economy | KUOW News and Information

economy

Seattleites Have An Easier Time On The Economic Ladder Than Others

Jul 23, 2013

It’s much easier to climb the economic ladder in Seattle than other affluent US cities such as Atlanta. That’s according to a new study by Harvard economists. So what makes Seattle a better place to grow up if you’re born into a low-income household? Ross Reynolds talks with co-author of the study, Nathan Hendren. 

Is The Minimum Wage Too Low?

Jul 18, 2013

Correction 7/24/13:  In the original broadcast of this interview we misstated that Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant advocates a minimum wage of $21.72 an hour. According to her campaign representative Devin Matthews, Sawant is calling for a $15.00 dollar minimum wage. 

A recent economic survey showed it costs over $52,000  for a one parent and one child family to live a modest lifestyle in Seattle. Would raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour bring more people closer to earning a living wage? Or would a $15.00 minimum wage just discourage employers from hiring? Ross Reynolds talks to Felix Salmon, financial reporter for Reuters, about the case for each side, and callers share their opinions on if we should raise the minimum wage.

David Rakoff's book "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel"

David Rakoff's new book comes out this week. It's a novel written in rhyming couplets. In the book, the main character is dying of AIDS. Rakoff wrote it as he himself was dying of cancer. This American Life's Ira Glass was Rakoff's  friend. The two spent some of Rakoff's final days together recording the audiobook version of the novel. In the excerpts Ira plays us today, Rakoff's voice is frail. But his words still convey inexhaustible power.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, July 17:

David C. Robertson's book "Brick by Brick."

What Families Need to Get By in Seattle
A new study by the Economic Policy Institute says that a family of four in Seattle needs at least $70,000 a year to maintain what they call a “modest lifestyle.” What does that look like? We talk with John Burbank of the Economic Opportunity Institute.

The Staying Power Of LEGO
Those colorful little plastic LEGO bricks were first invented in 1958. Fifty-five years later, LEGO is still profitable and growing. But 10 years ago, the company nearly went bankrupt. What turned LEGO around? What can businesses learn from LEGO’s example? We talk with David C. Robertson, author of “Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry.”

Greendays Gardening
Our expert gardening panel knows flowers, native plants and vegetables. Have a question? They offer guidance for your garden every Tuesday. Email your question to Weekday.

How Austerity Kills

Jun 26, 2013
Sanjay Basu, co-author of "The Body Economic."

Based on more than a decade of research on the impact of governmental policy decisions on health, the book "The Body Economic" shows how certain fiscal policies can be lethal. From HIV outbreaks to increases in heart attacks, the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. But by mining data from the Great Depression to the present day, the authors also show how smart policy choices can boost economic growth without human costs.

Sanjay Basu, is a co-author of "The Body Economic," a practicing clinician, and an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist at the Prevention Research Center of Stanford University. Basu talks to Ross Reynolds about how economic policy affects human health.

The Canadian dollar -- affectionately known as the "loonie" -- is dropping in value. 

Nerding Out With Matthew Yglesias

Jun 24, 2013
Matthew Yglesias' book "The Rent is Too Damn High."

  Matthew Yglesias is a business and economics correspondent for Slate Magazine. His latest book is called "The Rent is Too Damn High." He talked with David Hyde about the latest on the economy, politics and immigration.

It’s The Economy, Stupid!

Jun 21, 2013

As the quote by President Bill Clinton goes, one of the highest priorities on everyone's mind is the state of the economy. The International Monetary Fund released its most recent report on the state of the US economy this week. And the Fed says it will start rolling back its stimulus plan soon. So, what does this mean for US economic recovery? Felix Salmon is a financial reporter for Reuters. He explains the latest in economic news.

Are The Rich Undeserving?

May 28, 2013
Leslie McCall's book "Undeserving Rich."

 Do Americans feel that the proper measures are in place to deal with economic inequality in the United States? Ross Reynolds sits down with author Leslie McCall for a conversation about economics in America and her new book, "The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, And Redistribution."

Flickr Photo/bryce_edwards

Budget officials in the city of Seattle delivered some good news yesterday. For the first time since the financial crisis, the city is forecasting a budget surplus.

News From Olympia, David Stockman, Covering Breaking News

Apr 22, 2013
Washington State Capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This Week In Olympia
The legislative session is almost over but lots of issues remain unresolved. Education funding is still up in the air, so is an agreement on a balanced budget.  Jerry Cornfield, reporter and political columnist for the Everett Herald is waiting for answers along with the rest of us.
 

David Stockman Takes The American Economy To The Woodshed
In 1985,  federal budget Director David Stockman was sharply rebuked by his boss, Ronald Reagan, for saying the president’s tax programs were trickle-down programs to help the rich. These days, author David Stockman is taking Ben Bernanke, Wall Street Banks and the Obama administration to the woodshed for printing money, running deficits and leaving the gold standard.
 

The Media’s Boston Bomber Frenzy
CNN went on the air with misinformation about the imminent arrest of suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. The front page of the New York Post identified the wrong men as suspects. Should audiences have any expectations for factual reporting during these fast moving stories? 

