economy

News coverage of the economy.

On this edition of Up To Date, we continue our ongoing conversation about the economics of Kansas City's east side. 

Guests:

  • Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard is with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Urban Summit.
  • Councilman Scott Taylor represents the 6th District. He is chair of the Special Committee on Small Business.
  • Councilman Jermaine Reed represents the Kansas City’s 3rd District.

How much is a good teacher worth? Around $50 trillion by 2090, according to Eric Hanushek's calculations. On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss the economic value of quality teaching and the radical steps Hanushek proposes to achieve that goal.

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR

As Kansas state government braces for another round of budget cuts or tax increases (or both) to balance the state’s declining revenue, Wyandotte County is looking forward to a big jump in tax collections. That’s just part of the county’s profound, if spotty, change of fortunes.

Death spiral

Twenty years ago, Carol Marinovich became mayor of a city in steep decline. The Kansas City, Kansas she grew up in was collapsing. The house she grew up in, along with half her Strawberry Hill neighborhood, had long since been bulldozed to make way for I-70. But that was far from the worst of it. Wyandotte County seemed locked in a death spiral. 

Ford Motor Company / Wikimedia Commons

The middle class is seemingly ever-present in American politics and ideals. President Obama pushed for what he calls "middle class economics" in his State of the Union address, and according to a Pew research study in 2012, nearly half of all Americans identified themselves as being part of the middle class.

courtesy of the artist

For the past 35 years, artist and YJ’s Snackbar owner David Ford has been traveling to Guatemala.

His interests in the area have ranged from local foods and recipes to indigenous festivals and politics. But recently, his focus has narrowed — he’s become totally obsessed with broken doll heads, called muñecas, used in bustling marketplaces to advertise hair-braiding and hair-wrapping services to white tourists.

“It’s an advertising thing,” Ford explains.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Community activists and faith leaders from Kansas and Missouri rallied at the intersection of 63rd Street and Troost Avenue Thursday, calling for a "moral economy."

One issue that several speakers focused on was a recent comment by Federal Reserve Bank  of Kansas City president Esther George suggesting that interest rates may be increased to combat inflation. 

Frank Morris / KCUR

Stealing from your neighbor may not sound like a good idea, but Kansas and Missouri can’t seem to get enough of it.

For years now, the states have been locked in an economic border war, paying businesses –through tax incentives — to move across the state line, without necessarily creating new jobs. Lately there have been a few tentative signs of rapprochement. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri has the lowest average gasoline prices in the country at just $2.05 a gallon, according to AAA's daily fuel tracker.

On Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., that average is even lower, at $1.97 a gallon.

The only city with lower prices in Missouri was Springfield, at $1.94 a gallon, according to AAA.

KU researcher Akiko Takeyama has been studying "the host" in Japanese society. The host is the male equivalent of the geisha, and became part of the Japanese economy with the decline of the seniority system and a shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. Changing gender roles, and expectations that Japanese women be "superwomen," demand that some tasks be outsourced; romance, an imported western concept according to Takeyama, is among them.

Guest:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Here in Kansas City, the hotels are booked solid, and people are snatching up anything in royal blue. For some sectors of the business community, life is very, very good right now. For others, the baseball action doesn't translate into extra dollars.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we take a look at how the World Series is having an impact on the local economy and why it might not be pumping in extra money as much as redistributing business success.

Guests:

2014 has seen all time highs in stock and bond markets. But last week took investors on a roller coaster, with the Dow erasing its gains for the entire year. So how are investors and their advisors responding to the volatility? And is the answer to that question different than it might have been before the recession?

Guests:

The pre-opening hype would be hard to deny. Just ask the people who spent two nights camping out to be among the first to enter the new Merriam IKEA on opening day. So what is the IKEA story, and how do we expect the global furniture retailer to affect the local economy?

Guests:

Sarah Stierch / Flickr-CC

The inequality of pay between men and women isn't a new issue-- and that's the point. Since the wage gap first received lots of publicity years ago, why hasn’t it closed?

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we examine why, on average, women still earn 23 percent less than men and what solutions are in the works.

Guests:

401(K) 2012 / Flickr-CC

Just what is a microloan and how can we use it to help a local business?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a Kansas City, Mo., councilman and local business owners about a new program that's making a big difference in the city.

Guests:

  • Scott Taylor, councilman for Kansas City, Mo.
Phil Dowsing Creative / Flickr-CC

A new campaign is urging parents to spend more time reading with their kids, and Kansas City is at the front of this push for early childhood education.

On Monday's Up to Date, Kansas City mayor Sly James and a representative from the U.S. Department of Education join us to discuss what cities can do to promote early learning for kids. We also talk with Mayor James about what the situation in Ferguson means for Kansas City residents. We also take a look at some economic and development issues facing the city.

For the uninitiated, IKEA is just a big furniture store.

