John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

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Economy
5:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Bernanke Defends Fed's Stimulus Policy Of Low Interest Rates

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Some reassurance today for investors who worried the Federal Reserve might reverse course and start raising interest rates. Today, in testimony on Capitol Hill, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a full-throated defense of those low rates. They're a centerpiece of the Fed's effort to stimulate the economy.

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Politics
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

What Would Obama Do (If There's No Debt Ceiling Deal)?

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

You might've chuckled a bit this week, if you heard about the trillion-dollar platinum coin plan, to perhaps address Washington, D.C.'s debt ceiling stalemate. But it will certainly be no laughing matter if the U.S. Congress refuses to raise the borrowing limit, and the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Global financial markets would likely plummet.

NPR's John Ydstie reports on some of the options the president has if he and Congress cannot reach an agreement.

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Economy
3:44 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Geithner Began With 'Smoldering' Economy; What Does He Leave?

In this handout image provided by the White House, President Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the United Nations on Sept. 23, 2010.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a bruising four years. He took office when the U.S. economy was plunging into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Nominating Jack Lew as Geithner's successor Thursday, President Obama praised his departing Treasury secretary for helping to get the economy back on track.

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Business
6:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 pm

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

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Economy
5:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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NPR Story
6:44 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Unemployment Rate Drops, But Picture Not All Rosy

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 7:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Turns out that Superstorm Sandy didn't do as much damage as many expected, to the nation's unemployment predicament. At least, that's what the government's monthly data on the jobs market told us yesterday. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, analysts and businesses are already looking past that report, to the dangers to jobs posed by the fiscal cliff.

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Business
5:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Obama, Business Roundtable Disagree Over Taxes

President Obama is lobbying the CEOs of the nation's largest companies to support him as he tries to reach a budget deal with Republican lawmakers. The president met Wednesday with members of the Business Roundtable. The group urges the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy.

Politics
6:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

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It's All Politics
6:44 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Raising Taxes On The Rich: Canny Or Counterproductive?

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (right), shown at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is arguing for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As negotiations continue in Washington over a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff — that combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1 — one big sticking point is whether to raise tax rates for high-income Americans.

Congress and the White House constructed the cliff last year, thinking it would force them to focus on solving the deficit problem. But they're still battling over what approach makes the most sense.

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Business
4:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Head Of SEC To Step Down After Four Years

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:18 pm

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairwoman Mary Schapiro is stepping down. She took over the agency in 2009 as it was reeling from criticism over the financial crisis and the Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Schapiro is credited as a consensus builder who restored some stability to the SEC. She is being replaced by SEC commissioner Elisse Walter.

Business
4:45 am
Thu November 22, 2012

More And More Airline Flights Are Filled To Capacity

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 4:52 am

Airlines are always crowded during the Thanksgiving holiday. But if you've had the feeling they're becoming more crowded all the time, it's not just your imagination. On average, more than 80 percent of airline seats have been filled and plenty of flights have been packed to capacity.

Politics
4:01 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Lew, Bowles Rumored To Replace Treasury's Geithner

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 5:43 pm

A second term means some new Cabinet appointments for President Obama, including at the Treasury. After four pretty grueling years, Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear he will be leaving Washington.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Geithner would be staying on through the inauguration. He's also expected to be a "key participant" in "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

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It's All Politics
6:19 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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Presidential Race
5:21 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

How The New President Might Rebuild Top Cabinets

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

We're going to spend a few minutes now discussing possibilities. Regardless of who wins today's presidential contest, there are reasonable expectations that there will be new faces on the horizon. We've asked NPR reporters who cover some of the key Cabinet-level positions in the U.S. government to tell us about some of the names on that horizon. Let's start with NPR's State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen. Good to have you with us, Michele.

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It's All Politics
5:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

They Call The Election A Horse Race; It Has Real Bettors, Too

The Dublin-based prediction market site Intrade lets users bet money on whom they expect to win a variety of U.S. political races, including the presidential race.
NPR/Intrade screen grab

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

By this point in the campaign season, the presidential polls may have your head spinning. Romney's up 7 points in one, Obama's up 3 in another ... and on any given day, a dozen other polls are swirling, each offering a different take.

