Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

Botox is a multi-billion dollar, potentially deadly monopoly

Oct 31, 2017

Botox is a $2.8 billion revenue stream for the pharmaceutical giant Allergan, and that number could grow closer to $4 billion by 2020. Botox is also the end user product of the neurotoxin Clostridium botulinum, a substance so lethal that the U.S. government puts safeguards on the Botox production process. The cost of these security measures combined with the scientific difficulty of producing Botox have basically give Allergan a monopoly on the drug.

10/31/2017: Spider silk, the latest fashion trend

Oct 31, 2017

(Markets Edition) Republicans are planning to turn their tax blueprint into an actual plan tomorrow, but not everyone is on board with it. On today's show, we'll recap some of the concerns key lawmakers and groups have. Republican Senator Susan Collins has pushed back against the removal of the estate tax rate, while the National Association of Home Builders has issue with the GOP's plan for the mortgage interest rate. Afterwards, we'll discuss Facebook's upcoming testimony in front of Congress as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Close to 2 million girls were born in the United States in 2002. They are turning 15 now and some of them are celebrating with a quinceañera party, the big, elaborate, rite of passage usually celebrated by Latina girls.

The quinceañera industry in the U.S. is around a billion dollars and toy manufacturer Mattel is jumping in with a Barbie.

10/31/2017: A riskier world to live in?

Oct 31, 2017

(U.S. Edition) As Robert Mueller's Russia investigation unfolds, we'll chat with Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer about what this means for global political risk. Afterwards, we'll discuss how Republicans plan to pay for their proposed tax plan, which may include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Then to cap off today's show, we'll look at how FEMA deals with post-disaster contracts amid Puerto Rico's decision to cancel a $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long will brief Senators today on his agency’s response to the 2017 hurricane season. One of FEMA’s major roles is reimbursing cities and states as they pay to get things working again — things like electricity. As Puerto Rico has cancelled its controversial $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island’s grid, Marketplace’s Jed Kim looks at what FEMA requires for post-disaster contracts.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

With all the focus on the Republican tax plan due out this week, we take a look at some of the ways they may pay for it: cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. The Republicans’ budget blueprint calls for funding reductions to both programs. What might that mean for low-income people and seniors who depend on these health care programs? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Spider silk, the newest fabric for military uniforms

Oct 31, 2017

If you’re a fan of superheroes, you know the story.

Boy meets spider. Spider bites boy. Boy designs uber-cool spider suit. Now, scientists are moving from the realm of comics to reality to develop real-life uses for spider silk.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Eurozone growth figures were released today, showing a mixed bag. But what about Europe's problem child Greece? The author of "Greekonomics" explains why things are looking up. Afterwards, President Trump heads to Asia on Friday. Ahead of his visit to the region, Taiwan announced today it would increase its military budget. We look at why the country is spending more on military might to woo President Trump. Then, New Zealand announced it would ban foreigners from buying property.

Can technology make the census more accurate?

Oct 31, 2017

Every 10 years, the government tries to count up everyone living in the U.S. The next census is in 2020. The goal is to get an idea of the American population through data about things like race, how many people live in a household and their ages. The federal government uses these numbers to allocate $600 billion in funding, local politicians use them to determine what a community needs, and businesses use them to decide what to invest in and where to operate.

The next census is coming up in 2020, when the government will set out to count every single person living in the U.S. It’s a system that helps determine how federal money gets spent and who and where businesses are investing. But some populations are harder to count than others, even as the Census Bureau moves more of their data collection online. The Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York created an interactive map highlighting those populations.

10/30/2017: Prosecutors love a paper trail…

Oct 30, 2017

...and paying taxes on things (or not paying taxes on things) always leaves one. That’s probably why special counsel Robert Mueller is starting with indictments of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, on charges including funneling money through overseas shell companies. And lucky for us, tax evasion and money laundering are the kind of things we talk about every day.

It's sign up season for the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment starts on Wednesday. Government numbers out today show that almost half of the population live in places where they can only choose from three or fewer insurers. Not much competition, so you’d expect premiums to be high. But in other places, there’s seven, eight or even 10 insurers in the market, and premiums have still gone up considerably. Why exactly? Seems this year insurers aren’t necessarily looking at each other to set premium prices.  

The decision about the new Federal Reserve chair is coming soon

Oct 30, 2017

President Donald Trump is expected to announce a new Federal Reserve chair this Thursday. Jerome "Jay" Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve's board, is seen by many as the leading candidate for the job. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Victoria Guida from Politico about the incumbent chair, Janet Yellen, her record and her possible successor. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Robert Mueller’s special counsel was tasked with “a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” including any links or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.  And yet, the indictments announced today against former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates don’t seem to have much to do with that at all. In fact, they’re mostly financial crimes.

The National Association of Home Builders opposes the Republican tax bill

Oct 30, 2017

The big debate over the Republican tax bill is looming. According to Republican leaders in the House, the tax bill will be released Wednesday. Once it's out things are going to get interesting because we'll learn whose interests are on the line, who is for and who is against. But some opinions are already being voiced. The National Association of Home Builders has said it will "actively oppose" this bill. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Jerry Howard, the group's CEO, about the NAHB's thoughts on the tax bill. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

How much money is there in the world?

