National / International News
First up, news that Chrysler owned by FIAT is reporting very strong sales today—up 20 percent in August, in part because Jeeps and pickup are moving out of dealerships like crazy. Nissan also handily beat expectations with sales up 11 percent. That and geopolitics are defining the mood on markets. And later today, several bank regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the FDIC, will vote on a rule that's designed to improve the way banks manage risk. More on their efforts to prevent the next financial crisis. And you've heard it before: Too many older people who haven't saved enough are forced to work until their dying day. Marketplace's senior economics contributor Chris Farrell doesn't see it this way. He's just written a book that argues there's cause for celebration about what we'll get to do in our later years.
H&R Block is expected to report its earnings Wednesday afternoon, and analysts feel good about the tax-prep giant’s future. Actually, they feel pretty great about the industry as a whole.
The source of their optimism is the Affordable Care Act, thanks, says George Brandes with Jackson Hewitt, to the tax-prep business truism: “Complicated taxes equals more people needing help.”
Brandes says his company assumes that figuring out the tax implications of the ACA will be tricky for millions of consumers.
“A study by the University of California, Berkeley, suggests as many as a third of all tax credit recipients will owe some money back, and so that adds another layer of complexity on how you handle something like this,” he says.
A person could owe money because their subsidy is based on estimated earnings; if someone underestimates, they’re on the hook to Uncle Sam.
The IRS says 140 million people file tax returns every year, with about 60 percent being done by professionals. Northcoast Research analyst Kartik Mehta expects that percentage to increase.
“We haven’t seen this type of a complication to the tax return in a long, long time,” he says.
Mehta says the real winners will be the brand-name preparers who can afford to blitz the airwaves come tax time.
On Thursday, more than 50,000 4-year-olds in New York City get to go to full-day pre-kindergarten. The best part? It's free, in a place where early education is the most expensive in the nation, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.
It's an initiative of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
So what are parents in New York thinking about the citywide universal pre-K program?
"It's about time!" says Mildred Warner, who studies the economic impact of early education at Cornell University.
She says preschool education makes kids more ready for school and less likely to drop out. As for parents, they have to skip work less often.
"It also increases productivity of parents at work, because they know their children are in a good, developmentally appropriate place," she says.
Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, says many working low-income families previously had to rely on family or neighbors for childcare, which can be unreliable.
He says for middle-class families, universal pre-K frees up money for them to buy more stuff, take more vacations, and spend more on a mortgage.
"You could maybe do some more saving for college," he says.
Barnett says for that, it's never too early to start.
Today we hear from Courtney Young, president of the American Library Association, on how they're changing libraries. From services libraries offer to the actual layout and contents of some brick and mortar library buildings, new tech has had an impact.
Young says that it's important for libraries to change with the times, but that one challenge for librarians is making sure patrons are aware of new services. Also, keeping up with high costs.
Click the media player above to hear Courtney Young in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.