National News

The top 1 percent is richer in some states than others

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-26 02:00

Income inequality has increased since the Great Recession, and President Barack Obama has prescribed an antidote in the form of so-called ‘middle-class economics’—tax reforms and education spending to help the bottom 99 percent of earners climb the economic ladder.

On Monday, the Economic Policy Institute issues a report, “The Increasingly Unequal States of America,” that offers a new look at income inequality in states and regions of the U.S.

According to the report, the average income among the top 1 percent of earners is $1.3 million a year. (Note: income includes pre-tax wages, salary, bonuses, employee compensation via asset transfer [e.g., 401k contributions or stock option grants], and investment income such as dividends, interest and capital gains; most recent income data in the report is for 2012.)

In Connecticut and New York, the average income among the top 1 percent is more than $2 million a year. And in those states, the income ratio between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent is approximately 50:1; significantly higher than other states, says economist and report co-author Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania.

“This is pretty thin air at the top of the income distribution," he says.

The highest incomes and widest income disparity result from the resurgent financial sector, says Price, as pay for bank and hedge fund managers soars again.

In oil patch states such as North Dakota, the top 1 percent are also doing better than before the recession. But in that state, the income gap is not nearly as great as in Northeast states dominated by the financial sector. In North Dakota, average income for the bottom 99 percent has risen 21 percent in recent years, Price says. In New York and Connecticut, pay for the bottom 99 percent has declined.

A map displaying the income threshold for being in the top 1% in each state.

Economic Policy Institute

How art institutions are changing their business model

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-26 02:00

New data from the National Endowment for the Arts shows attendance for operas, plays, dance and art museums continues to fall.

Just 33 percent of American adults report attending at least one those events in a year. And the people showing up are getting older to boot.

Through a series of reports, the NEA wants to give the industry some more insight into what consumers want, as more institutions are realizing if they want to keep the lights on, it’s time to change the business model.

For example, if you run a symphony, the business model used to be: play gorgeous, amazing music and your audience will come. That strategy doesn’t play anymore, says Brent Reidy with AEA Consulting.

“The reality is that decades ago and centuries ago, art was something that was closer to more people and we need to get back to a place where society understands our value and really embraces us,” he says.

With nearly a third of organizations in the red according to a 2013 survey, some art institutions are taking a closer look at their customers.

As many as 31 million Americans say several factors—including time—kept them away from the opera, or a museum.

So institutions are getting out of the galleries and concert halls and making art more convenient.

At a subway stop in Chicago, the Chicago Opera Theater held a pop-up performance a few years back. In Detroit, weather-proof reproductions of masterworks were placed in neighborhoods. Another way to grow audience is bring new people in.

The Philadelphia Orchestra hosts PlayIN events—really jam sessions—often at one of city’s premier venues. The talented and the beginners all come here to play with the orchestra’s world class musicians.

The idea is to win hearts and minds of people like Makeda Wubayeh, a 12-year old who is new to the scene. 

“Before today, I didn’t really think about coming here. But once I came here there was something about it that was special,” she says.

As important as the experience was for Wubayeh, it won’t pay the bills. For these landmark institutions, professional musician Stanford Thompson says artists must redefine their roles.

“Musicians are citizens and scholars,” he says. “They are artists. These are community leaders. I believe that they are educators, I believe that they are social workers in a way.”

Thompson says what will drive traffic to these institutions is when actors, singers and musicians start stepping off the stage and into struggling schools, to mentor students and teach them to find value in art. 

How art institutions are changing their business model

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-26 02:00

New data from the National Endowment for the Arts shows attendance for operas, plays, dance and art museums continues to fall.

Just 33 percent of American adults report attending at least one those events in a year. And the people showing up are getting older to boot.

Through a series of reports, the NEA wants to give the industry some more insight into what consumers want, as more institutions are realizing if they want to keep the lights on, it’s time to change the business model.

For example, if you run a symphony, the business model used to be: play gorgeous, amazing music and your audience will come. That strategy doesn’t play anymore, says Brent Reidy with AEA Consulting.

“The reality is that decades ago and centuries ago, art was something that was closer to more people and we need to get back to a place where society understands our value and really embraces us,” he says.

With nearly a third of organizations in the red according to a 2013 survey, some art institutions are taking a closer look at their customers.

As many as 31 million Americans say several factors—including time—kept them away from the opera, or a museum.

So institutions are getting out of the galleries and concert halls and making art more convenient.

At a subway stop in Chicago, the Chicago Opera Theater held a pop-up performance a few years back. In Detroit, weather-proof reproductions of masterworks were placed in neighborhoods. Another way to grow audience is bring new people in.

The Philadelphia Orchestra hosts PlayIN events—really jam sessions—often at one of city’s premier venues. The talented and the beginners all come here to play with the orchestra’s world class musicians.

The idea is to win hearts and minds of people like Makeda Wubayeh, a 12-year old who is new to the scene. 

“Before today, I didn’t really think about coming here. But once I came here there was something about it that was special,” she says.

As important as the experience was for Wubayeh, it won’t pay the bills. For these landmark institutions, professional musician Stanford Thompson says artists must redefine their roles.

