Wealth & Poverty

Ways to Connect

Episode 562: A Mall Divided

Apr 6, 2016

Note: This episode originally ran in August 2014.

The Westfield Valley Fair Mall in California is like any other mall, except for one thing: Half of it is in the city of San Jose, and the other half is in the city of Santa Clara. The boundary line runs right through the mall.

Episode 693: Unpayable

Apr 1, 2016

Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but not one of the United States. And this limbo status has brought a world of economic trouble.

Today on the show, the peculiar Puerto Rican debt crisis explained.

Along the way, we help an adorable mom sort out what's left of her investments in her own government, we meet a chemist who benefited from the boom, and hear how it all ties in with a dramatic jail heist.

Thousands To Lose Food Stamps In Georgia

Apr 1, 2016
Ryan McGuire / Pexel

As many as 5,700 metro Atlanta residents could lose their food stamps, part of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, starting today because of a requirement that benefits recipients have jobs.

For workers who want a raise, this was an encouraging week, with minimum-wage legislation gaining momentum and employers paying more across the board.

In fact, the Service Employees International Union labeled this "a historic week." Here's what happened on the wage front in recent days:

The U.S. economy gained 215,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly report released Friday. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5 percent, up from 4.9 percent in the month before.

"The increase in the unemployment rate came because we had more people looking for work," economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services tells our Newscast unit.

Note: This episode originally ran in September 2012 with an update in December 2012.

The story picks up several months after we set up a our shell companies — Unbeliezable, Inc., in Belize, and Delawho? in Delaware.

Trevor Young / GPB

President Obama is in Atlanta today to speak at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. Although the rise of opioid abuse is a national problem, opioid addiction is especially critical in this state, where drug-related deaths increased by 10 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Episode 692: The Secret Life Of Line 24

Mar 25, 2016

A lot of the stuff on IRS form 1040 — the basic tax form — is straightforward enough. But there are a few lines that you look at and say: What is that? And how did it get on my tax form?

Music: "Starlight." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook

Episode 691: The Great Unbundling

Mar 23, 2016

There's a revolution underway in the world of cable TV--more and more people are getting rid of it. And there are some unforeseen consequences when we cut the cord and go our separate ways. Today on the show, we track the fate of channel 9409.

Music: "One Simple Push" and "Simply Irresistible." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook

Episode 690: All In

Mar 18, 2016

At big money poker tournaments, what you see on TV is just the surface of things. There's a game going on behind the game. We talk to a professional poker player who lost on the first day of a major tournament--then went on to get the biggest payout of his life.

Music: Sarah Chernoff's "Turn The Lights On." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Note: This episode originally ran in July 2012.

In this show, we dive deep into the world of offshore companies and bank accounts. We set up our own company in a tax haven and we find the easiest place to register a business anonymously.

Federal Reserve policymakers said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is chugging along at a decent pace with an improving job market.

Still, they fear risks from "global economic and financial developments."

So given that balance of good news and growing risks, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to take no action on the target range for the federal funds rate at the close of its two-day meeting.

In this episode, we follow a debt default drama to its bitter end. Argentina decided that it could take on the world--it defaulted on its loans, dug in its heels and took a hard line against its lenders. The country would not pay what it was owed. Lenders blinked. Victory seemed near. But a group of hedge funds had a different plan. They took the entire country to court.

Note: This episode originally ran in November 2012.

One day in the early 1990s, a man walked into the U.S. embassy in Ecuador. He said he had information somebody would want to hear — information on how to go after some of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.

Episode 688: Brilliant vs. Boring

Mar 4, 2016

In 2006, Warren Buffett posed a challenge. He bet that the smartest hedge fund managers out there couldn't beat the world's simplest, most brainless investment. In this show, we tell you who's winning.

For more on the bet, see Long Bets.

Many Americans tell pollsters and politicians that they're angry. Why?

At least part of the answer might be tucked inside the February jobs report, released Friday by the Labor Department. Consider this:

The U.S. economy gained 242,000 jobs in February while average wages dropped slightly, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

The report indicates stronger job growth than expected, and an improvement over the previous month. January's count of 151,000 new jobs — far lower than had been anticipated — was revised upward, to 172,000. And the job gains for December were also revised upward, from 262,000 to 271,000.

Episode 687: Buy This Passport

Mar 2, 2016

Most of us don't think of citizenship as a product. It's something more: It's part of who you are. In this show, we look at what happens when citizenship goes up for sale. We visit the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, where you can buy a passport without ever setting foot in the country.

Episode 686: If Elected President

Feb 26, 2016

Candidates can promise almost anything in a presidential campaign: Free puppies! Everyone gets a jet pack! A lot of it won't actually happen. But today, we put practical concerns aside, and imagine a world in which the candidates' promises actually come true. A world where college is free, and there's no more IRS.

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