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A vast wasteland without Chandler Bing

Fri, 2014-05-02 15:28
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 11:13

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's an extended look at what's coming up the week of May 5, 2014:

We ease into the week with Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Did you know that more beer is sold for Cinco de Mayo than for the Super Bowl?

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on international trade for March.

The season finale of the TV show "Friends" aired on May 6, 2004.

Also, if you see someone in need of directions or a restaurant recommendation, help 'em out. It's National Tourist Appreciation Day.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its monthly consumer credit report.

On May 7, 1824, in Vienna, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premiered.

Let's get back to tourism for a sec. On Thursday, a hearing in the Senate looks at a plan to attract 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.

On Friday, the Commerce Department reports on wholesale inventories and sales for March.

And on May 9, 1961, then FCC chairman Newton Minow referred to television as a vast wasteland. (Talk about a wasteland, it's been an entire decade since "Friends" was on the air.)

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014by Michelle PhilippePodcast Title A vast wasteland without Chandler BingStory Type BlogSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Female breadwinners are rising

Fri, 2014-05-02 15:16
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 15:10 Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

A gay marriage supporter participates in a rally.

According to the Pew Research Center, women are not only enrolling and graduating from college at higher rates than men, but are also obtaining higher levels of education than men. And that could lead to higher salaries than men, too.

Farnoosh Torabi, author of "When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women," says the recession pushed many women into higher earnings brackets than their significant others. For some, those changes can cause tension within the relationship.

Torabi, who is the breadwinner in her own marriage, says money issues arise within most relationships because when women are the higher earners, there are more complexities. “Money has always been a point of contention in relationships, but when she makes more the stakes are higher. Money can sometimes wrongfully equal power and she’s holding the bigger paycheck it can easily make the man feel less than like he’s not providing [or] like he’s emasculated,” Torabi says.

Torabi says that open communication is the way to level the financial playing field and to address the emotions that arise when the woman makes more.  And the first line of defense for women is to “cater to the male brain,” she says.

 “Just as we women like to be communicated to in a specific way to feel engaged and to feel like we want to step up and help, men have a similar vocabulary they like to hear”, she says.

According to Torabi, being a female breadwinner not only carries financial responsibility, but women who are high earners tend to feel the need to be better homemakers. “As breadwinning women, surveys show that we actually take on more housework than women who make less. The domestic domain has been up until now, even still, led by women,” Torabi says.

According to the author, this is a recipe for disaster. 

“You can’t go through your life juggling work, focusing on the paycheck, and then coming home to deal with cleaning toilets. You’re going to burn out,” she says.

Torabi suggests that both partners that take on household duties in a way that feels equitable and for everything else she says “buy yourself wife.”

“It’s not about getting to 50-50 but how to feel you’re putting in what you feel is right and fair, and what your partner feels is right and fair. And whatever either of you doesn’t want to manage or take care of, how to outsource it affordably,” Torabi says.

Does it matter to you who’s the breadwinner in your family?  Email us or Tweet at us @LiveMoneyMarketplace Money for Friday, May 02, 2014 When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women Author: Farnoosh Torabi Publisher: Hudson Street Press (2014) Binding: Hardcover, 288 pages byInterview by Candace Manriquez and Lizzie O'LearySyndication PMPApp Respond No

Weekly Wrap: Improving job growth

Fri, 2014-05-02 15:10
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 18:08 Alex Wong/Getty Images

A hiring sign is seen at a shop July 5, 2013 in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post and John Carney from the Wall Street Journal join Marketplace Host Kai Ryssdal to review the week that was. Top of the list for discussion is the April jobs report.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title Weekly Wrap: Improving job growthStory Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Weekly Wrap: Improving job growth

Fri, 2014-05-02 15:08

Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post and John Carney from the Wall Street Journal join Marketplace Host Kai Ryssdal to review the week that was. Top of the list for discussion is the April jobs report.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.

Are smart-toilets upon us? Sadly, no.

Fri, 2014-05-02 14:24

The surveillance society appears to have gone just a step too far.

A company named Quantified Toilets announced this week it would be installing smart-toilets at the convention center in the city of Toronto, Canada.

To quote from their literature: "Using advanced sensing technologies and a state of the art centralized waste data collection system, we are able to discreetly capture data from each individual toilet. Activities at each toilet create unique signatures..." and, well it goes on.

It was also, sadly, a hoax. A sort of interactive experiment at a conference in Toronto this week about human factors in computing.

