Over the last few years an unusual phenomenon has kept popping up in public opinion surveys: Blacks and Latinos have become much more sanguine about the country's prospects as white folks have become more pessimistic. It's a stark reversal of decades of data in which white folks were almost always more optimistic.
Connecticut’s state budget faces a series of problems that have been building for some time. It’s why the Office of Fiscal Analysis shows looming budget deficits in the next two fiscal years.
But we’re not alone. A study of several states shows some of the same trends: Medicaid costs growing faster than states can raise money, which means less funding for education; the federal government cutting aid to states in an effort to cut their own deficits; reliance on volatile tax structures and massive underfunding of public pensions.
Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:28 pm
One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind.
Somehow, kale has become trendy in the last few years, although its moment in the sun seems to be almost over. How did a thing like that happen? Would it be possible to infuse an old standby like broccoli with a similar hip panache? Broccoli is the warmest vegetable, and the coolest.
One of Bitcoin's largest trading exchanges shut down Tuesday, and you probably couldn't care less.
So what if rumors are circulating that millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin are stolen? If you don't understand Bitcoin in the first place, it's hard to figure out why this matters. So we're using this as an opportunity to go back to the basics: what this b-word means, where it came from and why it just might matter.
A legislative committee wants to delay for a year when the state's insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, could begin negotiating prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange.
So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would close 33 stores. Macy's said it would lay off 2,500 workers. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April.
That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:59 am
An announced $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S., respectively — is under scrutiny not just for its massive size but also for its potential impact on Internet use.
Just over 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address and made a pledge to the nation. "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America," he said.
Johnson didn't live long enough to see the end of the War on Poverty...and neither have we. Poverty continues to be a big problem in the United States and right here in Connecticut.
On Friday, President Obama is scheduled to sign a new farm bill into law. It contains a provision that allows all dairy farms to be part of a safety net. The point is to offset risk when milk prices are too low or feed costs too high. But Abbie Fentress Swanson reports that even in good times, smaller dairy farms in traditional milk producing states are now giving up.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:43 am
Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.
Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.
Our financial analysts look at protecting and growing your money.
On this fresh edition of The Faith Middleton Show, the markets have been dropping despite some good economic news. Are investors truly spooked or taking profits? What's going on? Are we in for one of those rocky years in the market, and if so, our guests take your calls and talk about protecting and growing your money.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:30 pm
If you've seen any coverage of North Dakota's oil boom, you've seen the images — oil rigs, truck traffic, "man camps," miles of temporary housing.
But there is something about this place that just can't be captured by a still photograph. It's a feeling you get when you cruise down an endless highway under a vast, big sky — until suddenly: BOOM. You're wedged between semitrucks dwarfing what was once a quiet farm town.
Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed the fiscal data for all 50 states. They used several markers to rank the states, including the amount of money in reserve funds, sometimes known as rainy day funds. Connecticut’s rainy day fund is among the lowest in the nation. The highest? Alaska.
This hour, we find out how states like Alaska got so far ahead, while Connecticut fell so far behind.
As the media turns its attention to reports of a strengthening job market, some fear unchanging conditions in long-term unemployment are being overlooked.
Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Ofer Sharone of the MIT Sloan School of Management said long-term unemployment is not decreasing at the same rate as overall unemployment -- something he insisted is largely due to discrimination during the hiring process.
The debate over unemployment insurance has Congress in a deadlock. Those opposed to extending emergency benefits argue that doing so only promotes an "idle" class of jobless Americans. Those in favor say it's the only safety net the unemployed have in today’s difficult labor market.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:10 pm
Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.
But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.
In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.
"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."