But for those in the Kansas City area who have been to IKEA before, the grand opening of a new store in Merriam, Kan., on Sept. 10 is a big deal. The Swedish furniture chain is allowing people to line up 48 hours before the Merriam store opens. And they will.

Why? Well, because of all the possibilities.

Nathan Haley / Flickr-CC

The recession hit more than five years ago, but its effects are still rippling through this country-- and that's what President Obama is here to address. In Wednesday morning's speech, he will be talking to a crowd at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo., about the economic challenges facing middle-class families and why he has taken executive action on issues such as minimum wage.

Up to Date will provide coverage of the event, with a live feed of the speech and post-speech analysis from local experts.

Who has the power in capitalism? The critics of capitalism say the rich have the upper hand. But author John Hope Bryant thinks the story is more complex than that. He thinks that capitalism works best when it benefits not the few, but the many.

Photoguyinmo / Flickr-CC

Whether it’s a bakery or a tech firm, running your own business is no cakewalk. Developing one from the ground up takes a lot of hard work and planning.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with some local entrepreneurs about how they got started, the difficulties they encounter and what the future might hold for them. We also talk about why their relationship with the community matters so much and how they stay profitable. 

Guests:

Cara McClain / KCUR

Entrepreneurship group 1Week KC wants to make Kansas City a top destination for innovative businesses and start-ups, a goal they're promoting with a week-long celebration that began Monday.

The obstacles and challenges that entrepreneurs face are wide and varied, but here is what some of the people who attended this week's events had to say about the climate in Kansas City:

MARC

The Mid-America Regional Council presented a sobering assessment of the Kansas City area economy Thursday, one showing the metro is having trouble bouncing back from the recession.

The report, called "Prosperity at the Crossroads," says that fewer than half of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, including the greater Kansas City region, had recovered all the jobs they lost during the recession by the end of 2013. 

Data in the report show that Kansas City employment rates, wage growth and job growth are all down.

deanstarkman.com

Following the 2008 financial meltdown, many were left asking, "where were the journalists at?" 

On the second half of Wednesday's Up to Date, host Steve Kraske discusses the lack of investigative journalism in recent years with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dean Starkman

Guest:

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

You know the Federal Reserve is important to the government, but what does it really do?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George about why Kansas City has a Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. We'll also look at the history of the bank at its centenary.

Guest:

  • Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 

You can post just about anything you want on the internet, but when it comes to e-commerce, the online world is dominated by a few major players.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we examine the corporate giants that control the online marketplace and discuss how consumers might revolt against their monopolies.

Guest: 

If you look at America through journalist George Packer’s eyes, you’ll see a landscape where familiar staples of society, such as Social Security and privacy, are disappearing in a country-wide decline in civilization.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with the National Book Award winner about his latest book, why he sees such a bleak picture for the country and how we might make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Guest:

The economy has been in trouble for a while — that's no secret. But a new idea about the "metropolitan revolutions" proposes investments in things like infrastructure and manufacturing on a city level.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the implications of this philosophy and where it could lead.

Guest:

David Iliff/Wikimedia Commons

With the House of Representatives and the president once again butting heads over the federal budget, a government shutdown is looking more likely by the day.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition joins Steve Kraske to talk about the economy, the effect a shutdown could have on the country if Congress doesn’t pass a new budget and how the debt ceiling debate figures into the equation.

Guest:

What Is A Bitcoin?

Sep 17, 2013
Gastev / Flickr - CC

In a society where we pay bills online, transfer money via the internet, and can buy virtually anything on the web, would you be surprised to know that a currency has been developed that only exists in digital form?

BitCoin is a currency invented not by a government, or a large bank, but by a person or perhaps few people, nobody actually knows exactly who.  It has no government backing, no tie to any precious metal and is entirely unregulated.  However, on the afternoon of Monday, September 16 the exchange rate for one Bitcoin was more than 126 dollars.

Proudfood / WikiCommons

Topeka narrowly beat out Charleston, West Virginia to be named as the home for the 2015 World Horseshoe Pitching Championship. The event will be held in July 2015 at the Kansas Expocentre.

Jeffrey Alderman, with the organization Visit Topeka, says the event is a big economic opportunity. He says the competition could draw more than 1,500 participants, known as horseshoe pitchers.

Third Shift Workers Start At Claycomo Ford Plant

Aug 6, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

As promised in May, Ford Motor Company began a third assembly line shift Monday at the Claycomo Plant.

The 900-worker expansion brings the total of rank and file UAW jobs to some 4,500. The emphasis of the additional team will be making the F-150 pickup.

Plant manager Dan Jowiski said potential workers went through pre-interview testing to see if they were qualified to do the job. That was in late April, just before Ford started beefing up the force.

Jowiski cited strong company ties to the area when the jobs were announced this spring. 

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