Making it to the 1 percent is more common than you think

Fri, 2014-05-02 14:11
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 15:09 John W. Adkisson/Getty Images

Han Shan, an Occupy Wall Street protester, makes a 1 percent shirt while protesting outside of the annual Bank of America Corp. shareholders meeting on May 9, in Charlotte, N.C.

The "1 percent" and the "99 percent" have become household phrases in the last few years. But in the course of moving discussions of income distribution percentiles beyond economic text books and in to the popular discourse of sound bites and protest signs, the nuances can get lost. Which brings us to some interesting new research about the 1 percent, discussed in a recent book called “Chasing the American Dream.” 

Back when the Occupy Wall Street movement was fond of chanting “We are the 99 percent” the book’s co-author, Mark Rank, got curious about some of the assumptions buried in that chant. Who exactly is the 99 percent? What’s their relationship to that remaining, increasingly notorious 1 percent?

The whole debate struck Rank as very us versus them. “There’s this image out there that those two groups do not cross over -- that they're static groups,” he says. 

Rank is a professor of social welfare at Washington University, and so he had the tools to see if this static image of the 1 percent versus everyone else was true. He and his co-author, Thomas Hirschl of Cornell, combed through four decades of survey data that followed the lives of thousands of Americans to see how much money they made each year.  And what they found surprised them.

The top-earners club isn’t quite the bastioned, unreachable world it's been painted out to be. “There actually is this really strong sense of fluidity in terms of folks entering the top income percentiles,” Rank says.  According to Rank and Hirschl’s research, one in five Americans are in the 2 percent at some point in their lives. And one in eight spend at least a year in the one percent.

So who are these visitors to the 1 percent? Some might be your neighbors.

Barrett Yeretsian, 34, lives in the southern California suburb of Glendale, CA in a totally non-descript condo — the same one he grew up in. Yeretsian says growing up, he was solidly middle class. His mom, a widow, owned an Armenian book store in Los Angeles, and money was sometimes tight. Scholarships and help from family got him through college at UCLA.

When he graduated, he turned down acceptance at two top law schools in favor of trying to make it in the music industry, as a song-writer and producer. After years almost making it, a few years ago, a song he wrote in his bedroom, became this smash hit, Jar of Hearts, after it debuted on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

 

Literally over night, “everything changed,” Yeretsian says. Including his income.  That year he catapulted in to the 1 percent. But, he says, tries not to live like he has. “Keep the overhead low. Enjoy life,” is his philosophy. (He was a philosophy major in college, and traces his non-lavish lifestyle back to reading Thoreau’s Walden.)

“Don't get me wrong, I go to Hawaii every year,” he says. And he’s bought several rental properties as investments. “Financially, I’m in a comfortable position. I think that's the big difference is you have that comfort.” 

Jason Laan is another recent arrival to the 1 percent, who made the leap after his iPhone app made it big. For him, the surprising thing about being at the top is that it doesn't always feel like the top. 

“The 1 percenters we think of spend $10,000 on a commode,” Laan says. “If you make $340,000” — the approximate household income needed to break into the 1 percent in the last few years — “you're not going to waste money on something like that.”

Laan says the year he made enough to qualify as a “1 percenter,” he asked his accountant about whether he should consider trying to take advantage of tax loop holes or off-shore accounts, to protect some of his money. His accountant laughed and told him he wasn't rich enough.

“You’re not connected enough to try to hide your assets in such a way,” Laan recalls his accountant saying. “You can’t afford the overhead.” 

Another thing about the latest research on the 1 percent from Rank and Hirschl: While one in eight Americans might visit the 1 percent for a year, only one in a hundred stay there for a decade or more.

How much you have to earn in order to make it into the "1 percent" by year.

Year Household
Income (USD) 1967 171,737 1968 191,151 1969 193,437 1970 191,119 1971 200,383 1972 217,578 1973 226,942 1974 222,524 1975 213,235 1976 234,114 1977 217,740 1978 229,473 1979 228,014 1980 222,287 1981 216,483 1982 211,998 1983 219,320 1984 235,775 1985 229,477 1986 240,388 1987 254,770 1988 277,464 1989 257,154 1990 257,815 1991 248,205 1992 262,715 1993 333,888 1994 308,292 1995 301,423 1996 320,269 1998 364,160 2000 440,253 2002 363,702 2004 362,315 2006 379,511 2008 376,608 2010 332,300

Source: Mark R. Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, Is it just the One Percent, or is Affluence a Normal Life Course Event?, Cornell Univeristy

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014 Krissy Clark/Marketplace

Barrett Yeretsian sits in his condo. Yeretsian was catapulted into the 1 percent after a song he wrote, Jar of Hearts, debuted on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

by Krissy ClarkPodcast Title Making it to the 1 percent is more common than you thinkStory Type News StorySyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No

Wages are flat now, but maybe not for long

Fri, 2014-05-02 13:59

Some very good news out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics today: There were 288 thousand jobs added in the last month, more than many people expected. Unemployment is now down to 6.3 percent. Of course down is not the same as low, but there was one piece of information that was not changed – earnings. Wage growth did not move over the month. 