Rethinking The Idea Of Money

Apr 18, 2013

In the book "Rethinking Money," economist Bernard Lietaer and journalist Jacqui Dunne trace the beginnings of our monetary system, including its serious problems and hope for the future.

Canada, Culture And Commerce

Apr 17, 2013
Canadian flag
Flickr Photo/Arlo Bates

Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. Film critic Robert Horton reviews what's happening on the silver screen. Then, Michael Parks wraps up the region's recent economic news.

Peter Blair Henry
Courtesy/NYU

A handful of third-world countries have turned themselves around from numerous hardships in the past 30 years: China rose from seemingly hopeless poverty, Mexico bounced back from the Third World Debt Crisis, Brazil overcame hyperinflation. 

It’s estimated that about 8.2 percent of US households don’t use bank accounts. Not only that — 20.1 percent of households are considered “underbanked,” meaning they use bank accounts but still opt for payday loans, check-cashing services and other alternatives. This is according to a recent survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

So why aren’t people using banks? Ross Reynolds talks to some of the un- and underbanked.

Canada, Culture And Commerce

Apr 3, 2013

Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. Everett Herald film critic Robert Horton contemplates "Room 237," a look at the theories about the hidden meaning of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Plus, Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton considers a Puget Sound economy without Boeing and the lessons of the canceled Lake Union Fourth of July fireworks.

KUOW Photo/Derek Wang

It’s 3:00 p.m. on a recent workday, and Buddy Yates sets off on the first leg of his long commute home. He and his guide dog, Palmer, step through the fast-food containers that litter the street on the way to Rainier Avenue South where he will catch his first bus.

The Creative Class: Dismissed?

Mar 25, 2013
Downtown Tacoma
Flickr Photo/Scott Hingst

More than a decade ago, Richard Florida’s best-selling book, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” was a cultural phenomenon. Florida argued that young, educated, single folks would reinvent American cities. Today, Florida's critics say the wealth of the creative class hasn't trickled down to the working class. What’s the evidence? Some places, like Tacoma, used Richard Florida’s ideas as a blueprint for reinventing their downtown areas. What was the outcome? We’ll explore these ideas with journalist and geographer Joel Kotkin and Tacoma arts administrator Amy McBride.

Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor

Boeing has announced it will lay off 800 machinists in the Puget Sound area this year. The company says workforce needs on two of its newest jet programs have been reduced.

Is It Time To End Oil Subsidies?

Mar 21, 2013
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore

While policymakers debate the government’s budget, the Brookings Institute, a private nonprofit research organization, decided to host their own brainstorming session. They asked experts from all different fields to submit ideas for responsible deficit reduction.

One expert, Harvard professor Joseph Aldy, drafted a proposal eliminating oil and gas tax subsidies. A move Aldy estimates would save the US government $41 billion over 10 years.

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

The Power Of Emerging Economies

Mar 19, 2013
Freight shipment
Flickr Photo/Evan Leeson

In 2010, emerging economies accounted for almost 40 percent of the world's gross domestic product — twice as much as they did in 1990. Today, one in four Fortune 500 firms comes from emerging markets. How far can growth carry nations out of poverty and toward a strong economic foundation? We hear what the economic successes of developing countries can teach the developed world from Peter Blair Henry of NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Ask Americans to point out Cyprus, and most would have to spin a globe several times before noticing the small island nation, east of Greece and south of Turkey.

But whether or not you have ever given a thought to the 1.1 million people living there under the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus might send a chill up your spine this week.

Flickr Photo/Jiuck

You've heard the phrase, "It's not personal, it's business." But as people start to share everything from their bedroom to their dog it can, and often is both. So what is the sharing economy? A personal exchange of goods and services, sometimes for free, sometimes for money.

Think couch surfing, where homeowners allow people to sleep on their couch or in their spare bedroom for free. Or AirBnB where you can rent out your house or apartment. Or the Phinney Neighborhood Association's tool library that allows you to borrow tools without a fee. Or new services that allow you to rent out your car. There is even a co-op to share dogs. Ross Reynolds talks to listeners about their experiences, both good and bad, in this new sharing economy.

Flickr Photo/Ryan Sitzman

Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. And it turns out Canada doesn’t want a coal port either. Then, film critic Robert Horton asks the question: What does it mean when something is “directed” in a movie? Also, Seattle Times economy columnist Jon Talton explores how the sequester cuts will affect our local economy.   

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Canadian flag
Flickr Photo/Arlo Bates

Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest from Canada. Film critic Robert Horton has a look at what's happening at the movies. Then, Michele Matassa Flores wraps up the region's recent economic news.

The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.

They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.

Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?

Why Are Used Cars So Valuable?

Feb 28, 2013
Used car sales
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Right now is a terrible time to buy a used car. But it’s an excellent time to sell a used car, especially here in Seattle. Sales of new cars plunged between 2008 and 2010, and that’s caused a shortage of used cars. According to Forbes, Seattle is the second worst city in the country to buy a used car. So why here? We'll get some answers from Micheline Maynard. She covers business and the automobile industry for Forbes and other publications.

As the date of the sequestration nears, fingers continue to get pointed, but what if political infighting is really the fault of the constituents? Ross Reynolds talks with New York Times Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt about why he thinks it is the constituents that are to blame for the looming across-the-board budget cuts.

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