Economy

Financial and business news

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In this new year, beer brewers are enjoying a temporary excise tax break that was signed into federal law as 2017 was winding down.

The job market is strong right now, with a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, and President Trump knows it. On Monday, he twice bragged about the latest jobs report, but he focused in on minorities in particular.

In the morning, he did it on Twitter, citing that black unemployment is "the lowest ever recorded in our country." And he jabbed: "Dems did nothing for you but get your vote!"

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Citing the popularity of Apple's phones and tablets among children and teenagers, two large investors say the company should do more to help parents protect their kids from the risks of digital addiction and the side effects of social media.

Together, California's teacher pension fund, or CalSTRS, and the Jana Partners investment group own more than $2 billion in Apple stock. In a letter to the tech giant's board, they're calling on Apple to give parents options beyond a "binary" system in which tools and functions are either freely available or closed off.

The expansion of Medicaid helps rural hospitals stay afloat in states like Colorado, which added 400,000 people to the health insurance program under the Affordable Care Act.

Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid were about 6 times less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states, according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study was published Monday in the January edition of the journal Health Affairs.

Income inequality is rising. Over the past few decades, the rich have seen huge gains, while incomes for the middle class and the poor have largely stagnated.

Lots of people have ideas for how to get middle-class incomes growing again. On today's show: Branko Milanovic, one of the most insightful economists we know on this subject, says a lot of those ideas won't be that helpful in the 21st-century economy. He has some surprising ideas about what will.

Bitcoin turned eight years old this month, but many people are only just now learning about the cryptocurrency.

Picasso And The Panama Papers

Jan 8, 2018

The world art trade generates about $30 billion a year. And more than half of all art sales are private and often secret. But the release of the Panama Papers — more than 11 million documents leaked from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — enabled journalists to peek behind the curtain of this secretive world.

What they found were masterpieces held in warehouses, never to be seen by the public … dealers with deep pockets who use the market to move billions … and a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek.

Pfizer has announced plans to end its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The pharmaceutical giant explained its decision, which will entail roughly 300 layoffs, as a move to better position itself "to bring new therapies to patients who need them."

A lot of questions spring to mind on arriving at the construction site for a full-scale Chinese replica of the Titanic:

Why is this being built in the remote countryside, 1,000 miles from the sea?

Why is this being built?

And simply: Why?

The infomercial the developer screens for visitors at the site in the town of Daying, Sichuan Province, leaves these questions unanswered.

Updated at 7:40 a.m. ET

The BBC's China editor, Carrie Gracie, a 30-year veteran of the network, has abruptly resigned her job in the Beijing bureau, accusing the network of promulgating a gender pay gap.

Gracie, who is fluent in Mandarin, said she stepped down as editor in China last week but would remain with the BBC, returning to her former post in the television newsroom in London "where I expect to be paid equally," she wrote in an open letter published in her blog.

If you're like most Americans, you don't have a 529 college savings plan.

If you're like most Americans, you don't even know what it is.

All the more reason to keep reading.

That's because, with the new tax law, Republicans have made important changes to 529 plans that will affect millions of taxpayers, not just the ones saving for college. Before that news, though, a quick primer.

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Last night at the Golden Globes, it was all about women working in Hollywood and elsewhere. The host of the awards show, Seth Meyers, really set the tone in his monologue.

(SOUNDBITE OF 75TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS CEREMONY)

When The Cash Register Doesn't Take Cash

Jan 8, 2018

General manager Erica Ritchie smiled politely before breaking the news to the young woman with a $10 bill in her hand.

"We're actually cashless," said Ritchie inside Bluestone Lane, a bright cafe in the shadow of City Hall in downtown Philadelphia.

"Oh," said the young woman, a bit sheepishly, before handing over a credit card to pay for her small coffee.

Only a few minutes into Sunday night's Golden Globes red-carpet broadcast on E!, Debra Messing explained to host Giuliana Rancic why nearly all the women were wearing black. (The men were, too, but they always do that.) Messing explained that it was part of the Time's Up initiative, which supports women who suffer from sexual harassment and assault — and not just in Hollywood. She went on to call out the recent departure from E!

The reputation of the Golden Globes is that they're the Oscars' rowdier, tipsier, weirder cousin — sometimes refreshingly so. And while awards season is always the most intense time of year for celebrity fashion, this year the allegations — and, in some cases, admissions — of sexual harassment and assault added a far more serious layer of conversation. Some women said in advance that they would wear black to convey their support for people who have reported abuse.

The Real Molly Bloom

Jan 7, 2018

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Now to Hollywood, where the first major awards ceremony of the season, the Golden Globes, is being held tonight. For weeks now, it's been obvious that the evening will reckon some way or another with one of the major stories of the past year.

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The Golden Globes And #MeToo

Jan 7, 2018

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Pennsylvania Coal Mine To Close

Jan 7, 2018

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If you hear the word "millennial" and immediately think of an entitled 20-something, scrolling through Instagram and munching on avocado toast — Michael Hobbes wants to have a word with you.

"There's really very little evidence that millennials are any more spoiled or any more entitled than any generation of young people that came before," he says. "But there is a mountain of evidence that things are objectively harder for us."

The film Molly's Game (up for two Golden Globes on Sunday) is based on a memoir by Molly Bloom, an Olympic-level skier whose athletic career ended in a dramatic wipe-out. While looking for something to occupy her time before law school, Bloom stumbled onto the world of underground, high-stakes celebrity poker. Eventually, she found herself in the sights of U.S. prosecutors, who targeted her for her role in organizing illegal games.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

The 2018 Golden Globe Awards aired Sunday night on NBC. Below is the list of the winners and nominees. (Winners are in bold italics.)

Best motion picture — drama

Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me By Your Name

Best motion picture — musical or comedy

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to highlight the historic drop in the unemployment rate among African-Americans, a day after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the rate fell below 7 percent for the month of December — the lowest mark for black Americans since the bureau began tracking the data in the early 1970s.

"The African American unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest rate in 45 years. I am so happy about this News! And, in the Washington Post (of all places), headline states, 'Trumps first year jobs numbers were very, very good.' "

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Support For Marijuana In Coal Country

Jan 6, 2018

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Russia And Venezuela Plan Cryptocurrencies

Jan 6, 2018

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