Over the past 12 months by several measures wages have grown about two percent. On the other hand, inflation has run around 1-1.5 percent. Since inflation devalues wage growth, real wages have increased very little. Ideally, inflation would be near two percent, and wage growth a percent or two above that. 

Despite March-April’s flat numbers, the two percent growth over the year has marked an improvement.    

The economy may be in the process of early movement in that direction. The more jobs are created, the less workers are trapped in jobs that don’t offer raises, and the more employers will be pressed to raise wages to remain competitive.

Marketplace Tech gets musical

Fri, 2014-05-02 13:30
Monday, May 5, 2014 - 04:00 Holly Andres

Merrill Garbus, lead singer of tUnE-yArDs, stops by to talk about her latest release, "Nikki Nack"

When you ask someone about their favorite piece of music, the conversation gets personal. Everyone feels music differently -- that's what makes it human.

It's why music and technology, at least to some people, seem like a mismatch. Machines are cold. Music is not. 

Here's the thing: We use technology to make music all the time. No, I do not count the auto-tuned antics of Glee tracks released on iTunes. I'm talking about musicians using technology to compose, create, and record music. It's a relationship that gets deeper and more complex all the time. The place where music and technology cross paths is a fascinating intersection.

All this week, we'll talk to musicians for whom tech is an integral part of their process. From Squarepusher, who wrote an entire EP of music played by robot musicians, to Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, who turns herself into a one-woman percussion instrument using loops and drum machines. We'll also talk to prolific film composer John Powell about his recording process for film, and electronic musician/composer Dan Deacon about why the computer is the biggest diva he's ever worked with (and why it has a right to be). DJ Rekha, credited with bringing Bhangra music to America, talks about the technology involved in being a DJ, and how it has evolved over time.

These are musicians and performers at the top of their game who constantly ask themselves how technology can help them be better at what they do, but also wonder how far is too far when it comes to letting machines take over. Each of these guests have funny and insightful comments to offer.

So plug in your keytar, boot up your computer, and let's get to playing with machines.

Marketplace Tech for Monday, May 5, 2014by Ben JohnsonStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No

Spider-Man vs. the box office

Fri, 2014-05-02 13:07

The new Spider-Man sequel has a lot riding on it for Sony Pictures. It sets up two spin-off movies, plus the third and fourth installments of the franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has already earned more than $150 million overseas. But critics have hammered the flick in the U.S.

“I think Sony is hoping that this movie will gross a billion dollars. And I don’t think that’s going to happen,” says Jeff Sneider with the entertainment news website, TheWrap.com.

He describes the new movie as “the worst Spider-Man movie that I have personally seen.”

Other fans may shy away because of superhero overload.

“Part of it just might be some amount of fatigue from the audience. This is going to be the fifth Spider-Man movie in 12 years,” says Albert Ching, an editor at Comic Book Resources.

And if audiences aren’t happy, investors won’t be either.

Sneider says, “Sony has come under fire from its investors, namely Daniel Loeb, who’s like a big hedge fund guru.”

If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t clobber the competition, expect that fire from investors to heat up.

Georgia latest state to drug-test welfare applicants

Fri, 2014-05-02 13:01

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week signed legislation that will require some people applying for Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) benefts to submit to drug testing. Georgia is one of more than a dozen states proposing - or trying out - laws that require welfare recipients or applicants to take drug tests. 

Governor Deal's Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Robinson said in a statement to Marketplace: 

"Governor Deal has said drug abuse poses a major barrier to getting and keeping a job. He understands that many users are suffering from the disease of addition. He believes we as a state have a duty to help those who want to help themselves by providing an option for treatment. He's also led on diverting people with drug addictions out of the criminal justice system into treatment programs with strict accountability so that people are able to be taxpayers instead of being tax drainers. But if people choose to reject treatment and choose a lifestyle that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize that."

But in some cases, drug testing does not appear to be catching many drug users.

"In Oklahoma, 29 people out of 1,300 were denied benefits," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a policy coordinator at the Center for Law and Social Policy. "And then Utah. Twelve people out of 4,730." 

