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