NPR Business

Business
4:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

HSBC Critic: Too Big To Indict May Mean Too Big To Exist

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multiyear U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
Edgard Garrido Landov/Reuters

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:01 pm

Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.

There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.

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It's All Politics
10:45 am
Thu December 13, 2012

For Business Owners, Higher Taxes Could Mean Fewer New Hires — Or More

President Obama examines a K'NEX roller coaster on Nov. 30 at a Hatfield, Pa., factory that makes the toys. During the visit, Obama spoke about the economy, the middle class and his plan to raise taxes on top wage earners.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 12:25 pm

Every time President Obama explains why he wants to increase taxes on the richest 2 percent, Republicans have a ready answer: Most small business owners file their taxes as individuals, and a rate hike would discourage them from hiring new workers.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week, Wholesale Prices Dropped In November

At a job fair in New York City earlier this year, a man waited for an interview. Economists say the job market is slowly improving, and the latest data on jobless claims seem to support that analysis.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

There were 343,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 29,000 from the week before, according to the Employment and Training Administration.

At that level, claims were the lowest they'd been since the first week of October's 342,000.

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Business
4:53 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Examining The Health Savings Account Deduction

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

We continue with our series: The 12 Days of Tax Deductions. It's Morning Edition's way of making sense of the jungle of tax deductions, credits and breaks that political leaders are sorting through as they try to wrestle more revenue out of the tax code.

Business
4:53 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Fed To Keep Short-Term Interest Rates Low

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve now says it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate exceptionally low until the unemployment rate reaches six and a half percent. It's the first time the Fed has named a specific thresh-hold for when it would begin raising interest rates.

NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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NPR Story
4:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

CALM is an acronym for a new law that takes effect Thursday. It stands for the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, and it means you won't have to jump for your TV remote the second commercials air. The law says the volume of commercials needs to be the same as the programs they're coming out of.

NPR Story
4:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with supervising banks in the EU.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NPR Story
4:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Most Of Congress In The Dark On 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 11:44 am

Of the 535 members of Congress, not many appear to be in the loop about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. That makes the rest nervous about having to vote on a bill on short notice despite misgivings about what's in it. But this is often how major deals get accomplished in Washington.

In these budget negotiations, the names Boehner and Obama come up most often — and virtually all the rest are on the outside looking in.

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Planet Money
3:28 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Will A $1.9 Billion Settlement Change Banks' Behavior?

Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 11:55 am

If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him — give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy — there are some basic principles that seem to work.

The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.

But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.

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Business
3:21 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Etsy Crafts A Strategy For Staying Handmade And Profitable

Etsy, which began as a place for home crafters and small businesses to sell their goods, has experienced growing pains as it surpasses 800,000 sellers.
Courtesy of Etsy

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.

"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.

Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.

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