Advocates of the testing say the low numbers are likely due to deterrence. 

"By having the testing requirement in place, you screen out individuals who have a drug addiction who never go through the process to begin with, because they know they won't recieve benefits," said Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank.

Lower-Basch isn't certain that deterrence is the best thing for needy families. 

"These are very poor families and they have children," Lower-Basch said. "You don't want to scare them off and not getting help. You want the kids to get help so they can have clothes and housing. And you want the parents getting treatment so they can get jobs and be better parents. Scaring them off is a terrible outcome."

Many welfare researchers say drug tests are sometimes necessary. However, mass testing can also cost a state money. In 2011, Florida required welfare recipients to pay for their own drug tests. More than 97% passed and the state had to reimburse them to the tune of more than $100,000.

Map of 2012 Legislative Proposals to Screen for Drug Use Among Welfare Recipients

Courtesy of National Conference of State Legislatures.

Female breadwinners are rising

Fri, 2014-05-02 12:10

According to the Pew Research Center, women are not only enrolling and graduating from college at higher rates than men, but are also obtaining higher levels of education than men. And that could lead to higher salaries than men, too.

Farnoosh Torabi, author of "When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women," says the recession pushed many women into higher earnings brackets than their significant others. For some, those changes can cause tension within the relationship.

Torabi, who is the breadwinner in her own marriage, says money issues arise within most relationships because when women are the higher earners, there are more complexities. “Money has always been a point of contention in relationships, but when she makes more the stakes are higher. Money can sometimes wrongfully equal power and she’s holding the bigger paycheck it can easily make the man feel less than like he’s not providing [or] like he’s emasculated,” Torabi says.

Torabi says that open communication is the way to level the financial playing field and to address the emotions that arise when the woman makes more.  And the first line of defense for women is to “cater to the male brain,” she says.

 “Just as we women like to be communicated to in a specific way to feel engaged and to feel like we want to step up and help, men have a similar vocabulary they like to hear”, she says.

According to Torabi, being a female breadwinner not only carries financial responsibility, but women who are high earners tend to feel the need to be better homemakers. “As breadwinning women, surveys show that we actually take on more housework than women who make less. The domestic domain has been up until now, even still, led by women,” Torabi says.

According to the author, this is a recipe for disaster. 

“You can’t go through your life juggling work, focusing on the paycheck, and then coming home to deal with cleaning toilets. You’re going to burn out,” she says.

Torabi suggests that both partners that take on household duties in a way that feels equitable and for everything else she says “buy yourself wife.”

“It’s not about getting to 50-50 but how to feel you’re putting in what you feel is right and fair, and what your partner feels is right and fair. And whatever either of you doesn’t want to manage or take care of, how to outsource it affordably,” Torabi says.

Does it matter to you who’s the breadwinner in your family?  Email us or Tweet at us @LiveMoney

Making it to the 1 percent is more common than you think

Fri, 2014-05-02 12:09

The "1 percent" and the "99 percent" have become household phrases in the last few years. But in the course of moving discussions of income distribution percentiles beyond economic text books and in to the popular discourse of sound bites and protest signs, the nuances can get lost. Which brings us to some interesting new research about the 1 percent, discussed in a recent book called “Chasing the American Dream.” 

Back when the Occupy Wall Street movement was fond of chanting “We are the 99 percent” the book’s co-author, Mark Rank, got curious about some of the assumptions buried in that chant. Who exactly is the 99 percent? What’s their relationship to that remaining, increasingly notorious 1 percent?

The whole debate struck Rank as very us versus them. “There’s this image out there that those two groups do not cross over -- that they're static groups,” he says. 

Rank is a professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis, and so he had the tools to see if this static image of the 1 percent versus everyone else was true. He and his co-author, Thomas Hirschl of Cornell, combed through four decades of survey data that followed the lives of thousands of Americans to see how much money they made each year.  And what they found surprised them.

The top-earners club isn’t quite the bastioned, unreachable world it's been painted out to be. “There actually is this really strong sense of fluidity in terms of folks entering the top income percentiles,” Rank says.  According to Rank and Hirschl’s research, one in five Americans are in the 2 percent at some point in their lives. And one in eight spend at least a year in the one percent.

So who are these visitors to the 1 percent? Some might be your neighbors.

Barrett Yeretsian, 34, lives in the southern California suburb of Glendale, CA in a totally non-descript condo — the same one he grew up in. Yeretsian says growing up, he was solidly middle class. His mom, a widow, owned an Armenian book store in Los Angeles, and money was sometimes tight. Scholarships and help from family got him through college at UCLA.

