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Why mergers are as complicated as relationships

Aug 9, 2018

Today we learned that the merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Co. has been called off. Albertsons and Rite Aid also announced their merger will not happen.

That’s two big breakups on one day, but in the grand scheme of things, merger failures aren’t that rare. It happens about 20 percent of the time, according to David King, an associate professor at Florida State University, who has studied merger success and failure.

Day laborers are pressed by Trump immigration policies

Aug 9, 2018

In Woodburn, Oregon, a small city in the Willamette Valley, there’s a Fiesta Mexicana every summer where families gather at a local park for Latin music and dancing, Mexican food and carnival rides. A busy freight rail line runs through the center of town, past small shops catering to the Latino community. On the outskirts, fields of corn, vegetables and grass seed spread in every direction. 

"Undocumented" is a picture book that's not just for kids

Aug 9, 2018

There are millions of undocumented workers in the United States. That part of the workforce is economically significant but not often heard from. Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh, a dual Mexican and American citizen who grew up on both sides of the border, is trying to tell the story of some of those people in a picture book.

Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Aug 9, 2018

Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfills President Donald Trump’s vow to ensure America’s dominance in space — a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial.

For the last several weeks, headlines have been dominated by hurricanes and floods, causing devastation from India and Nepal to the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma is just the latest in a ferocious season of natural disasters.

With long-term recovery in mind, I partnered with the BBC World Service to produce "Seeking Refuge in Houston," which focused on Houston and what happens in the aftermath of a terrible storm.

The New York City Council has banned new permits for Uber and Lyft-style cars in New York City for a year. It’s the first city to do this at a time when these Silicon Valley disruptors are seen to be disrupting traffic and disrupting the lives of traditional yellow taxi and limo drivers.

The city council has also cleared the way to require Lyft and Uber to top up drivers’ salaries if they don’t meet the minimum wage.

(Markets Edition) The government says there was no inflation from June to July. But what does that mean, given how inflation impacts our daily decisions? Also, many businesses are joining forces to support the U.S. Postal Service — they may not be the Avengers, but they do have a name: the Package Coalition.

The U.S. Postal Service gives an update on its finances on Thursday morning. For years, pension costs and decreasing mail volume have caused the postal service to lose money. Now, many businesses are banding together to support the service, forming a lobbying group called the Package Coalition. It includes Amazon and other major e-commerce sellers. They are concerned that calls to reform the USPS could mean price hikes and service cuts. 

Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

(U.S. Edition) The U.S and Japan meet to talk trade for the first time since the U.S. pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re also keeping an eye on the rising inflation in Turkey as the Lira continues to drop. Also, New York City has stopped Uber and Lyft in its tracks there, halting permits for a year due to concerns about traffic. Today's show is sponsored by Avast ( and Indeed ( (08/09/2018)

A new symbol of women’s rights is turning up at protests from Latin America to the British Isles and across the US. The scarlet cloak and white bonnet outfit from “The Handmaid’s Tale” is being worn by women rallying for abortion rights and fighting against policies and politicians seeking to restrict those rights.

U.S.-Japan trade talks open today in Washington

Aug 9, 2018

Japan trade talks are set to open today in Washington, D.C. for the first bilateral trade meeting since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year. It’s a high level meeting between Japanese Economic Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Negotiating a free trade agreement and tariffs on Japanese auto exports are expected to top the agenda.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

How to protect yourself from a bad boss

Aug 9, 2018

Even in 2018, there are a lot of people that don't get the fact that bullying is not OK. And when the person doing the bullying is your boss, it can suck the joy out of work, or worse, interfere with your home life, relationships and health. 

The next thing you know, that boss isn’t just dictating work — they’re ruining your life.

This week we’re diving into stories about venture capital. There’s a group of venture capital firms that want to change the world for the better and make money. This is called impact investing. One of the firms working in this space is Impact America Fund, which invests in companies with diverse missions — for instance, a startup that helps African-American stylists sell their own hair extensions. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Impact America Fund founder Kesha Cash about the sometimes complex collision of money and mission in venture capital.

As the trade war rages on, one industry is stuck in the middle of it all: shipping. Up and down the Mississippi River you’ll see lots of farm goods that have been slapped with tariffs. And down in Mississippi tariffs aren't just in the headlines, they’re on a lot of people's minds since so much local business is connected to agriculture and trading on the river. To give us an update, Kai Ryssdal called up Austin Golding, president of Golding Barge, for some insight on how business has changed with the tariffs. The following is an edited transcript.

