Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

12/19/2017: Congress eyes the third rail

Dec 19, 2017

“Third-rail programs,” or those you usually just don’t touch — benefits for low- and middle-income Americans like Medicare, disability benefits and Social Security — will be on the chopping block in 2018. With the tax plan all but passed, Congress will be faced with the question: cut programs or raise more money to pay for them? Plus, we take closer look at the president’s oeuvre of tweets and what they’ve led the world to believe about the American economy. And the world’s most polluting nation, China, is starting a carbon market to lower its emissions.

House passes massive tax package; Senate to vote next

Dec 19, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jubilant Republicans pushed on Tuesday to the verge of the most sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws in more than three decades, a deeply unpopular bill they insist Americans will learn to love when they see their paychecks in the new year. President Donald Trump cheered the lawmakers on, eager to claim his first major legislative victory.

Tax changes could have big effect on housing

Dec 19, 2017

As Republicans in Congress move toward final votes on their tax package, housing economists, realtors, home builders and mortgage bankers are trying to anticipate the likely effects on the industry going forward.

Key changes  that could affect home sales and home ownership include: 

46: With Gates' power comes Gates' responsibility

Dec 19, 2017

In 2006, Microsoft founder Bill Gates told USA Today that "with great wealth comes great responsibility, a responsibility to give back t

(Markets Edition) House Republicans have released an $81 billion disaster relief package aimed at helping regions that need highway repairs and flood prevention. But on today's show, we'll look at one potential caveat here: this package might be attached to a spending bill that Democrats would have to agree to in order to avoid a government shutdown. Afterwards, we'll talk to economist David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds, about why he thinks BOTH the right and left are wrong about some aspects of the tax overhaul and the U.S. economy.

Sean Crawford talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal-Register.

(U.S. Edition) As Congress gears up to pass the GOP tax overhaul this week, we'll analyze some of the potential drawbacks. Key components of the bill could end up leading to decreased home ownership among younger households and reduce the incentive for companies to subsidize their employees' commuting expenses. Plus: We look at how recess — yes, that 10-20 minute or so break kids have at school — might help children develop the skills it takes to succeed on the job market. 

The Spanish Christmas Lottery is one of the world’s largest lottery draws. It’s celebrated every Dec. 22, with a payout of more than 2 billion euros. There are scores of grand prizes – thousands of people cash in on some kind of winning ticket each year. The lottery – commonly referred to as El Gordo for its large sum – dates back to the 18th century, when King Carlos III brought the idea from Naples, and it has been celebrated every year since 1812 – even through the country’s civil war.

How recess could make students better job candidates

Dec 19, 2017

Those short play breaks that kids have in school don't just improve their skill at hopscotch — there's evidence that recess can actually help with social skills like collaboration and improve focus in the classroom. 

While some schools have cut back on recess to make more time for standardized test prep, states like Florida and Rhode Island have been pushing back by implementing laws to make sure students get enough time for free play. 

What will the holidays look like in 2030?

Dec 19, 2017

What will shopping, cooking, and gathering with friends and family look like in 2030? We dreamed about what the future of the holidays might look like.

1. Our ovens will be smart — and our toilets will be even smarter

Think "Jetsons" appliances, but a little more subdued on the outside, said Rebecca Chesney, research director of the Food Future Lab, which is part of Institute for the Future, a futurist think tank.

Republicans on their way to the first big victory of the Trump administration keep talking about how many winners there are under their negotiated tax bill.  But the likely losers? Commuters, who have their parking, transit or bicycling subsidized by their companies. The new tax plan eliminates the incentive for private employers to continue offering commuting perks.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service …The rags-to-riches South African company Steinhoff, which owns American chain Mattress Firm, has seen its share price plunge 80 percent after revelations of accounting irregularities. Today, lenders might decide whether to save the company or force it to sell all of its assets. Then, one of London’s biggest boardroom battles in years reaches a climax today as shareholders vote on the future  of London Stock Exchange chairman Donald Brydon.

Calling for a new way to fund startups

Dec 19, 2017

Chamath Palihapitiya is a former executive at Facebook.  He’s also a competitive poker player and one of the owners of the basketball team the Golden State Warriors. And he’s the founder and CEO of Social Capital, a venture capital firm he started in 2011.  

The Source Code: Chamath Palihapitiya

Dec 19, 2017

Social Capital CEO and former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya had a long and winding conversation with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood — they talked about his goals for Social Capital, the need for more diversity in venture capital world, and why he wants to change how tech companies go public.

You can listen to the entire interview in the audio player above, as part of "The Source Code." 

Social Capital is a venture capital fund founded by Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and professional poker player. He believes more venture capitalists need to use their own money when investing, and not rely on institutional partners such as universities and pension funds. He talks with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what should change in startup investing.

Laura Montero-Stern hates to commute by car, so she was ecstatic when her company — the medical device maker Boston Scientific — set up a bus route from her Boston neighborhood directly to the company’s headquarters 25 miles away in Marlborough.

“You don’t have to deal with traffic or snow. You know, it’s late [at night] or whatever you don’t have to drive in the dark. It’s super easy,” she said.