When he graduated, he turned down acceptance at two top law schools in favor of trying to make it in the music industry, as a song-writer and producer. After years almost making it, a few years ago, a song he wrote in his bedroom, became this smash hit, Jar of Hearts, after it debuted on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

 

Literally over night, “everything changed,” Yeretsian says. Including his income.  That year he catapulted in to the 1 percent. But, he says, tries not to live like he has. “Keep the overhead low. Enjoy life,” is his philosophy. (He was a philosophy major in college, and traces his non-lavish lifestyle back to reading Thoreau’s Walden.)

“Don't get me wrong, I go to Hawaii every year,” he says. And he’s bought several rental properties as investments. “Financially, I’m in a comfortable position. I think that's the big difference is you have that comfort.” 

Jason Laan is another recent arrival to the 1 percent, who made the leap after his iPhone app made it big. For him, the surprising thing about being at the top is that it doesn't always feel like the top. 

“The 1 percenters we think of spend $10,000 on a commode,” Laan says. “If you make $340,000” — the approximate household income needed to break into the 1 percent in the last few years — “you're not going to waste money on something like that.”

Laan says the year he made enough to qualify as a “1 percenter,” he asked his accountant about whether he should consider trying to take advantage of tax loop holes or off-shore accounts, to protect some of his money. His accountant laughed and told him he wasn't rich enough.

“You’re not connected enough to try to hide your assets in such a way,” Laan recalls his accountant saying. “You can’t afford the overhead.” 

Another thing about the latest research on the 1 percent from Rank and Hirschl: While one in eight Americans might visit the 1 percent for a year, only one in a hundred stay there for a decade or more.

How much you have to earn in order to make it into the "1 percent" by year.

Year Household
Income (USD) 1967 171,737 1968 191,151 1969 193,437 1970 191,119 1971 200,383 1972 217,578 1973 226,942 1974 222,524 1975 213,235 1976 234,114 1977 217,740 1978 229,473 1979 228,014 1980 222,287 1981 216,483 1982 211,998 1983 219,320 1984 235,775 1985 229,477 1986 240,388 1987 254,770 1988 277,464 1989 257,154 1990 257,815 1991 248,205 1992 262,715 1993 333,888 1994 308,292 1995 301,423 1996 320,269 1998 364,160 2000 440,253 2002 363,702 2004 362,315 2006 379,511 2008 376,608 2010 332,300

Source: Mark R. Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, Is it just the One Percent, or is Affluence a Normal Life Course Event?, Cornell Univeristy

Making it to the 1 percent is more common than you think

Fri, 2014-05-02 12:09

The "1 percent" and the "99 percent" have become household phrases in the last few years. But in the course of moving discussions of income distribution percentiles beyond economic text books and in to the popular discourse of sound bites and protest signs, the nuances can get lost. Which brings us to some interesting new research about the “1 percent,” discussed in a recent book called “Chasing the American Dream.” 

Back when the Occupy Wall Street movement was fond of chanting “we are the 99 percent” the book’s co-author, Mark Rank, got curious about some of the assumptions buried in that chant. Who exactly isthe 99 percent? What’s their relationship to that remaining, increasingly notorious 1 percent?

The whole debate struck Rank as very us versus them. “There’s this image out there that those two groups do not cross over -- that they're static groups,” he says. 

Rank is a professor of social welfare at Washington University, and so he the tools to see if this static image of the 1 percent versus everyone else was true. He and his co-author, Thomas Hirschl of Cornell, combed through four decades of survey data that followed the lives of thousands of Americans to see how much money they made each year.  And what they found surprised them.

The top-earners club isn’t quite the bastioned, unreachable world it's been painted out to be. “There actually is this really strong sense of fluidity in terms of folks entering the top income percentiles,” Rank says.  According to Rank and Hirschl’s research, one in five Americans are in the 2 percent at some point in their lives. And one in eight spend at least a year in the one percent.

So who are these visitors to the one percent? Some might be your neighbors.

Barrett Yeretsian, 34, lives in the southern California suburb of Glendale, CA in a totally non-descript condo — the same one he grew up in. Yeretsian says growing up, he was solidly middle class. His mom, a widow, owned an Armenian book store in Los Angeles, and money was sometimes tight. Scholarships and help from family got him through college at UCLA.

