Economy

Planet Money
1:11 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

This 14-Year-Old Girl Just Bought A House In Florida

Willow Tufano, landlord.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 10:46 am

Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord.

In 2005, when Willow was 7, the housing market was booming. Home prices in some Florida neighborhoods nearly doubled from one month to the next. Her family moved into a big house; her mom became a real estate agent.

But as Willow moved from childhood to adolescence, the market turned, and the neighborhood emptied out. "Everyone is getting foreclosed on here," she says.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:09 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Did Women Really Win the Recession?

Photo by Charles McCain via Flickr Creative Commons

Remember the so-called Man-cession? That was the gloomy prophesy made early in the global economic downturn when construction, manufacturing, and other male-dominated industries collapsed. Some, including Hanna Rosin speaking on this program, projected a sign of sea change in America’s gender inequality. A 2010 study showing unmarried, childless, urban female workers earning more than their male counterparts reinforced the possibility that women could dominate in the new economy. 

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Europe
5:37 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Uncertainty Looms As Greek Debt Deadline Nears

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens. Greece toughened its stance to push creditors to accept a debt swap and take heavy losses, just one day before the Thursday deadline for completion of the deal to avert default.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Stock prices rebounded somewhat Wednesday, one day after their biggest sell-off of the year. What caused prices to plunge Tuesday was an all-too-familiar problem: the Greek debt crisis.

European officials have cobbled together a deal to keep Greece from defaulting, and investors all over the world who hold Greek bonds are weighing their options. They're worried about what could happen if they reject the deal.

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Music News
2:33 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

A Struggling City Finds Inspiration In Classical Music

An abandoned home sits behind a padlocked gate in Stockton, Calif., in 2008.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 9:09 am

The agricultural port city of Stockton, Calif., has made national and international news in recent years — for all the wrong reasons. In a new record, the city recently marked its 56th homicide in one year. And the BBC recently reported that a greater proportion of Stockton residents face the loss of their homes to foreclosure or repossession than anywhere else in America. If that's not enough, it ranked No.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
1:06 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

The Real Cost of Free Curb Space

Photo by Wouter Kiel, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The average American vehicle spends a whopping 95% of its life parked.  And yet, for all of the engineers and urban planners who study how humans and cars interact on the road, one man stands out as an authority how our lives, towns and experiences are affected once those cars stop.

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Europe
3:52 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Students, Police Clash As Spain Reaches Boiling Point

Police restrain a student protesting against education cuts during a rally in Valencia, in eastern Spain, on Feb. 20. Spaniards are beginning to feel the effects of $20 billion in austerity measures, and discontent is growing.
Juan Carlos Cardenas EPA/Landov

Spain's austerity measures have begun to spark clashes, and a high school in Valencia — Spain's most indebted province — has become a flash point for nationwide rallies.

Last month, police arrested 25 demonstrators there, where cellphones captured video of heavy-handed beatings and parents were shocked to see their children on TV, pinned down by police.

The skirmish was a possible sign of what's to come as the conservative government pushes through more spending cuts and people settle into a period of sacrifice in hopes of economic recovery.

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The Exchange
9:03 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Raising Keynes (Rebroadcast)

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

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Crisis In The Housing Market
5:40 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Won't Write Down Mortgage Principal

Many experts say reducing mortgage principal can help troubled homeowners stay in their homes. But two of the nation's largest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have not signed on to the idea.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

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.

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Economy
3:25 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Record Low Interest Rates Raise Inflation Concerns

The Federal Reserve plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2014, and some critics are concerned about the risk of inflation and the message it sends about the economy.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Europe
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Portuguese Seeking Opportunities In Former Colonies

Protesters against government austerity measures march in front of the Finance Ministry in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month. The country's debt crisis has prompted Portuguese workers to look to their country's former colonies for jobs.
Patricia de Melo Moreira AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

The Latest Mass Extinction…Money?

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. 

 

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue February 21, 2012

America, Beyond Our Means

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”
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StateImpact
11:32 am
Tue February 14, 2012

How State Budget Cuts Affect Your Property Taxes

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 11:32 am

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:

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The Exchange
10:00 am
Mon February 13, 2012

A Wake-up Call For the American Dream

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

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NH News
3:28 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Report: End of Year Spike in Home Foreclosures

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" 

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