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(Markets Edition) Cigna is planning to buy the pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal. We'll talk about the background of these two companies and why they want to merge. Afterwards, we'll chat with economist Diane Swonk about what we should watch out for in the February jobs report, which the Labor Department will release tomorrow. Finally, as part of the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, we'll look at the state of the gig economy.

Fallout from Dodd-Frank rollback

Mar 8, 2018

Fair housing advocates are concerned about a pending vote in the Senate that would relax banking rules on reporting loan data.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Want to divest from guns? You might need to team up with your co-workers

Mar 8, 2018

After 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, students across the nation called on their lawmakers to pass gun-control laws and stop taking money from the National Rifle Association. As their campaign for change intensified, so did the focus on the different ways that regular people can exert pressure on gun manufacturers and retailers. Among them: gun stock divestment.

03/08/2018: Alienating our economic allies

Mar 8, 2018

(U.S. Edition) More than a hundred GOP lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump asking him to reconsider his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the White House says it might make the plan official today. However, this might all be a distraction from a different trade fight we should be thinking about. Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor for Marketplace, explains why. Afterwards, we'll discuss how the "right" kind of conflict can lead to better management.

What makes gig economy workers anxious?

Mar 8, 2018

What do freelance writers, IT consultants and Mary Kay sellers all have in common? They are each a part of what’s commonly referred to as the “gig economy,” which is comprised of nontraditional employees who typically don’t have a single, steady employer who guarantees regular hours and pay.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … China saw a spike in exports last month compared to a year ago, but how much of it was due to the Lunar New Year holiday? We’ll explore what’s driving the nation’s trade and how possible U.S. import tariffs could impact their future. Then, one year after America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11 remaining countries today sign a new deal worth $14 trillion.

Sudan Archives has a funkier approach to violin.

After taking a few lessons in Western classical styles and playing Irish jigs in fiddle club, she started experimenting. Sudan Archives researched West African and Sudanese fiddling styles and that’s where she draws her influence.

There is a much more informal relationship with the instruments, and the style is much more candid and playful in West African fiddling than classical styles. In some recordings, it comes through as an almost industrial or full-texture sound.

EU signals a hard line on post-Brexit trade

Mar 7, 2018

Britain got some bad news about Brexit on Wednesday. The European Council, one of the main governing bodies of the European Union, set out its guidelines for the next phase of the talks over the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the bloc after it formally leaves in a year’s time. The council is playing hardball. It said any new deal with Britain would likely make trade more complicated and costly than it is today. Britain and its European trading partners will suffer, said the council. Although unwelcome in Britain, this negative message was not unexpected. 

S2-08: “Mosquitoes in a nudist colony”

Mar 7, 2018

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress rolled back gun regulation last year that would have restricted some people with mental disabilities from buying guns. Now, this story isn’t about gun control, but the law they used to erase that rule and 14 others last year. It’s a tale that goes back decades, and it starts in Kenya in the 1960s. Along the way, we’ll meet a man in a white suit and an army of used car dealers. This story is also the last episode of our second season, all about who writes the rules, who gets to unwrite them and who gets written off.

How Levi Strauss & Co. is using lasers to make jeans

Mar 7, 2018

Automation touches many consumer products — the cars we drive, the sneakers we put on and now the jeans we wear. 

Levi Strauss & Co. is planning to swap out garment workers for laser machines that could create the worn look on a pair of jeans in less than two minutes.

Suzanne Kapner, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, wrote about Levi's latest innovation.

03/07/2018: Economic policy is hard

Mar 7, 2018

President Donald Trump announced less than a week ago, pretty much out of nowhere, that he was going to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump's fellow Republicans and others have pushed back, but the White House has been steadfast ... until today, that is, when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders started walking it back. Thing is, these tariffs aren't really compatible with another key part of Trump's agenda: tax cuts. We'll start the show by looking at how tough policymaking can be, especially when there's economic inconsistency.

Editor's note: Cartoonist and blogger Ramón Esono Ebalé was released from prison on March 8 after serving more than five months in jail in Malabo. Ebalé, who has lived outside of Equatorial Guinea since 2011, was arrested and charged with money laundering and counterfeiting last September while on a trip home to renew his passport. He was aquitted on Feb. 27 after a policeman, the state's main witness, recanted his story under cross-examination and said he was only following orders when he accused Ebalé of criminal activity. 

Markets don't like the departure of Trump's chief economic adviser

Mar 7, 2018

The president’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, resigned yesterday. He spent just over a year at the White House.

(Markets Edition) With news that Gary Cohn — President Trump's chief economic adviser — has resigned, we'll look at whether the business community has lost a major ally in the Trump administration and why markets aren't pleased with the news. Afterwards, we'll discuss where we are in the process of renegotiating NAFTA, and then explore whether the U.S. steel industry would be able to meet demand if imports fall off. 

