Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 20, 2008 - We have met, at long last, the Everyman of the supply-side school of economics. He’s the rugged American individualist that generations of right-wing theorists have sought to free from the burdens of union dues, medical coverage, workmen’s compensation insurance, pension benefits and OSHA health and safety regulations.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 18, 2008 - Washington's intervention in the recent financial meltdown will probably make money for taxpayers, was "elegantly designed" and is in no way a prelude to a second Great Depression, a panel of financial experts said Friday at Washington University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - If you're searching for a bright spot amid the recent series of economic shocks -- nest eggs cracked, jobs lost, budgets busted, energy costs at painful levels -- proponents of Proposition C on the Nov. 4 ballot think they have an answer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 14, 2008 - Updated late on Nov 4 -With 93 percent of the vote in, Proposition 1, a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund mental health and substance abuse programs for children, was winning with a healthy 61 percent of the vote. Nobody could be more jubilant than Kate Tansey, campaign manager for Putting Kids First and clinical director of Catholic Family Services, who praised St. Louis Countians' concern for children. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 14, 2008 - Metro, the St. Louis area's public transit system, went to St. Louis County voters and asked for a half-cent sales tax to fund the agency's operations and expand them. With 93 percent of the vote counted, it looked like county voters weren't buying. Prop M was failing: Almost 52 percent of the voters opposed the tax, while 48 percent voted for it. The tax's prospects had widely been considered shaky.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 13, 2008 - In a deteriorating economy, there's good news and bad news for investors in St. Louis bank stocks.

The bad news is that most of these stocks have declined for the 12 months that ended Oct. 10. The good news is that they have done better -- or, rather, less worse -- than the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index (down 42 percent) and the S&P Banking Index of larger banks (down 59 percent).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 12, 2008 - A ubiquitous term in the news about financial crisis is "credit default swap." The subtle mysteries of the mechanism seem to confound commentators and the general public alike. Apparently, they remain a mystery even to some of the practitioners, particularly senior decision-makers at several affected companies. To delve into their meaning and effect, it is helpful to understand them as a substitute for a variety of the age-old institution of insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - We all know that even the most unexpected crises – from 9/11 to last spring’s flood – usually follow a somewhat predictable path. Disaster strikes. Experts analyze the causes and consequences. Leaders take predictable sides and argue over remedies. Through intervention or time, the crisis passes.

Not this time. What scares me most about the current economic crisis is that everything and everyone seem off script.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Four weeks ago, analyst Jack Russo told clients to sell their shares of Anheuser-Busch, which were then trading at $66.05. He looked like a genius; the stock remains below Russo's cut-off point.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - The Missouri Department of Transportation announced last week that crews will finish work on the first half of the reconstruction of Interstate 64/Highway 40 -- a section from Interstate 170 west to Spoede Road -- before the Dec. 31 deadline. When that happens, MoDOT will close Highway 40 from I-170 to Kingshighway to begin work on the eastern end of the project

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 6, 2008 - If Wall Street's woes are hitting "Main Street," you couldn't tell it at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Best of Missouri Market over the weekend.

The Market showcases artisans and food vendors from Missouri and nearby Illinois communities who sell crafts, home furnishings, jewelry, garden ornamentals, food and other items. Vendor participation is by invitation only.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 1, 2008 - While experts speculate about how Wall Street's woes will trickle down to mythical "Main Street," Nora Stern frets about its possible impact on something a lot closer to home: the Missouri Botanical Garden's Best of Missouri Market.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 30, 2008 - A darkening economic climate is making the path to InBev's purchase of Anheuser-Busch a bit more interesting than the companies had hoped.

Financial turmoil in the United States, a bond-rating firm's downgrade and a multibillion dollar infusion for one of InBev's lenders have tossed unwelcome headliness in the way of a deal that the companies and analysts still say will completed by year-end.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 29, 2008 - Monday's deal between Wachovia Corp. and Citigroup may provide temporary relief but could also cause uncertainty for Wachovia's St. Louis-based brokerage business.

The relief comes from Citigroup's willingness to buy the albatross of bad mortgages -- as well as the coveted retail banking business -- from Wachovia, essentially leaving the brokerage and asset management units as the "new" Wachovia.

Part 3 of 3 - This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 2008 - The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that had been in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. The Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 2008 - From famous CEOs like John Mack of Morgan Stanley to infamous CEOs like Kenneth Lay of Enron, short-sellers have been blamed for major flops in companies' stocks.

