The most recent episode of This American Life provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the New York Federal Reserve.
Here is a description of the podcast from the TAL website:
An unprecedented look inside one of the most powerful, secretive institutions in the country. The NY Federal Reserve is supposed to monitor big banks. But when Carmen Segarra was hired, what she witnessed inside the Fed was so alarming that she got a tiny recorder and started secretly taping. ProPublica’s print version.
The Economics of Debt Ceiling, Affordable Care Act, Welfare
The most recent Planet Money podcast discussed the three most significant political issues of this past week—(1) the debt ceiling, (2) Affordable Care Act and (3) welfare system debates. Although discussion of the debt ceiling is somewhat dated (since we did not hit it), the story explains what is at stake in debt ceiling debates include the outcome of a possible default.
Here is a description of the podcast:
On today’s show: Three ripped-from-the-headlines stories from Planet Money.
What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China, And Social Security
If the government defaults on its debt, people all over the world who have loaned the government money won’t get paid on time.
One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare
Obamacare won’t work unless healthy people buy insurance. No one knows whether they will.
Is Welfare A Rational Alternative To Work?
A new paper argues that the value of various welfare benefits add up to well over $30,000 a year. People on welfare disagree.
Fareed’s Take: “Restoring the American Dream”
Yesterday, Fareed Zakaria GPS began with “Fareed’s Take” on poverty, education and the American Dream.
Here is a description of the commentary:
A recent OECD report points out that the U.S. is one of only three rich countries that spends less on disadvantaged students than others, largely because education funding for elementary and secondary schools in America is tied to local property taxes. So by definition, poor neighborhoods end up with badly funded schools. In general, America spends lots of money on education but most of it is on college education and most is directed towards those already advantaged in various ways.
What’s clear from all this research is that countries that invest more heavily in all their children’s health care, nutrition, and education, well-being more generally end up with a much stronger ladder of opportunity and access than America. Now, that is something we can change and with relatively little money. So if we want to restore the American dream, we now have the beginnings of a path forward.
For more, read the Washington Post column
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on The State of the American Economy
This past Sunday, Fareed Zakaria interviewed U.S. Treasury Jack Lew in a wide ranging discussion.
Tires, Tariffs, and Grizz: Oh My!
NPR’s Planet Money recently ran as story answering the question: “why are tire prices so damn high?” Here is a description of the story:
The price of tires has risen by about 40 percent in the past five years. That’s partly because rubber prices have gone up. But it’s also due to a tariff the U.S. imposed on Chinese tire imports.
As tire prices have risen, more people have been renting tires rather than buying them outright. And renting tires, it turns out, is often a bad deal in the long run.
On today’s show: How a celebrated attempt to help one group of people ended quietly hurting a much larger group. Also on the show: The Grizz.
For more, see our story Why More People Are Renting Tires. And see the paper we mention on the show, U.S. Tire Tariffs: Saving Few Jobs at High Cost.
Rockanomics and the US Economy: “It’s a Long Way to the Top . . .”
“. . . if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” This quote from AC/DC and Jack Black’s School of Rock is applicable to a short story by NPR’s Weekend Edition. The segment discusses how the economics of the music industry can teach us lessons about the broader American economy. Most notably, both are currently in a state of radical inequality.
Here is a description of the story:
White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.
“And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: ‘Rockanomics,’ the economics of rock and roll,” the president said. “This is something that Alan actually cares about.”
In fact, Krueger gave a speech this week at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where he said the music business offers valuable lessons about the broader U.S. economy.
Father of High-Frequency Trading Advocates Slow Down
NPR’s Planet Money recent re-aired the story of Thomas Peterffy, a financial innovator that helped chang how (fast) stock trading occurs. Here is a description of the story:
Thomas Peterffy’s life story includes a typing robot, a proto-iPad, and a vast fortune he amassed as one of the first guys to use computers in financial markets.
On today’s show, Peterffy tells us his story — and he explains why he’s worried about the financial world he helped create.