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Solve This
4:29 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney's Jobs Plan Relies On His Tax Proposal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands during a rainy campaign rally Monday in Newport News, Va.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:25 am

As part of Solve This, NPR's series on major issues facing the country, we're examining the presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. After looking at President Obama's strategy, it's time to examine the plan of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

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Solve This
4:35 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Obama's Jobs Plan Focuses On Federal Investment

President Obama speaks during a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:48 am

In the next two installments of Solve This, NPR's series on the major issues facing the country, we'll examine each presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. First, President Obama's strategy, then Mitt Romney's.

Job creation is the centerpiece of President Obama's campaign speeches.

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Economy
2:03 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Fed Stimulus Expected, But Remedy May Not Be Right

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in June.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 9:02 am

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting in Washington, trying to decide whether — and exactly how — to boost the sluggish economy. Many analysts are expecting the Fed to take action, but they're also beginning to question whether another stimulus program will have any effect.

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Economy
5:02 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

U.S. Treasury Cuts Stake In AIG With $18 Billion Sale

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The U.S. government made a big chunk of money in the stock market today. It sold more than 630 million shares in AIG, the American International Group. The government reluctantly acquired the shares when it injected billions of dollars into the insurance giant to keep it from collapsing. The Treasury Department says the government turned a $15.1 billion dollar profit on the deal. Here's NPR's John Ydstie.

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Election 2012
2:59 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Critics Say Ryan's Record Belies Tough Deficit Talk

Paul Ryan waves as he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29. Ryan has been celebrated as a deficit hawk with bold vision, but some critics have called his record on deficit-reduction "dismal."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 5:08 pm

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

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Economy
5:01 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

New Unemployment Report Weaker Than Expected

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:18 pm

The jobs report released Friday morning came in weaker than expected. Employers added 96,000 jobs to payrolls. The unemployment rate did fall to 8.1 percent, but that was because so many people left the workforce.

It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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U.S.
6:14 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

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Economy
4:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Fed Chief Gives Gloomy Economic Review

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We begin our program with two very different views of the economy. Two observers of the economy think the long-term looks very good, as we'll hear in a moment.

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Economy
4:53 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Bernanke: U.S. Economic Growth Is Slowing

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers that progress toward bringing down the nation's high unemployment rate will be "frustratingly slow." He reiterated previous statements that the Fed stands ready to do more, but declined to be specific about what it would do. Bernanke also defended the Fed's role in addressing the manipulation of a benchmark interest rate by at least one big bank.

Economy
3:22 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Euro Currency Still Faring Well, For Now

Over the last 13 years, the euro has been worth on average $1.21, only a penny less than its current price of $1.22 per euro.
Michael Probst AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:42 pm

The euro touched a two-year low against the dollar Tuesday, as concerns about the eurozone debt crisis continued.

Despite a recession across much of the eurozone and even predictions of the currency's demise, however, the euro has held up relatively well during this crisis.

Over the last 13 year, it has taken on average $1.21 to buy a euro. Now, even in this midst of this crisis, it's worth virtually the same ($1.22).

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Europe
5:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

Economy
5:34 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Federal Reserve Cuts Back U.S. Growth Forecast

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, D.C.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Investors Look To The Fed For An Economic Boost

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:59 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
4:22 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

On The Economic Ladder, Rungs Move Further Apart

Kevin Hill, a San Diego landscape designer, was doing well financially before the downturn. Now, he says he feels "lost."
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 pm

America is the land of opportunity — that's the bedrock of the American dream. Many expect each generation to do better than the last.

That dream of economic mobility is alive and well for Pam Krank and her husband, Brian McGee. The two are proud owners of The Credit Department Inc., a successful business in the Minneapolis suburb of Mendota Heights.

"Mostly manufacturing companies around the world will hire us to study their customers and tell them how much ... unsecured credit they should grant to each customer," Krank explains.

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