Wealth & Poverty

Ways to Connect

Episode 698: The Long Way Home

Apr 29, 2016

Most social programs in America work like this: if you qualify for assistance, you get it. Food stamps, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit all have their own criteria. But if you pass the threshold and fill out the application, the help is (supposed to be) yours. With housing though, that's not how it works. There are far more people who qualify than actually receive help. For subsidized housing vouchers, there is often a lottery. And your chances aren't good.

But why? The answer is partly about money and partly about history.

Note: This episode originally ran in November 2012.

In this episode, we consider a world in which everybody is cheating, a world where it has become impossible to succeed unless you can game the regulators: Professional cycling.

Under the leadership of Lance Armstrong, the U.S. Postal Service cycling team was wildly successful, winning the Tour de France for seven consecutive years--from 1999 to 2005.

Planning to squeeze cash out of your house this spring to do some remodeling?

You can relax a little. Interest rates on home equity loans, credit cards and car loans are likely to stay low for a while longer.

That's because the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers ended their meeting Wednesday without raising the benchmark short-term interest rate. If the benchmark had risen, then your borrowing costs probably would have been pointing higher too.

But you should be OK for now.

A Macon Program To Revitalize a Neighborhood Expands

Apr 26, 2016

A program in Macon-Bibb County that pays the down payment for Macon homes is going to expand. The target is the Bealls Hill neighborhood, a place that used to be downtrodden but is now revitalized. Twenty-thousand dollar down payments are provided as Mercer matches Knight Foundation money. So far since 2007, about a third of the project has been bought with this assistance. Now, Historic Macon wants to expand to other businesses who might match that Knight money. GPB's Michael Caputo talked with Ethiel Garlington of Historic Macon about the effort. 

Episode 697: Help Wanted

Apr 22, 2016

When you're an employer looking at a giant stack of resumes, you have to find some way to quickly narrow the field. But how do you do that fairly? And what happens when your good intentions backfire?

Episode 468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers

Apr 20, 2016

We live in a society full of people who are obsessed with making sure that prices are right and supply meets demand. And then there's the live-music business.

Concert tickets are often too cheap and the supply is too limited. Scalpers are the proof: If tickets were more expensive to begin with, or if venues were bigger, scalpers wouldn't be able to charge more than face value. Is there a better way?

Sen. Bernie Sanders says that if he is elected president in November, one of his first acts in office would be to begin breaking up the large financial institutions that pose a grave risk to the economy.

But there's a problem with that idea: It's not clear the president has the legal authority to break up the banks.

"It's not something the president can do. It's not even something the Treasury can do," says Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics.

Episode 696: Class Action

Apr 15, 2016

Can you spot the difference between these tins? It's the basis of a class action — a lawsuit, filed by a few people, on behalf of millions.

Class actions have been around for centuries. But the modern version was created in the 1960s — in part by a young lawyer working on a manual typewriter in the back seat of a car. At the time, class actions were seen as a way to advance the civil rights movement.

Episode 695: Put A Chip On It

Apr 13, 2016

Credit cards and debit cards have tons of safety features. The extra security code on the back. Sometimes your picture. Your signature. That little hologram of a bird that nobody looks at.

But, until recently, there's been a big safety feature missing from credit cards in the U.S.: The chip. It was rolled out to stop fraud in France decades ago. It worked. Every other major economy adopted it, except us. Until now.

Episode 694: The Gun That Wouldn't Shoot

Apr 8, 2016

Colt is an iconic American gun company. It has a proud history of invention. It perfected the revolver before the Civil War. One advertising slogan went, "God created man, Sam Colt made them equal." Big words for a big leap for the gun industry. The company also manufactured the famous M16 rifle for the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The Colt .45 name even inspired a malt liquor.

But by the 1990s, Colt had fallen on hard times. Gun-control activists were on the march. Lawsuits were threatening gun company profits. Colt was facing bankruptcy.

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