When he graduated, he turned down acceptance at two top law schools in favor of trying to make it in the music industry, as a song-writer and producer. After years almost making it, a few years ago, a song he wrote in his bedroom, became this smash hit, Jar of Hearts, after it debuted on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

 

Literally over night, “everything changed,” Yeretsian says. Including his income.  That year he catapulted in to the 1 percent. But, he says, tries not to live like he has. “Keep the overhead low. Enjoy life,” is his philosophy. (He was a philosophy major in college, and traces his non-lavish lifestyle back to reading Thoreau’s Walden.)

“Don't get me wrong, I go to Hawaii every year,” he says. And he’s bought several rental properties as investments. “Financially, I’m in a comfortable position. I think that's the big difference is you have that comfort.” 

Jason Laan is another recent arrival to the 1 percent, who made the leap after his iphone app made it big. For him, the surprising thing about being at the top is that it doesn't always feel like the top. 

“The 1 percenters we think of spend $10,000 on a commode,” Laan says. “If you make $340,000” — the approximate household income needed to break into the 1 percent in the last few years — “you're not going to waste money on something like that.”

Laan says the year he made enough to qualify as a “1 percenter,” he asked his accountant about whether he should consider trying to take advantage of tax loop holes or off-shore accounts, to protect some of his money. His accountant laughed and told him he wasn't rich enough.

“You’re not connected enough to try to hide your assets in such a way,” Laan recalls his accountant saying. “You can’t afford the overhead.” 

Another thing about the latest research on the 1 percent from Rank and Hirschl: While one in eight Americans might visit the 1 percent for a year, only one in a hundred stay there for a decade or more.

How much you have to earn in order to make it into the "1 percent" by year.

Year Household
Income (USD) 1967 171,737 1968 191,151 1969 193,437 1970 191,119 1971 200,383 1972 217,578 1973 226,942 1974 222,524 1975 213,235 1976 234,114 1977 217,740 1978 229,473 1979 228,014 1980 222,287 1981 216,483 1982 211,998 1983 219,320 1984 235,775 1985 229,477 1986 240,388 1987 254,770 1988 277,464 1989 257,154 1990 257,815 1991 248,205 1992 262,715 1993 333,888 1994 308,292 1995 301,423 1996 320,269 1998 364,160 2000 440,253 2002 363,702 2004 362,315 2006 379,511 2008 376,608 2010 332,300

Source: Mark R. Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, Is it just the One Percent, or is Affluence a Normal Life Course Event?, Cornell Univeristy

Spider-Man vs. the box office

Fri, 2014-05-02 10:09
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 16:07 Columbia Pictures

In this promotional image provided by Columbia Pictures, Andrew Garfield's character, Spider-man, is seen confronting Jamie Fox's character Max Dillon.

The new Spider-Man sequel has a lot riding on it for Sony Pictures. It sets up two spin-off movies, plus the third and fourth installments of the franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has already earned more than $150 million overseas. But critics have hammered the flick in the U.S.

“I think Sony is hoping that this movie will gross a billion dollars. And I don’t think that’s going to happen,” says Jeff Sneider with the entertainment news website, TheWrap.com.

He describes the new movie as “the worst Spider-Man movie that I have personally seen.”

Other fans may shy away because of superhero overload.

“Part of it just might be some amount of fatigue from the audience. This is going to be the fifth Spider-Man movie in 12 years,” says Albert Ching, an editor at Comic Book Resources.

And if audiences aren’t happy, investors won’t be either.

Sneider says, “Sony has come under fire from its investors, namely Daniel Loeb, who’s like a big hedge fund guru.”

If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t clobber the competition, expect that fire from investors to heat up.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014by Jeff TylerPodcast Title Spider-Man vs. the box officeStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Georgia latest state to drug-test welfare applicants

Fri, 2014-05-02 10:06
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 16:01 Davis Turner/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal answers questions from the media during a news conference at the Capitol building on February 11, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week signed legislation that will require some people applying for Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) benefts to submit to drug testing. Georgia is one of more than a dozen states proposing - or trying out - laws that require welfare recipients or applicants to take drug tests. 

Governor Deal's Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Robinson said in a statement to Marketplace: 

"Governor Deal has said drug abuse poses a major barrier to getting and keeping a job. He understands that many users are suffering from the disease of addition. He believes we as a state have a duty to help those who want to help themselves by providing an option for treatment. He's also led on diverting people with drug addictions out of the criminal justice system into treatment programs with strict accountability so that people are able to be taxpayers instead of being tax drainers. But if people choose to reject treatment and choose a lifestyle that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize that."

But in some cases, drug testing does not appear to be catching many drug users.

"In Oklahoma, 29 people out of 1,300 were denied benefits," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a policy coordinator at the Center for Law and Social Policy. "And then Utah. Twelve people out of 4,730." 

