Sally Helm

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

These tariffs and counter-tariffs from the U.S. and China hearken back to an earlier era of protectionism. Sally Helm from our Planet Money team has the tale of Smoot Hawley.

SALLY HELM, BYLINE: In the Venn diagram of iconic pop culture moments...

Wildfires aren't like other natural disasters. You can't trace a hurricane to the first gust of wind, but you actually can trace your way back to a wildfire's first spark. And sometimes, someone has to pay.

In 2007, the Witch Creek Fire caused billions of dollars worth of damage in Southern California. While the fire was still burning, wildfire investigators showed up on the scene, and traced the flames back to where they began. The results spawned a ten year legal battle over who should pay for the damage.

Two years ago, one of the biggest companies in the world bought a failing hotel in a tiny rural hamlet in upstate New York. That made Planet Money reporter Noel King, curious. She grew up in the town and worked at the hotel as a teenager. Why, she wondered, would a multi-billion-dollar Chinese company invest in her hometown?