Economy

We explore the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes. His ideas of government spending “priming the pump” during bad times have  been applied by American leaders from FDR to Obama. But Keynsian  theory continue to spark fierce debate – some feel it’s still the best way out of a slump – but others believe this distorts the free-market and that these ideas have run their course.

Guests

Despite some green shoots in the economy, the housing sector remains weak. With 11 million Americans still underwater on their mortgages, some housing experts believe it's time for more dramatic solutions.

The idea of reducing the principal on the loans of underwater homeowners used to be a fringe concept, embraced by a few outliers. Today, many policymakers believe principal reduction is necessary to keep some troubled homeowners afloat.

But so far, the nation's biggest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, haven't embraced the idea.

Record Low Interest Rates Raise Inflation Concerns

Feb 29, 2012

The goal of the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is to juice the economic recovery. The low rates should make it easier for people to borrow money, which they'll hopefully spend; the increased demand for goods and services is then supposed to translate into more hiring.

That's what the Fed is banking on. It hopes low interest rates will help with its mandate of achieving maximum employment, but it also has another mandate: to keep prices stable.

"In many cases, those two conflict," says economist Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Portugal is burdened with such big debts that some are calling it "the next Greece." Unemployment is soaring, and the debt continues to rise, despite draconian austerity measures.

But Portugal has something Greece doesn't have: former colonies, rich in natural resources and in need of labor, both skilled and unskilled. And in a type of role reversal, some Portuguese are now traveling to those places in hopes of improving their lives.

Antonio Valerio, who is studying pharmaceutical science at a university, is among those who see no future in Portugal.

In a down economy, most folks are happy to find a crumpled five in a pair of old jeans, or turn in their saved quarters for a dinner out.  Not David Wolman David is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, and author of the new book, The End of Money, which explores the notion that everyone might benefit from a cash-free world. 

 

We talk to the author of a new book who says that Americans spend too much, save too little and borrow excessively and that we might look to countries in Europe and East Asia, where governments encourage thrift and saving rates are much higher.  We’ll examine the financial habits of people on three continents over two centuries and what we might learn from it. 

Guests

  • Sheldon Garon - Professor of History at Princeton University and author of “Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves”

How State Budget Cuts Affect Your Property Taxes

Feb 14, 2012

A new report finds that Granite State communities are leaning more and more heavily on property taxes. Examining data from 2007–2010, the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies found:

Many say upward mobility isn't what it used to be in America, especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, and that the U. S. has become a less mobile society than other advanced nations. Still, skeptics point out that the country has grown wealthier overall, leading to higher incomes for new generations, even if they don’t move up in the class system. 

Guests

Flikr Creative Commons / Sean Dreilinger

A report shows that home foreclosures spiked at the end of last year, up 35% from November.

Jane Law of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority says foreclosures have been declining since their peak in 2010, and December’s jump might be an anomaly.

Law says, "The biggest factor is just mortgage companies are kind of clearing out some inventory before the end of the year, which is the end of their tax year usually" 

After years of speculation on a "jobless recovery," finally, things could be looking up–at least for the moment. This week, the Bureau of Labor statistics reported some serious gains on the national jobs front for January, with the creation of 243,000 jobs.

One of the key consequences of the economic collapse a few years ago was the passage of a massive piece of legislation called the "Dodd-Frank Act." The bill was co-sponsored by (now-retired) Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and (soon-to-be-retired) Democratic Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

Last week the Green Launching Pad made its latest round of grants to New Hampshire businesses. The idea is to provide support to companies that are or want to be eco-friendly, while also developing jobs.

Tonight, President Obama is set to deliver the final state of the union address of his first term. Morning Edition's Renee Montagne spoke to White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe for a preview of the president's speech.

One of the main questions that lingers over Northern Pass is: Will it create jobs, especially in the struggling North Country?

And, befitting the layers of controversy surrounding the project, the simplest answer won out.

It depends on who you ask.

Governor John Lynch announced Wednesday that three manufacturing companies will participate in the latest round of the Green Launching Pad.