Advocates of the testing say the low numbers are likely due to deterrence. 

"By having the testing requirement in place, you screen out individuals who have a drug addiction who never go through the process to begin with, because they know they won't recieve benefits," said Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank.

Lower-Basch isn't certain that deterrence is the best thing for needy families. 

"These are very poor families and they have children," Lower-Basch said. "You don't want to scare them off and not getting help. You want the kids to get help so they can have clothes and housing. And you want the parents getting treatment so they can get jobs and be better parents. Scaring them off is a terrible outcome."

Many welfare researchers say drug tests are sometimes necessary. However, mass testing can also cost a state money. In 2011, Florida required welfare recipients to pay for their own drug tests. More than 97% passed and the state had to reimburse them to the tune of more than $100,000.

Map of 2012 Legislative Proposals to Screen for Drug Use Among Welfare Recipients

Courtesy of National Conference of State Legislatures.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014by Noel KingPodcast Title Georgia latest state to drug-test welfare applicantsStory Type News StorySyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No

Wages are flat now, but maybe not for long

Fri, 2014-05-02 10:00
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 16:59 Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Women hold banners during a protest for higher wages for fast food workers on March 18, 2014 in New York City. T

Some very good news out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics today: There were 288 thousand jobs added in the last month, more than many people expected. Unemployment is now down to 6.3 percent. Of course down is not the same as low, but there was one piece of information that was not changed – earnings. Wage growth did not move over the month. 

Over the past 12 months by several measures wages have grown about two percent. On the other hand, inflation has run around 1-1.5 percent. Since inflation devalues wage growth, real wages have increased very little. Ideally, inflation would be near two percent, and wage growth a percent or two above that. 

Despite March-April’s flat numbers, the two percent growth over the year has marked an improvement.    

The economy may be in the process of early movement in that direction. The more jobs are created, the less workers are trapped in jobs that don’t offer raises, and the more employers will be pressed to raise wages to remain competitive.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014by Sabri Ben-AchourPodcast Title Wages are flat now, but maybe not for longStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Yogurt: Not just for breakfast anymore

Fri, 2014-05-02 09:41
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 09:39 Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A woman shops for yogurt at a Trader Joe's on October 18, 2013 in Pinecrest, Florida.

Greek yogurt is, to most members of the general public, solely a healthy breakfast option. But a new line of products from Chobani seems to say that breakfast isn't the only time to eat yogurt.

Greek yogurt sales have slowed in recent years by as much as six percent, which is why Chobani is experimenting with desserts and cooking ingredients that use Greek yogurt in new ways.

"Yogurt for breakfast totally makes sense, but it's become so old-school now," says Bloomberg Business reporter Venessa Wong. "It's still the exciting growth area in the yogurt market."

Wong visited the cafe in New York City that Chobani runs as a testing ground for new savory yogurt concoctions. The smoked salmon bagel she ordered, for example, was topped with a cream cheese spread made from Greek yogurt.

"I didn't know yogurt could be used as a cream cheese substitute," Wong said.

Chobani has found that its cafe's busiest hours are the lunch hours from 1-3 p.m. Its least busiest time of the day: 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title Yogurt: Not just for breakfast anymoreSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Traveling to space? There's an agent for that

Fri, 2014-05-02 09:31
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 10:21 Sanden Totten

Travel agent Jay Johnson holds a model of the ship Virgin Galactic plans to use to take tourists into space.

Jay Johnson is a travel agent to the stars ... or at least to sub-orbit.

He's what Virgin Galactic calls an ASA or "accredited space agent." That means Johnson is authorized to sell tickets to Virgin Galactic's planned space tourism experience.

The company plans to send six passengers at a time to suborbital space in its vehicle dubbed SpaceshipTwo.

Once there, tourists will float weightlessly for several minutes before returning to Earth.

"It's the ultimate icebreaker," Johnson says of his job. "I can’t walk into a room anywhere without bringing it up. It’s not just about selling the tickets; it’s just fun to talk about."

Johnson also runs Coastline Travel Advisors, a luxury travel business based in Garden Grove. He was selected, along with around 100 other travel agents, to help sell seats for Virgin Galactic.

They were educated on the basics of space travel, from flight technology to zero gravity conditions.

Over the last seven years, Johnson has sold eight tickets. It may not sound like a lot, but each seat sells for $250,000.

Future astronauts

Finding buyers hasn’t always been easy.

“In the early stages, ... we had no clue who the clients would be,” says Lynda Turley Garrett, an ASA in the Bay Area.