Oct 30, 2017

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands? What do you wonder?

Why accountants can't wait for the new tax bill

Oct 30, 2017

Last year, when Hollywood released a big-budget thriller starring Ben Affleck as an accountant turned ruthless killer, Kim Dula was all over it.

"I actually watched it twice," she said. First she watched with her husband, then she made her kids watch it. "And I said, 'See — your mom really isn't just a dorky CPA.'"

Uber, United Airlines, Chick-fil-A, American Airlines. These companies and many, many more have been scrutinized and criticized by consumers and consumer advocates, boycotted or reprimanded for various misdeeds or sociopolitical disagreements.

In the age of the internet, a viral Twitter complaint, a news report or a well placed critique from a notable voice can land a business in hot water, scrambling to figure out a way not to let bad press hurt it's bottom line. Sometimes that means a public apology, other times a sale, or an attempt to ride out negative publicity.

(Markets Edition) On today's show, we'll discuss the state of the housing sector and the new frontrunner for the Fed chair: Jerome Powell, a current member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. How do the markets feel about this candidate? Pretty good, given that he's likely to follow Janet Yellen's policies. Afterwards, we'll hear from Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, about taking our agency back from big tech companies. And finally, we'll look at Mattel's decision to dive into the quinceañera industry by creating its own quinceañera Barbie.

When Susan Fowler found herself on the receiving end of inappropriate chats from her male manager, she documented the exchange and reported him to the company’s human resource department. Fowler, who was at the time an engineer at Uber, thought they would handle the situation. Instead, she was told to either find another team or remain in her current position and risk getting a negative performance review from that manager later on.

Why is the internet so sick?

Oct 30, 2017

This week Facebook, Google and Twitter are set to appear in front of Congress. All three companies have admitted Russian entities bought ads on their sites in an effort to skew the U.S. presidential vote. That's just one symptom among many that has led the Mozilla Foundation to warn that the internet has become dangerously sick. The foundation is currently soliciting feedback on the first version of its annual Internet Health Report, which looks at things like the web’s openness, inclusivity and safety.

Expat tax burden could shift

Oct 30, 2017

Americans overseas pay income taxes both in the U.S. and in the countries where they work. Now lawmakers could lighten the burden for individuals. As the tax overhaul is drafted in Washington, a range of complaints about expat taxes will be considered. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

10/30/2017: The great fish escape

Oct 30, 2017

(U.S. Edition) We may get details on the House bill to overhaul taxes as soon as Wednesday. One big component of this measure: how U.S. corporations are taxed on overseas earnings. We'll take a look at how America's tax system differs from most other countries, which have a territorial system in place. Afterwards, we'll discuss how a cut in Obamacare ad dollars may lead to lower enrollment, and then cap off today's show by checking out Washington state's fishing woes.

With Obamacare ad dollars slashed, expect lower enrollment

Oct 30, 2017

Want to know what happens when you cut ad spending for Obamacare? Just ask Kentucky. When the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges first went online, Kentucky had a Democratic governor. But a year later, Kentucky elected a Republican governor, who quickly slashed the ad budget.

Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, studied how the drop in advertising affected the Kentucky exchange. There were “450,000 fewer page views per week on the website,” she said.

The Hope Island fish farm floats in a sheltered bay off Washington state’s Puget Sound. Giant rectangular nets hold thousands of fish, though it’s difficult to see them till they jump.

“This site’s very brackish water,” said Tom Glaspie, the site manager. “Sometimes it's hard to see the fish inside here.”

Washington state is home to one of the biggest farmed salmon industries in the country. But, since the escape of at least 150,000 Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound this August, fish farm opponents have renewed their calls for putting an end to aquaculture in state waters.

10/30/2017: What's making the internet sick?

Oct 30, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... Europe's largest bank, HSBC, posted quarterly profits that were up five-fold from the same time last year. What's behind the rise? Afterwards, as Google, Facebook and Twitter head to Congress this week, the Mozilla Foundation warns that the internet is becoming increasingly "unhealthy." Executive Director Mark Surman gives an overview of this very sick patient. Then, Macedonia’s capital Skopje has undergone an estimated $600 million architectural transformation to attract foreign visitors.

Companies are required to file equal employment opportunity reports with the government. But few make that information public. Reporters at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX looked into how diversity stacks up in Silicon Valley. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with reporter Will Evans about why hard data on diversity in tech remains a bit of a mystery.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Watch the tenth Illinois Issues forum on the state budget and Illinois' financial future in Carbondale, Illinois. The forum is hosted by NPR Illinois and WSIU Radio with support provided by AARP. 

What will the GOP tax plan look like?

Oct 27, 2017

David Gura of Bloomberg and Sheelah Kolhatkar of The New Yorker join us to discuss the week’s business and economic news. Despite economists' predictions of the GDP falling, there was economic growth of 3 percent last quarter — we breakdown exactly this means. We also discuss the hurdles the GOP tax plan will have to jump before it's unveiled Wednesday. Plus, we touch on President Donald Trump’s upcoming Fed chair appointment.  

Hey! Hands off my deduction

Oct 27, 2017

The GOP is expected to unveil its long-awaited tax plan on November 1, and then the real battle will begin over how it will be paid for. And nearly every deduction is on the line. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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