The stimulus-funded Green Launching Pad is a partnership between UNH and the state designed to develop businesses, bring new products to market, and create jobs.

Raising Keynes

Jan 18, 2012

We explore the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes. His ideas of government spending “priming the pump” during bad times have  been applied by American leaders from FDR to Obama. But Keynsian  theory continue to spark fierce debate – some feel it’s still the best way out of a slump – but others believe this distorts the free-market and that these ideas have run their course.

Guests

The widening gulf between the rich and everyone else is a growing source of tension in America.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the income gap is now seen as a bigger source of conflict in the U.S. than race, age or national origin. That's why some believe the issue could matter in the presidential campaign, and others worry it could warp the national debate.

Two out of three Americans now perceive strong social conflicts over the income gap — up sharply from two years ago. Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center has an idea what's behind the increase.

The last of the U-S troops are now returning from Iraq.

Once home they’re likely to end up joining thousands of other veterans looking for work in a bleak job market.

Despite government incentives to get companies to hire vets, unemployment among vets is still higher than civilians.

The youngest veterans struggle the most.

Twenty-two year old Courtney Selig went into the military to better herself.

Jon Greenberg, NHPR

The New Hampshire primary is about politics – obviously – but it’s also about economics, albeit in a much smaller way. While the rest of the state was watching vote totals and checking on the mood at campaign headquarters, reporter Amanda Loder of StateImpact New Hampshire was looking at the economic effects of the first in the nation primary. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what she learned. 

Links:

How NH Counties Voted (Based Economic Demos)

Jan 11, 2012

This year, NHPR's GOP primary coverage took on a strong national flavor, broadcasting to listeners all over the country. Among the network's expanded audience were WNYC listeners in, well...NYC.

In their books, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior. As boring as that may sound, what they really do is tell stories — about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama's boys. Those Freakonomics stories — and plenty of new ones — are now coming to the radio, with Dubner as host.

"Skating on thin ice" is the way one New Hampshire economist describes the current state of our economy.  New Hampshire is still out performing other states in terms of its unemployment rate and the stability of its housing market, but economic troubles in Europe could mean bad news for the Granite State which relies very much on exports.  Also some worry that if the national economy doesn't gain a lot of momentum, New Hampshire's economy could be compromised.  Today we look at the New Hampshire economy, examine the good news and not so good news and ask whether 2012 may be the turnaround y

With Christmas and Hanukkah wrapped-up, we've officially reached the pre-New Year's lull. This brief respite from the regularly scheduled holiday cheer is when many people take the opportunity to consider their accomplishments and failures over the past year, and resolve to do better in the future. Other people just go to work for a few days and get really, really bored at their desks as they countdown to their next party.

Either way, it's a bit of a restless period, isn't it?

A New Hampshire developer plans to renovate two mostly-abandoned apartment buildings in Franklin and turn them into affordable housing for working class families. The company, New England Family Housing, plans to buy the 30-unit building for $615,000.

More families in New Hampshire can now get help with their fuel bill this winter.

Congress increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, this week.

New Hampshire will receive a total of $26 million, rather than the $14.7 million dollars originally allotted.

That original appropriation forced Community Action Agencies to target the money to families of four earning less than $28,000.

Other low-income households were placed on a waiting list.

Liveblog: Joint Economic Session

Dec 13, 2011

Millions of Americans wake up each morning without a job, even though they desperately want to work. It's one of the depressing legacies of the financial crisis and Great Recession.

NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll of people who had been unemployed or with an insufficient level of work for more than a year. The results document the financial, emotional and physical effects of long-term unemployment and underemployment.

iStock/Thinkstock

 

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"By 2008, the United States had become the biggest international borrower in world history, with two-thirds of its $6 trillion federal debt in foreign hands" points out Jeffry Frieden, co-author of a new book called Lost Decades: The Making of America's Debt Crisis. International borrowing has been a long-standing economic tradition -- we even funded the American Revolution this way. But, Frieden points out, more recent borrowing is massive compared to the past and encouraged debt-fueled consumption rather than sound investments.

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