, Congress hopes, someday, to have a plan for you. Louise Story, finance reporter for The New York Times, joins us with a look at the federal government's latest moves to prepare for failures of the future.

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The Takeaway

Eliot Spitzer on Regulatory Reform (And His Own Future)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

President Obama has proposed sweeping changes to the regulation of the country's financial system. But do these changes actually address the root causes of our financial crisis? For one view, we turn to Eliot Spitzer, former Attorney General and Governor of New York. When he was Attorney General he made a name for himself suing companies like AIG for deception, fraud and boosting the company’s stock price. He also discusses his personal feelings at having to watch the unfolding crisis as a bystander and not as political leader.

"Rearranging the deck chairs does not fundamentally alter the fact that the regulators had the power over the past few years."
— Eliot Spitzer on financial reform

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The Takeaway

Life, Inc.: The Corporatization of Us

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In his new book Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, author Douglas Rushkoff says that to get out of the current economic crisis, Americans must rethink their relationship with companies like Wal-Mart. He favors local economies, local currencies, and even the old-fashioned concept of getting to know your neighbors. He joins The Takeaway with more.

For a sneak peek at the book, here's a brief film of Life, Inc.

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The Takeaway

The Pay Czar: Setting the Pay Scale for Executives

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In response to criticism of outlandish executive pay, the government is now tightening the reins. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the brand new position of "pay czar" and appointed Ken Feinberg, the Washington lawyer known for setting the compensation amount for families of the 9/11 victims. Now he turns his attention to setting a very different kind of monetary figure. To talk about this is Nell Minow, editor and co-founder of the Corporate Library, a think-tank that studies executive pay.

"Banking is different than many other industries in that the government is really compelled. It doesn't have an option. It's compelled to bail out the banks when they get in trouble or the whole economy and society collapse."
— Business professor Peter Morici

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The Takeaway

Ask Ford CEO Alan Mulally about future of the U.S. auto industry

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Like a Rock, or a little rocky? Ford Motor Co., the innovator behind the Model T, is seeing its sales slide as GM and Chrysler seek a government bailout. What's Ford's new model for the American car? Ford CEO Alan Mulally took your questions on Friday's Takeaway. Listen to his answers.
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The Takeaway

GM's CEO steps down. If you had the job, how would you save the American car?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors Corp., is stepping down. The move came at the request of President Obama, who is seeking to reform the U.S. car industry in a gloomy economic climate. So it's time for a job interview -- If you were in charge at GM, how would you save the American car?


What's your take? Leave a comment below or record your story at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE.
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The Takeaway

Bursting the auto-industry bubble

Friday, March 06, 2009

General Motors Corp. sent the stock market lurching downward yesterday after its annual report expressed doubts about corporate viability. Could The Big Three go bankrupt? Critics such as The Truth About Cars blogger Robert Farago wonder if bailouts can save U.S. carmakers.

"The company has squandered all its financial resources. Every last dollar. It's gone, it's dead, it has to go."
— Blogger Robert Farago on the state of General Motors

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The Takeaway

Wall Street salary caps breaking ground, making waves

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Yesterday President Obama announced that companies receiving federal bailout money must cap their executives no more than $500,000 a year. Is a pay limit helping the economy? Or is it simply a PR move? Compensation experts Nell Minow, editor and co-founder of The Corporate Library, and Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, join Adaora and John to debate the merits of the measure.

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The Takeaway

Hugo Chavez humbled in the face of falling gas prices, maybe

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a frequent (and loud) critic of the United States. Despite his dislike for the country, the nationalized oil business that props up the nation's economy sells billions of dollars of oil to the U.S. Due to Chavez's bombastic personality, many big oil companies don't bother drilling in Venezuela anymore. But now that gas prices have plunged, Chavez is gently cozying up to companies like Chevron and Shell to see if they'd like to return to Venezuela. For more on this turn of events, we are joined by Simon Romero who is covering this story for the New York Times from Caracas, Venezuela.

Read Simon Romero's article, Chávez Allows West to Make Oil Bids as Prices Plunge, in today's New York Times.

The video below is one of Chavez's more outspoken moments at the United Nations.

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The Takeaway

New lead testing law angers small manufacturers, retailers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On February 10th a controversial new consumer product law goes into effect. It requires manufacturers of goods aimed at children under the age of 12 to test their products for lead. It also forbids retailers to sell goods with unacceptable levels of lead. While that is certainly well-intentioned, small business owners say they don’t have the money to test their products. They worry the law, which is meant to protect children, will actually put them out of business. The Takeaway talks to Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Marilyn Seitz, owner of the not-for-profit Pennyworth Thrift Shop in Silver Spring, Maryland, for their take on the situation.

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The Takeaway

Did Wall Street bonuses spark the economic collapse?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The profits on Wall Street are long gone. This week, Goldman Sachs, a longtime top performer, reported a quarterly loss of more than $2 BILLION, which is its first quarterly loss since going public nine years ago. While you would expect there would be no bonuses to executives at Goldman and other banks, that is not the case. Executives at banks that ran into the ground took home hundreds of millions. Now there are questions about what role those lavish bonuses played in the banks', and the economy's, collapse. Louise Story is covering this story for our partner the New York Times.

For more on this story, read Louise Story's article in the New York Times, On Wall Street, Bonuses, Not Profits, Were Real .

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The Takeaway

World markets react to U.S. interest rate cut

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yesterday the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its key interest rate to historic lows in an effort to pull the world's largest economy out of recession. Today the rest of the world's markets react. Justin Urquhart Stewart, a director with Seven Investment Management, joins The Takeaway to discuss.

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The Takeaway

Big three wait for word of White House bailout

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Congress and the big three automakers are waiting to see if and when the White House will step in with a helping hand for the industry. Congress failed last week to approve an emergency loan package and now the White House says it may use its power to bail out the industry at least temporarily. The Takeaway talks to Todd Zwillich, reporter for Capitol News Connection, in Washington, DC.

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The Takeaway

GM's Saturn may be getting the boot

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Saturn, GM's star brand, has not lived up to its promise.

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The Takeaway

UAW offers concessions, auto workers respond

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The UAW says it will make concessions to adapt to tough times.
" I'm a third generation auto worker. My grandfather had his retirement watch signed by Henry Ford II."
— Ken Mefford on the changes in the auto industry

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