economy

A monster storm flooded parts of the biggest city in America this week. Millions of people are still without power.

But in the long run — even in the medium run — New York (and New Jersey!) will recover. And for the U.S. economy as a whole, this disaster will barely be a blip.

This is largely because there are countless backup plans hiding everywhere in our economy. On today's show, a flooded grocery store reveals safety nets that are usually hidden but, at moments like these, are suddenly made visible.

Are The Rich Taxed Enough?

Oct 30, 2012

Tax policy has been a divisive theme throughout the presidential campaign. At the core of the debate are divergent philosophies about what the economy needs — and how to get it.

In this Oxford-style debate from Intelligence Squared U.S., a panel of experts dissects the motion "The Rich Are Taxed Enough." The term "enough," in this case, is determined by three factors: fairness, sufficiency and efficiency.

The percentage of Americans working in manufacturing fell under President Reagan. It also fell under Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama (respectively).

Which is to say, the decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. economy is not about who is president or what his policies are. It's the result of long-running, irreversible, historical factors (read: technology and globalization).

Everywhere you look right now, it seems like American symphony orchestras are fighting for their lives — strikes, lockouts, bankruptcy. Perhaps the biggest example is the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, which is just coming out of its own bankruptcy. Tonight, its new 37-year-old music director takes the podium as the venerable orchestra begins a reboot.

It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.

When former General Electric CEO Jack Welch tweeted on Friday that the drop in the unemployment rate last month was "unbelievable" and that President Obama and his campaign aides "will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers," he aligned himself with conspiracy theorists who were asking if some sort of "October surprise" had been pulled.

Dante Chinni is the director of Patchwork Nation, which uses demographic, voting and cultural data to study communities. It is part of the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Jefferson Institute, which teamed with NPR to examine what can be learned about different communities through online text analysis. The project had Knight Foundation funding.


Since the beginning of the Great Recession, unemployment has driven much of the national conversation, and with good reason.

With a new report showing the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing. But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.

The truth is, each party could find evidence to support either a positive or negative spin on the labor market, which is recovering — yet weak.

To become president and to be re-elected president takes much luck (among other factors, like money and political skill.) And President Obama appears to be one of the most fortunate presidents in recent memory with the release of the latest employment report.

The news that the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August immediately led some of President Obama's critics to charge the the books had been cooked to help his reelection campaign.

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