The Takeaway

If the Digits Are Random, the Price Is Right

Thursday, February 12, 2015

For most people, ten bucks sounds prohibitively steep for a bottle of artisanal olive oil. But at $12.67, you're more likely to buy it. Here's how marketers are working us.

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Cuomo Says State Can Afford Tax Cuts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Governor Cuomo says he thinks the state can afford a tax cut next year, despite a projected $1 billion budget gap.


Freakonomics Radio

How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Dubner and Levitt field your queries in this latest installment of our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.


World Weekly with Gideon Rachman

The most important Italian election for 30 years?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The most important Italian election for 30 years?


Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts: Money, Greed and Power

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SHORTS collaborated with the public radio show Planet Money to bring you two stories about spending and earning, and one about compulsory consumerism. 


On Being

Sen. Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin — Political Bridge People

Thursday, October 25, 2012


On Being

[Unedited] Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin with Krista Tippett

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues Follow-Up: How Big Is Government?

Friday, October 12, 2012

All this week, 30 Issues in 30 Days looked at Big Government, from environment to housing to the military. Bu just how big is Big Government anyway? Michael Ettlinger, vice president for economics at the Center for American Progress, discusses the size of government and the share of various spending programs.

→ Below: The CNN Budget Poll and Various Budget Charts Referenced on Air | Interactive Chart from CAP

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Transportation Nation

Romney: We Have to Invest In Infrastructure (VIDEO)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mitt Romney with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (photo: Romney campaign)

Four years ago, before the bi-partisan consensus on infrastructure spending had frayed, it might not have been remarkable to hear a Republican candidate for President say he -- or she -- believed in infrastructure spending, even if that meant borrowing. But in a year where Republican governors from Florida to New Jersey pulled the plug on big, already-in-the works projects, maybe it is.

"We're going to have to make an investment in our infrastructure and that's a place where if we make that investment, it will pay a return," Romney told a town hall meeting in Charleston, South Carolina December 17, expanding on remarks he made in New Hampshire last week.

And by infrastructure Romney took a broad view -- including roads, bridges, rail, ports, and air travel.

He also gave a little window into his economic theory.

"For instance, with regards to ports, as ports are dredged and made deep water ports and made more competitive they are then able to have more produce come in to them, more products come in to them and can charge therefore on the product coming in and can pay back the cost of the dredging or improvement," he said.

Here's a video posted by Building America's Future, a group that supports more spending on infrastructure. Full transcript of the exchange below.

Here's the transcript:

Question: What is your vision for improving our infrastructure system?

Romney: We got infrastructure issues in our ports, on our rail yards, on our aircraft systems, in our highways in particular.

I came in as governor of my state and my transportation people said that we had 550 structurally deficient bridges in my state. Five hundred and fifty. And we were spending $100 million a year on bridge repairs -- I doubled that to $200 million a year.

Now, that means I had to cut some other things to make sure we were able to put priority behind getting our bridges up to speed. We're going to have to make an investment in our infrastructure and that's a place where if we make that investment, it will pay a return. I don't mind borrowing if something has a revenue stream that will pay back the borrowing.

What I don't like is what we see in Washington where we borrow for just everyday expenses with no new revenue stream to pay it back.

But for instance with regards to ports, as ports are dredged and made deep water ports and made more competitive they are then able to have more produce come in to them, more products come in to them and can charge therefore on the product coming in and can pay back the cost of the dredging or improvement.

That's what's going to have to happen on our ports, on our highways, in our aircraft system.

We're going to have to make the investment to upgrade our infrastructure to make it competitive globally but also so our enterprises can be successful in moving products around. Then we can be competitive sending products around the world.

I recognize that America has to compete and for us to compete to have good jobs we have need to have good infrastructure and I'll stand behind --

By the way, the decision as to which ports to dredge and which rail lines to improve and which highways to get upgraded that's a decision to be made on analysis of need, a potential for return and opportunity not based upon politics.