All tariff pain is local

Aug 8, 2018

Another $16 billion of tariffs on imports from China will take effect in a couple weeks — Aug. 23 to be precise. That announcement came from office of the U.S. Trade Representative yesterday. Semiconductors and various plastics are on the list. The reaction from China was swift and predictable in this tit-for-tat thing we've got going on. China promptly said I see you and I match you — $16 billion in tariffs on U.S. products. So far, the macro effect of these tariffs on, say, GDP, prices or jobs has been minimal.

The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for its use of a nerve agent in an attempt to kill a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

The State Department says Wednesday the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March.

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the attack, which the Kremlin vehemently denies.

If you have a Chase credit card — and there are tens of millions of you out there — you may have received an email asking you to “sign into Chase Credit Journey now to review your credit score and a complete history of your recent alerts.” That’s right, Chase wants you to “journey” through your credit history. For free. And Chase isn’t the only one.

(Markets Edition) The Trump administration might try to deny citizenship to people who've received welfare, help from social services, welfare, and coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Its reasoning? This notion that immigrants are a drain on health services. But we'll look at a some new data showing immigrants actually use them at a lower rate than people born in the U.S. Afterwards, we'll discuss Elon Musk's plans to potentially take Tesla off the public stock market, and then we'll explore how open office floorplans might actually lead to less interaction among co-workers.

Immigrants make up roughly 12 percent of the population in this country, but account for just 8.6 percent of heath care expenditures, according to a report in the International Journal of Health Services. Researchers at Harvard and Tufts universities combed through 18 years of studies on the subject, and found several reasons for the gap. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

President Donald Trump sent off a barrage of tweets this weekend, questioning, among other things, the Russia collusion investigation and the intelligence of Lebron James. In other words, it was a typical weekend. But lost in the mix were two tweets about economics.

Trump said his tariffs will allow us to pay down “large amounts” of the $21 trillion debt. Is that possible? Could tariffs raise enough revenue to substantially reduce the debt?

Why Elon Musk wants to take Tesla private

Aug 8, 2018

Elon Musk set the internet and stocks a flurry on Tuesday after tweeting he was thinking of taking Tesla private. It's far from a done deal, but if it does move forward, Tesla would be the largest company ever to go from public to private.

Why taking a sunflower selfie this year might cost you

Aug 8, 2018

If you're a fan of Instagram, you’ve probably seen the shot — a person stands waist deep in sunflowers, with a wistful look on their face. Maybe they include some inspirational words in the caption about enjoying the moment or living in the light.

It’s called a sunflower selfie.

Handling a toxic workplace

Aug 8, 2018

(U.S. Edition) On Twitter, CEO Elon Musk said he might turn Twitter from a publicly traded company into a private one. We'll look at what exactly Musk would gain from this move. Afterwards, we'll discuss news that the U.S. will impose its latest round of tariffs against China in about two weeks, and then we'll chat with organizational psychologist Karlyn Borysenko about some tips for dealing with horrible bosses.

You, or someone you know, might work in one of those offices with an open floorplan — the big, fancy rooms with long rows of desks, people sitting next to each other without cubicles. Open offices like these have spread throughout the corporate world. They’re cheaper, but they’re also marketed around the idea that tearing down cubicles promotes collaboration.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…Despite U.S. tariffs enacted six days into July, China’s monthly exports rose more than expected. We’ll dissect how America’s tit-for-tat trade spat with the country could impact the economy in the second half of the year. Then, Malaysia’s former prime minster had pleaded not guilty to new charges of money laundering brought against him on Wednesday.

Tips for how to handle a toxic workplace

Aug 8, 2018

In the light of the #MeToo movement, we're taking a look at abusive behavior in the workplace — not just sexual harassment, but incidents that involve bosses who are aggressive and bully their employees. 

Venture capital: The billion-dollar fund

Aug 8, 2018

The Japanese multinational SoftBank Group launched its $98 billion VisionFund last year. Since then, it's dramatically changed the landscape in tech and venture capital. The fund has taken a majority stake in Uber, poured billions into WeWork, Nvidia, DoorDash, Slack and the dog walking startup Wag. SoftBank's influence is so big, it's pushing other venture capital companies to raise more money. Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley's best-known firms, is reportedly trying to raise more than $12 billion in new capital just to keep up.

The promise and reality of Google Fiber

Aug 7, 2018

If smiling politicians were a barometer, the January 2015 press

The U.S. government has always been wary of immigrants who might be a drain on the economy, but soon even legal immigrants who’ve enrolled in Obamacare could be disqualified from citizenship if proposed new rules take effect.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why big companies are buying up their own stocks

Aug 7, 2018

Analysts at Goldman Sachs say S&P 500 companies are on a shopping spree, buying up shares of their own stocks. In a letter to clients this month, Goldman projected that by the end of the year, those stock buybacks will total $1 trillion, an all-time high, according to Bloomberg.

One reason companies buy back stock: it takes some of their shares off the market, making each one more valuable.