She’s tried marketing at science-themed events, travel expos, museums, even at luxury car dealers.

It’s not like selling other adventure vacations, she says, in part because Virgin doesn’t even have an official launch date. The company says it could start flights by the end of 2014.

Still, between the two of them, Turley Garrett and Johnson have sold to a techie from Silicon Valley, a real estate broker from Columbus, a 70-year-old South Korean retiree and a few celebrities who wish to remain anonymous.

Also in that group, is Josh Resnick, a video-game developer from Brentwood, and his 79-year-old mother, Rheta.

"Even talking about it I get excited" Josh Resnick says.

For him, the allure of being one of the first civilians in space was a big draw.

For his mother, Rheta, it was the chance to do something she dreamed of as a kid, but didn't think would be possible.

"When I was born, there was no television, ... no real washing machines. So we’ve come a long way," she says.

Challenges remain

The space tourism industry has made remarkable progress in recent years, says Dirk Gibson, a professor at the University of New Mexico and author of the ebook "Commercial Space Tourism: Impediments to Industrial Development and Strategic Communication Solutions."

"I think we are closer now than we ever have been," he says.

But, he adds, there are several hurdles ahead for Virgin Galactic and other companies looking to sell space-based travel experiences.

For instance, they have technical issues to work out, and they still need to secure Federal Aviation Administration approval for flights.

Greg Autry, an adjunct professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, says safety is also a concern. "Unproven complex technical systems are subject to failure," he notes. "As we've seen in the commercial aviation business, ... things do go wrong."

That’s partly why Virgin is taking so long to finalize a launch date. A spokesman says the company won’t send people up until it can minimize safety risks.

Still, both Autry and Gibson think this industry will continue to grow.

Ticket to ride

Another barrier for most people is the $250,ooo price tag for a Virgin Galactic flight.

Jay Johnson, though, has an opportunity to bypass that fee. The company has offered ASAs like him a free ride if they sell 10 tickets total. Johnson, with eight customers so far, is almost there.

But he says, if he hits the goal, he probably won't use the ticket himself.

"I honestly think I am going to donate it. Because I would love to go. But I’ll wait my turn until I can afford it."

In the meantime, he’ll keep working the phones, showing up at travel expos, and scouring Southern California for people with a dream of flying to space -- and a couple hundred thousand dollars to spare.

Marketplace for Friday May 2, 2014Four ways to make money in spaceby Sanden Totten Podcast Title Traveling to space? There's an agent for thatSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

A vast wasteland without Chandler Bing

Fri, 2014-05-02 08:13

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's an extended look at what's coming up the week of May 5, 2014:

We ease into the week with Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Did you know that more beer is sold for Cinco de Mayo than for the Super Bowl?

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on international trade for March.

The series finale of the TV show "Friends" aired on May 6, 2004.

Also, if you see someone in need of directions or a restaurant recommendation, help 'em out. It's National Tourist Appreciation Day.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its monthly consumer credit report.

On May 7, 1824, in Vienna, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premiered.

Let's get back to tourism for a sec. On Thursday, a hearing in the Senate looks at a plan to attract 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.

On Friday, the Commerce Department reports on wholesale inventories and sales for March.

And on May 9, 1961, then FCC chairman Newton Minow referred to television as a vast wasteland. (Talk about a wasteland, it's been an entire decade since "Friends" was on the air.)

PODCAST: Strong jobs report undercut by shrinking labor force

Fri, 2014-05-02 07:36
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 08:23 John Moore/Getty Images

Applicants line up to speak to prospective employers at a job fair on June 11, 2012 in New York City. 

The April 2014 jobs report from the Department of Labor shows much stronger employment growth than economists expected, and a significantly lower unemployment rate. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent to 6.3 percent in April.

Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, or Arizona? There can be only one home for the Gigafactory. Or possibly two... if two are built. The Gigafactory is a massive battery plant, built by the electric car maker Tesla, that will take up to 1,000 acres and will include its own on-site wind and solar energy plants. Tesla has narrowed down its choice of location to four states, but rather than pick one now, it will prepare to build in two or three (or potentially all four), CEO Elon Musk announced on Wednesday.

Technically, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Monday this year. But beer companies want people to get an early start, celebrating over the weekend. But celebrating what, exactly? What does Cinco de Mayo mean for marketers and consumers?

Marketplace Morning Report for Friday May 2, 2014by David BrancaccioPodcast Title 5-2-14 Mid-day Update - Strong jobs report undercut by shrinking labor forceStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No
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