WBEZ | economic crisis http://www.wbez.org/tags/economic-crisis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en What the U.S. can learn from China http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-08/what-us-can-learn-china-96200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-08/china3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>American views toward China are often characterized as mistrustful and cautious. NYU economics professor Ann Lee argues, however, that this wary approach often prevents us from drawing important lessons about the way China does things. Ann discusses some of the learning opportunities she has laid out in her recent book, <em><a href="http://www.bkconnection.com/ProdDetails.asp?ID=9781609941246" target="_blank">What the U.S. Can Learn from China: An Open-Minded Guide to Treating Our Greatest Competitor as Our Greatest Teacher</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Ann Lee is speaking on this topic tonight at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. You can read more about the event <a href="http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Event/FY_12_Events/02_February_2012/Lessons_from_the_Dragon__What_the_U.S._Can_Learn_From_China.aspx" target="_blank">here</a>. </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 08 Feb 2012 16:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-08/what-us-can-learn-china-96200 Why so glum? Economic optimism dims http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-26/why-so-glum-economic-optimism-dims-88357 <p><p>The latest surveys show that both business owners and consumers have been losing confidence in the U.S. economy. That pessimism is just the latest blow to hopes for a speedy recovery.</p><p>Last week, even Federal Reserve officials said they have grown more pessimistic about the economic outlook this year. The policy makers cut their forecast for 2011 to a growth rate of just 2.7 to 2.9 percent — down from their April estimate of 3.1 to 3.3 percent.</p><p>Economists say growing pessimism and a lack of confidence tends to depress spending. Chris Christopher, an economist with the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight, says the large cash reserves corporations are holding are evidence that our budding optimism is fading.</p><p>U.S. corporations have about $1.65 trillion in cash available to them, he noted. But managers are so wary about the near-term outlook that they are not spending that cash on hiring workers or expanding operations.</p><p>One major source of uncertainty for businesses is Congress. Even after months of talks, lawmakers have not been able to agree on how to cut spending and whether to raise the federal debt ceiling. If they can't reach a deal soon, global investors may begin to fear a U.S. Treasury default, and those concerns could in turn trigger a financial crisis.</p><p>Europe also is facing a huge debt crisis. In the Middle East and Northern Africa, rioting and political instability have raised concerns about the reliability of oil supplies coming from the region.</p><p>Other concerns involve a spring slump in manufacturing activity and the ongoing problems in real estate. For example, last week, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales fell again in May, down 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million units, the lowest rate in six months. Even worse, the median price was down 4.6 percent from a year earlier.</p><p>Consumers, whose spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of all U.S. economic activity, also lost confidence this spring as gasoline prices rose to nearly $4 a gallon in early May and unemployment ticked back up last month. The unemployment rate had gotten down to 8.8 percent in March, but was back up to 9.1 percent by May.</p><p>Confidence has been hurt by "disappointing growth and job creation, weakness in manufacturing and real estate, and ... renewed turmoil in the Euro zone and its impact on financial markets," Raymond Torto, chief economist at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., said in a statement on falling confidence data.</p><p>On Tuesday, the Conference Board, a business organization, will release its closely watched Consumer Confidence Index. In surveys, most economists are predicting that index will not show a significant increase in confidence as Americans head into the summer. IHS Global Insight concludes in its own forecast that "the consumer mood has become more pessimistic due to poor payroll numbers, a further decline in home prices, increasing non-energy prices, and an unsettling stock market. Consumer confidence is at depressed levels and consumer spending is looking very weak." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Sun, 26 Jun 2011 05:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-26/why-so-glum-economic-optimism-dims-88357 Finding compromise in the new congressional landscape http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/finding-compromise-new-congressional-landscape <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Congressional leaders resize_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If all had gone well, congressional leaders would have been sipping on Slurpees at the White House Thursday. President Obama called a meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders to discuss economic concerns, particularly the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner asked to reschedule. Is the postponed brain freeze a sign of bipartisan bickering to come?</p><p>Polarization does seem to be the general mood of late. So, if the summit is an effort to find areas of compromise, could it work? Is there such a thing as middle ground between the two parties in power?</p><p>Eight Forty-Eight spoke with Rick Perlstein and <a href="http://www.lincolnseries.com/Bios/Dudley.html" target="_blank">Christine Dudle</a>y to help explore that terrain. Perlstein's most recent book is "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Nixonland-Rise-President-Fracturing-America/dp/0743243021" target="_blank">Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America</a>", and Dudley is a Republican political strategist.</p><p><em>Music Button: Barrett Martin and the Wayward Shamens, "Garifuma", from the CD Alchemy, (Fast Horse) </em></p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 13:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/finding-compromise-new-congressional-landscape Florida county hires official tied to Chicago scandal http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913 <p>Miami-Dade County has hired a former Chicago window company official near the center of an alleged scheme to loot the business, pilfer manufacturing gear and set up a new operation in Iowa. Former Republic Windows and Doors Chief Operating Officer Barry Dubin will earn $425 an hour to help turn around Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's struggling system of hospitals and clinics, according to the <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/1283281.html">Miami Herald</a>. Dubin will serve as the system's chief restructuring officer over the next nine months, the newspaper reports. Cook County prosecutors last month charged Republic CEO Richard Gillman with defrauding company creditors and stealing cash from the firm. The indictment identifies an unnamed co-schemer as the company's chief operating officer. Republic shuttered its Goose Island plant last winter without federally mandated severance payments to the factory's roughly 240 employees. The workers, members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), responded with a sit-in at the plant. The sit-in quickly became a national symbol of the nation's economic crisis. It ended <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=30801">six days later</a> when two Republic creditors -- Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase -- agreed to pay the workers a combined $1.75 million. "Dubin is the last guy I'd want to see in charge of a hospital," says UE organizer Mark Meinster. I tried to reach Dubin on his cell phone Thursday evening. My message asks whether Cook County authorities have been in touch and whether he's the right fit for the Florida job. He hasn't returned the call.</p> Thu, 15 Oct 2009 18:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913