“Musicians are citizens and scholars,” he says. “They are artists. These are community leaders. I believe that they are educators, I believe that they are social workers in a way.”

Thompson says what will drive traffic to these institutions is when actors, singers and musicians start stepping off the stage and into struggling schools, to mentor students and teach them to find value in art. 

This little bitcoin went to market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:30
25 states

Financial regulators in 25 states have given their blessing to the first ever regulated bitcoin exchange, which opens for trading on Monday. As reported by re/code, the exchange is run by Coinbase, and arrives on the heels of the Winklevoss' — dare we say, Winklevii — announcement that they hoped to open their own regulated exchange for bitcoin.

2 percent

The portion of the 3.5 million jobs added to the economy since mid-2009 that pay between $38,000 and $68,000, no where near the number lost during the recession. In a new series, the Associated Press explores the role of technology plays in "hollowing out" of middle class jobs.

$75 a month

That's how much the FHA estimates homebuyers will save when it lowers the rate it charges to insure mortgages by half a percent. FHA loans are popular with first-time homebuyers because they require a smaller down payment. But some say the change will likely help only some of these home hunting rookies.

11.8 percent

The portion of borrowers using income-based repayment with their federal student loans at the end of last year, nearly doubling the year before. The New York Times' Upshot traces the rise of these types of loans, and how they're combatting the country's record $1.1 trillion in student loan debt.

$1.3 million

That's how much, on average, the top 1 percent of Americans earn a year. But not all 1 percenters are created equal. A new study shows that income gap is narrower in states where wages are rising for the bottom 99 percent.

Guinea's Grand Imam Pulls No Punches In His Ebola Message

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:04

Religious leaders must play a role in stopping the outbreak in this West African country, the cleric says. And that will mean changing not only attitudes but funeral practices.

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Hagel: Stress Of 'Nonstop War' Forcing Out Good Soldiers

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:00

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says he is concerned about the toll of repeatedly rotating the same soldiers back to the front lines.

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Obama Views Republic Day Parade In Solidarity With India

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-26 00:36

He took in a display of Indian military hardware, marching bands and elaborately dressed camels, becoming the first U.S. leader to be honored as chief guest at India's annual Republic Day festivities.

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Rising Football Star: Prepare For The Worst, Pray For The Best

NPR News - Mon, 2015-01-26 00:00

Football is the most watched sport in America — and increasingly, one of the most controversial. High school football star Nahshon Ellerbe shares what he loves about the game.

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High Schools Seek A Safer Path Back From Concussion

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 23:59

Returning immediately to demanding physical or mental activities after a concussion can be bad for the brain, neuroscientists agree. But what about after symptoms resolve? How much rest is best?

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DNA Blood Test Gives Women A New Option For Prenatal Screening

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 23:58

A simple blood test can analyze bits of fetal DNA leaked in the mother's blood stream. It's less risky than invasive alternatives like amnio, but also doesn't tell as much about fetal health.

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DNA Blood Test Gives Women A New Option For Prenatal Screening

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 23:58

A simple blood test can analyze bits of fetal DNA leaked in the mother's blood stream. It's less risky than invasive alternatives like amnio, but also doesn't tell as much about fetal health.

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Threats Prompt 2 Plane Evacuations At Seattle-Tacoma Airport

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 22:41

A JetBlue flight from Long Beach, Calif., and a SkyWest jet from Phoenix were involved. On Saturday, bomb threats targeted 2 jets bound for Atlanta. It's unclear if any of the threats were connected.

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Got $15 Million? Actor Rowan Atkinson Has A Car For Sale

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 12:58

The actor who most famously plays Mr. Bean wrecked the high-performance car back in 2011. Luckily, he wasn't seriously injured. But it did cost him $1.4 million to get it fixed.

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Coach 1K: Mike Krzyzewski Gets 1,000th Career Win

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 12:56

"Coach K" became the first NCAA Division I men's coach to reach the milestone when No. 5 Duke surged past St. John's in the second half for a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden.

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Ukraine's President Hopes To Revive Shattered Peace Process

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 11:07

Petro Poroshenko says that the only way forward in ending the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country's east is to revive a cease-fire agreement forged in September in Minsk.

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Obama Proposes New Protections For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 10:54

The president recommends more than 12 million acres of the region receive the highest level of protection available for public lands.

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Several Killed In Egypt Amid Clashes Marking Anniversary Of Uprising

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:17

Police crackdown on demonstrators marking the fourth anniversary of mass protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

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'Blizzard-Like' Conditions In Store For Parts Of Northeast

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 06:29

A major storm system, expected to peak Monday and Tuesday, could dump as much as two feet of snow in some areas.

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Future Of Eurozone At Stake In Today's Greek Elections

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 05:39

The leftist Syriza party, which has vowed to rollback EU-mandated austerity measures, is poised to win the election.

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A GOP Weekend, Courtesy Of The Koch Network And Citizens United

NPR News - Sun, 2015-01-25 05:24

Contenders for the 2016 presidential race spoke at Saturday's Iowa Freedom Summit, and on Sunday night senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul will participate in a livestreamed discussion.

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