Archive for the ‘Planet Money’ Category

Negative Oil   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/22/842095406/episode-993-negative-oil

Oil prices have officially fallen well below a dollar in the United States. This is extremely telling about the current state of the economy, considering this has never happened before.

Original Air Date: April 22 2020

Length: 16 minutes 22 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What can this tell us about the state of the global economy at the time of negative oil? If you were advising policy makers, how important would you say this event was or was not? Why?

13,000 Economists, 1 Question   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/09/794977811/episode-963-13-000-economists-1-question

At the American Economic Association annual conference, some of the brightest economists answer the question, “What is the most useful idea in economics?”. Answers range from the idea of opportunity cost to thinking at the margin.

Original Air Date: January 10 2020

Length: 21 minutes 1 second

Discussion Prompt: What do you believe is this most useful idea in economics and why?

Written Prompt: Develop your own list of your top ten (or top 5) ‘most useful ideas’ in economics. Be sure to explain WHY you’ve made your selections.  You may use up to 3 of those referenced in the podcast, with your own explanations! The rest must be your idea. 

Lives Vs. The Economy   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/15/835571843/episode-991-lives-vs-the-economy

Economists discuss the valuation of human life model to determine when the appropriate time to open the economy is. Federal agencies typically value a human life at $10 million. Many economists recently have said that right now, it is not worth it to open the economy back up.

Original Air Date: April 15, 2020

Length: 25 minutes 24 seconds

So, Should we Recycle?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/12/741283641/episode-926-so-should-we-recycle

China used to purchase the majority of waste that the United States could not (or did not want to) recycle by themselves. After China stopped purchasing U.S. recyclables, many cities have given up on recycling. Some economists even believe recycling may do more harm than good.

Original air date: July 12, 2019

Length: 23 minutes 6 seconds

Discussion prompt: What are the costs and benefits associated with recycling? Given this information, is recycling ‘worth it’? Can you think of any strategies based in economic-thinking that might approach this problem differently? 

The Race to Make Ventilators   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/824886286/episode-987-the-race-to-make-ventilators

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the healthcare industry is experiencing a shortage of ventilators. Without increased production, hundreds of thousands of individuals will die. Now, companies that have little to no experience producing ventilators are beginning to help supply them.

Original Air Date: March 31, 2020

Length: 24 minutes 3 seconds

Discussion Prompt: In what ways does this policy align with economic thinking? In what ways is it ‘out of step’ with economic thinking? Is this the most efficient way to produce ventilators, at least for the time being? How can the government incentivize companies to stay open and help produce parts for ventilators during this time? 

Where Do We Get $2,000,000,000,000?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821787090/episode-985-where-do-we-get-2-000-000-000-000

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the U.S. government is pushing out a $2 trillion stimulus package. The Fed is also purchasing large quantities of U.S. Treasury bonds in order to stimulate the economy. This podcast discusses where this stimulus is coming from, and how it will effect the economy.

Original Air Date: March 26, 2020

Length: 20 minutes 29 seconds

Discussion Prompt: Why is demand for U.S. Treasury bonds so high right now? Will the stimulus package be enough to keep the economy safe from a recession?

How to Save the Economy Now   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/818583204/episode-982-how-to-save-the-economy-now

Neel Kashkari from the Federal Reserve bank discusses his optimism about the future of the economy. He believes the Federal Reserve has learned from its mistakes during the 2008 crisis, and is now better equipped to react. The Fed is emergency lending in order to combat the effects of this economic uncertainty.

Original Air Date: March 20, 2020

Length: 13 minutes 43 seconds

Discussion Prompt: How is the current situation similar to the 2008 financial crisis? Should the Federal Reserve bail out banks and businesses during times like these?

Triple-A Ratings are so Yesterday   Leave a comment

Link:https://www.npr.org/2020/02/05/803201941/triple-a-ratings-are-so-yesterday

In the United States bond market, only two companies currently hold a triple-A rating: Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. Most companies are falling into triple-B and double-B bond ratings. Once companies fall below a triple-B rating, their bonds are considered to be “junk bonds”. Due to the current low interest rates, even if a company has a low rating, they still can receive a loan at a low price which means there is little incentive to achieve a high bond rating. With the record high level of corporate debt in the U.S., there will be little financial flexibility for these companies if a recession hits.

Original Air Date: February 5, 2020

Length: 9 minutes

Discussion prompt 1: Should the government incentivize companies to cut back on their debt and improve their bond ratings? If so, how should the government do this?

Discussion prompt 2: What are the long term economic implications of the extensive amount of corporate debt in the United States?

 

Posted March 24, 2020 by meaghanprice3 in Finance, Planet Money

Two Yield Curve Indicators   Leave a comment

Link:https://www.npr.org/2019/08/21/753185863/episode-934-two-yield-curve-indicators

In March, the yield curve for United States treasury bonds inverted. For the past six decades, the yield curve has been an extremely accurate indicator of a coming recession. Will this indicator hold true in the coming months?

Original Air Date: August 21, 2019

Length: 18 minutes 54 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What could cause long term treasury bond rates to drop below short term rates?

Discussion Prompt: What steps should the Federal Reserve take in the coming months to prevent a crash similar to the 2008 recession?

The Fed Fights the Virus   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/16/816684372/episode-980-the-fed-fights-the-virus

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve has lowered its interest rates to 0%. The Fed has been practicing quantitative easing in order to ensure individuals can sell Treasury bonds whenever they need to. Planet Money discusses whether this will be enough to prevent a recession from occurring.

Original Air Date: March 16, 2020

Length: 18 minutes 17 seconds

Written Assignment Prompt: Pretend you are the chair of the Federal Reserve. How would you deal with the Covid-19 pandemic to help prevent a coming recession? How would you adjust interest rates or the money supply during this time?