President Donald Trump continues to press his case that imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports will add jobs and strengthen the industry. But some question whether steel manufacturers could meet demand if imports fell off.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. is the largest steel importer in the world, bringing in nearly 27 million tons last year.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) Markets so far aren't reacting particularly well to the news that President Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is resigning. On today's show, we'll look at why Cohn's departure is creating such uncertainty. Afterwards, we'll discuss the latest data from our Marketplace-Edison Research poll that shows how people feel about the economy. The results: Your view likely depends on your political party. About 63 percent of Republicans say the U.S. economy is doing better than a year ago, while only 23 percent of Democrats do.

Should websites be responsible for what users post online?

Mar 7, 2018

Congress took a step toward tighter internet censorship last week, depending on how you look at it. The House passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which makes it easier to sue websites that allow sex traffickers to post on their sites. The bill changes previous legislation that made sure third-party providers, like websites, couldn’t be held liable for online posts by independent users.

The unemployment rate is at a low 4.1 percent. Wages are ticking up slowly. And the new tax bill has gone into effect — resulting in a boost in take-home pay for most workers.

Congress took a step toward tighter internet censorship last week, depending on how you look at it. The House passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which makes it easier to sue websites that allow sex traffickers to post on their sites. The bill changes previous legislation that made sure third-party providers, like websites, couldn’t be held liable for online posts by independent users. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was co-authored by then-Rep. Chris Cox, a Republican from California, and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon in 1996.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … One of President Trump’s key economic advisers has resigned, so what will his departure mean for the rest of the world with increasingly protectionist trade policies coming out of the U.S.? Then, one of the most powerful men in the Arab world is meeting with the U.K. prime minister today to talk business. What will Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have highest on his agenda? Afterwards, the world’s largest book fair takes place in India … we’ll explore how rising literacy rates are helping boost the publishing industry. 

Progressives in Congress side with Trump on trade

Mar 6, 2018

Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro was at the US Capitol when the North American Free Trade Agreement, which governs trade rules among Canada, Mexico and the US, was signed into law 24 years ago.

DeLauro, who represents Connecticut’s 3rd District, an area in and around New Haven, opposed NAFTA from the start, fearing that the trade deal would cost her state, and the nation, jobs.

On Tuesday, the arrests on Capitol Hill totaled 116 people, immigrant groups reported. Several dozen people chained themselves together and blocked midday traffic. Police labored to sever the chains in order to arrest the demonstrators. Others were arrested during a sit-in at the offices of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. 

“We believe that we will win!” the demonstrators chanted.

This happened as about 900 young immigrants protested inaction by Congress to pass legislation to give them permanent legal status the United States.

President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on steel and aluminum would affect businesses in many part of the nation. Some states, though, would be affected more than others. A paper published today by  the Tax Foundation criticizes the president’s plans and says thatTexas would  be hit hardest if tariffs were imposed. How exactly?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Sylejman Neziri owns a grocery store in Ferizaj, a city in southern Kosovo where the population is mostly ethnic Albanian. He has a policy in his store: No Serbian products allowed.

The war in Kosovo happened nearly 20 years ago, but it’s still fresh in Neziri’s mind.

“The Serbian army and police massacred thousands of Albanians, raped more than 20,000 women, poisoned children,” Neziri says. “Considering this massacre, I cannot imagine having their products on my table.”

Many economists are sounding alarm bells over President Donald Trump's apparent push toward protectionism and an all-out retaliatory trade war. They say history is clear: It's a bad idea.

The Great Depression pushed millions of Americans into catastrophic poverty — which lasted for years. Savings were wiped out. Unemployment reached 25 percent, and in an age without public assistance, many depended on charity to simply survive. The hunger and humiliation scarred a generation.

The three richest American musicians are all rappers

Mar 6, 2018

The three richest American musicians — of any genre — are all hip-hop artists. The empires of Diddy, Dr. Dre and Jay-Z are worth well over $2 billion combined. But when it comes to the financials, the music looks like a side hustle. The real money comes from their companies: liquor brands, Beats headphones, music streaming services and other endeavors.

What do you have in common with the kings of hip-hop?

Mar 6, 2018

What does it take to become a hip-hop artist turned business mogul? Combined, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Diddy are worth approximately $2.5 billion, money made not just from their bestselling records but from shrewd business decisions. In his book "The 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr.

We're back! New episodes start next week

Mar 6, 2018

We've missed you guys. You've sent us a lot of great insights over the break, and Kai and Molly return with all-new full episodes next week, wading back into the big topics we want to get smart about. Tell a friend to subscribe. We'll see you March 13.

Parking tickets are bankrupting Chicago residents

Mar 6, 2018

In Chicago, debt from unpaid parking tickets and traffic violations is prompting an increasing number of bankruptcies. ProPublica Illinois recently analyzed data about Chicago's ticketing system to learn about the burden it creates for residents and published an investigation. Melissa Sanchez, one of the reporters on the investigation, spoke with Marketplace reporter Tracey Samuelson about the findings. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

(Markets Edition) As the President holds firm on his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, many in his own party and administration have asked him to back off. But the markets have done little more than shrug. And we look back to 2002, when President Bush set a 30 percent tariff on steel. What happened? Steel prices went up, American manufacturers closed or went offshore, and jobs disappeared before it was dissolved a year later. Plus, we take you to a lab where engineers are working to design more efficient packaging for online retailer deliveries.