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The Takeaway

Can Holiday Shopping Save the Economy?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Every holiday season, many Americans feel the compulsion to shop for themselves and their loved ones. George W. Bush famously encouraged the nation to go shopping during his presidency, reminding Americans that 70 percent of the economy is derived from personal spending. This year, the economic engine went into overdrive during Black Friday and Cyber Monday; but, does that indicate signs of a looming economic recovery?

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The Takeaway

Rounding Up Your Big Ideas to Fix the Economy

Friday, August 19, 2011

This week we’ve been asking listeners to suggest big ideas on how to fix the economy, and you've given us a huge response. We’ve talked about raising inflation, boosting housing pricescapping total compensation for CEOstaxing the rich, and the potential financial impact of legalizing pot. We received over 200 responses, and noticed some interesting trends. One in six of those who responded suggested reforming the tax code. The second most popular idea was to cut military spending.

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The Takeaway

Who Are the 'Gang of Six'?

Monday, April 18, 2011

They represent what may be the last great hope for a grand compromise on the budget crisis facing America. Their success or failure could mean either a new tone in Washington or a long fight to the finish of the 2012 elections. The fight also includes everything from raised retirement age and Medicare changes to higher taxes. But who are the Gang of Six? With the help of Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, we take a closer look at six men in whose hands the fate of a giant policy resolution may rest.

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The Takeaway

How Much Do You Know About Military Spending?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The budget deal struck between lawmakers and the president on Friday includes spending cuts of $38 billion. But none of those cuts affect the military. As we take a close look at the military budget — why it can or cannot be included in the cuts, we're giving you the chance to test your knowledge on what we spend on military right now. See how you do!

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The Takeaway

NJ State Budget Bucks National Education Spending Trends

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Across the country, states' and local governments have been getting to the difficult work of balancing their bottom lines. In New Jersey, Republican Governor Chris Christie proposed a $29.4 billion budget which, he argues, reduces state spening by 2.6 percent for the 2012 fiscal year. The governor went on to describe a "new normal" of practical taxing and thrifty spending for his state, which is currently burdened by an $11 billion deficit. The governor's new normal includes a 15 percent cut to the Dept. of Health and Senior Services, state-wide benefit reform that would increase the amount state employees pay for their health insurance and increase retirement contributions from 8 percent to 30 percent, and a $2.5 billion tax cut to businesses. It wasn't all about cuts though; Gov. Christie increased school aid by $250 million, and gave $50 million to charter schools.


The Takeaway

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Offers Alternative Deficit Plan

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Members of the President's deficit commission are debating how to vote on a controversial plan to reduce the nation's budget deficit. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) says she plans to reject the plan put forward by the commission's co-chairs, Erskine Bowles, former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, and Republican former Senator Alan Simpson. Instead, she's offering an alternative plan which would sharply reduce spending at the Pentagon and raise corporate taxes, targeting windfall profits and excessive executive pay.

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The Takeaway

Economic Dissonance Between Wall Street and Main Street

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The economic numbers that we’re seeing across the country seem to indicate, as Fed Chair Ben Bernanke asserted, that our nation’s economic future is “unusually uncertain.”  The Consumer Confidence index released in July reaffirms a growing pessimism on Main Street, where the decline in confidence is likely due to barely noticeable wage growth and concerns over employment. But that is not the case on Wall Street, where the stock exchange is experiencing an upward trend sparked, in part, by recent earnings reports from some big businesses that have slimmed down their costs through the recession. But what does this disconnect mean to you?  



NY Cuts Spending With Furloughs

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New York's Legislature has approved an emergency spending bill that includes one-day-a-week furloughs for 100,000 state workers.



House Dems Ban Some Earmarks

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Republicans responded by asking that earmarks be banned across the board.



Congress Raises Federal Debt Cap

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The House approved a measure that would raise the cap on federal borrowing to $14.3 trillion. The statutory limit on public debt is now $12.104 trillion.



House Dems Push Through Job Creation Bill

Thursday, December 17, 2009

President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the House Wednesday muscled through a year-end plan to create jobs, mixing about $50 billion for public works projects with another sum of nearly $50 billion for cash-strapped state and local governments.