The bus also has Wi-Fi, morning news shows on the TV and a single-serve coffee machine that makes surprisingly good java.

But instead of physics, we’re talking about tax policy. With the tax bill nearer to reality, states are starting to grapple with the fact that under the new policy, taxpayers won’t be able to deduct as much from their state and local taxes. That means lawmakers are looking to create loopholes by converting non-deductible taxes into deductible taxes. And those are just short-term fixes — we also discuss what the long-term debate might look like.

Starting in January 2018, New Yorkers will be able to take paid leave when they give birth or adopt a new baby, or if a family member becomes ill and needs care.

Five states, plus the District of Columbia, now have laws on the books mandating paid family leave, even as the U.S. remains the only wealthy country in the world that doesn’t have a national requirement.

It’s an issue that seems to be getting more traction at the state level, than federal.

One noticeable different between this White House agenda for national security, and that of the previous two administrations? This one includes zero mention of climate change as a national security threat. That may not mean funding cuts for defense or other programs that deal with climate change. But it does mean the White House is on a different page when it comes to climate risk than several federal agencies.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Want to make a charitable contribution to your state?

Dec 18, 2017

Many people spend many dollars trying to get out of their tax bills by finding loopholes and workarounds. Well, it’s very likely that states are going to be doing the same thing in a year or two. The intent is to lower the burden on their own residents who can no longer deduct as many state and local taxes under the final GOP tax plan. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Why the tax debate won't end this December

Dec 18, 2017

Congress will likely pass a tax bill this week. When that happens a lot of Americans may think that they never want to hear another word about the tax code — that is, if they haven't already come to that conclusion. But in truth, lawmakers and taxpayers are going to be dealing with the ramifications of this bill for the next decade or so. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Steven Dennis, the Senate reporter for Bloomberg, about what that long-term debate might look like. The following is an edited transcription of their conversation. 

Looking out over the 127 acre Bacardi rum plant in Puerto Rico, the smell of molasses floats on the breeze.

"When you're fermenting, you're also producing CO2 and other things with smell," said José Class, Bacardi's manufacturing director. He's responsible for the 500,000 barrels ageing at the facility, worth around $200 million. Class is thankful that Hurricane Maria didn't damage stocks or hurt supplies. "Right now it looks completely different and beautiful, " he said "This really looked like a battlefield."

12/18/2017: The stock market continues to soar

Dec 18, 2017

(Markets Edition) Shortly into the trading day, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were all up. We'll talk to economist Julia Coronado, founder of Macropolicy Perspectives, about whether we can attribute some of this to the likely passage of the GOP's tax bill. Afterwards, we'll look at how in recent weeks, officials in Beijing, China have been evicting tens of thousands of migrant workers from "slums" — buildings deemed to be dangerous or not licensed for habitation.

For many Americans, it's the last week of work before a holiday break. Maybe you've already started making "see you next year!" jokes, maybe you've also started thinking about how you're going to better yourself in the new year.

But have you thought about what it's going to cost?

We're not just talking about resolving to get your budget under control either, although that would certainly qualify. Maybe you want to get healthier. What's that gym membership cost? Maybe you're going to finally learn a second language. Are fancy apps worth it, or should you just get a book?

The last week of December is one of the least productive times of the year. Many workers use their vacation days to spend the time with their family in between Christmas and New Year. Others show up to work and suffer through their holiday hangovers while in the office.

12/18/2017: China's embrace of the global stage

Dec 18, 2017

(U.S. Edition) A power outage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport this weekend led to the cancellation of more than a thousand flights, and not everything is back to normal yet. On today's show, we'll discuss some of the lingering effects. Afterwards, we'll chat with author Shaun Rein about his latest book, "The War for China's Wallet," which examines the diplomatic opportunities China will be able to take advantage of as President Trump looks more toward the United State's domestic issues.

How China is putting the global economy in its wallet

Dec 18, 2017

We've all heard this: China is going to be the key driver of growth in the global economy in the decades ahead of us. That means China is starting to write the rules for companies that want to a slice of the pie, especially as more Chinese consumers start defining the demand for products worldwide.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…South Africa’s governing African National Congress is choosing a new leader. We’ll take you to the region and tell you what the vote means for the languishing economy amid corruption allegations against the incumbent president. Then, cows that text? A look at the latest in wearable tech gadgets farmers are using to help look after their livestock. 

How will technology change war?

Dec 18, 2017

Laser weapons mounted on ships or planes that can silently beam death to enemies. Electromagnetic weapons that direct energy at a target to cause pain, physical damage or destroy electronics. Autonomous lethal weapons that can make decisions about who and when to shoot. These are just some of the technologies that are being developed or are in use on real battlefields.

12/18/2017: What AI means for the future of war

Dec 18, 2017

Some pretty astonishing technology is being developed and used on battlefields today. There are laser weapons that can beam death to enemies and autonomous lethal weapons that can decide when and who to shoot. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Robert Latiff, a former Air Force major general, and a professor at George Mason University, about the future of war.