Critics of short selling -- the betting that stocks will fall -- have called these investors anything from anti-American to financial terrorists to vultures. The critics are often CEOs whose stocks are being battered, but many experts say responsible short-selling is not only a time-honored financial tactic but also a necessary one.

Danforth Plant Science Center is still growing after a decade

Sep 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 2008 - This Sunday, Sept. 28, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center celebrated its 10th birthday with tours, games, science demonstrations, music and, of course, cake. Opening the greenhouses to the community, the center's employees invited everyone to explore the center and see the progress made toward achieving its mission -- to improve the human condition through plant science.

Commentary: Financial bailout: Words of caution

Sep 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 2008 - At this stage it is imprudent to speculate on the intricate details that the government’s bailout plan will include. There are, however, several broader issues to consider as the plan takes shape.

First, the rescue plan should not be used as an opportunity to extend the role of government in other areas of the economy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 25, 2008 - David Wolk spends his days on Cherokee Street with severed doll heads, pink-haired alligators and a messy desk.

The owner and founder of the almost 1-year-old, Cranky Yellow Publishing, Wolk started his business as much to indulge his creative fancies as to promote the work of unusual artists, musicians and writers. Wolk organized this summer's Crammed Organisms Plush show, featuring hundreds of funky stuff animals.

A primer on the financial bailout

Sep 25, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 25, 2008 - To help make sense of the current economic crisis, the Beacon asked local experts in finance and investing for their answers to basic questions. The experts are: Stuart Greenbaum, former dean of the Washington University School of Business and now Bank of America emeritus professor of managerial leadership; Radhakrishnan Gopalan, assistant professor of finance at Washington University; Rick Hill of Hill Investment Group in Clayton; and Pamela Kuehling, a financial planner with Smith Barney. Here are their responses:

Part 2 of 3- This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 25, 2008- The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that had been in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. The Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. 

Green in Benton Park

Sep 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - When developer-contractor Patty Maher was picking out the flooring for a historic home she was rehabbing in the Benton Park neighborhood, she opted for oak from Missouri over bamboo from Asia.

Her reason was practical as well as philosophical. Maher, president of Tiger Lily Development and Clover Leaf General Contracting, wanted to garner points that would help get her project certified as green. “I got a point for using Missouri oak wood floors and not shipping in bamboo from Asia,” she said.

Green in Kimmswick

Sep 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - Jill Crary has only praise for the green home at the edge of Kimmswick she’s living in. “It’s wonderful. I love it,” she said.

But it’s not hers to keep. Crary and her husband, Don, are guinea pigs of sorts. They are the first people to live in the Energy Star 5 Plus, LEED-Platinum certified house her father Jordan Heiman and his partner built to educate people about green homes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 22, 2008 - What's the prospect, or wisdom, of a giant, lumbering bank holding company merging with a giant, staggering investment banking company?

When it comes to Wachovia Corp. and Morgan Stanley, the answer is "no one knows," because the economic landscape continues to shift dramatically and often.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 22, 2008- Seventeen years ago, George Gould convened a meeting in his family room.

Present that day were little girls in tan uniforms, a mom, who was Gould's co-leader, and another mom who just wanted to see what the male leader of her daughter's Brownie troop was really doing. Mostly, it was building birdhouses or visiting the water treatment plant or taking field trips to bakeries. Eventually, the curious mom stopped coming.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 21, 2008 - The economic storm that blew in like a hurricane last week has been years in making.

The full effects of the crisis are still unknown. While Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke insist that the bail-out's cost to taxpayers will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, some economists think the likely price tag will be in the $1 trillion to $2 trillion range. Furthermore, the fallout from the crisis is likely to include a massive accumulation of debt, which would result in a serious drag on economic growth.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 19, 2008 - Metro's top official is hoping that an audit on the agency Missouri Auditor Susan Montee released this week won't dissuade St. Louis County voters from passing a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot.

Commentary: Welcome to the Ownership Society

Sep 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 18, 2008 - I do not know about you, but I am in a pickle about the economy. On one hand, I read as of earlier today (05:13:33 PM GMT Sept. 18, 2008, to be exact), my share of the national debt is $31,642.25. And that's on top of all my other bills!

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 18, 2008 - It is the surprising incident that gets you. The unseen car that nearly hits you when crossing the street. The bolt of lighting out of the blue. But while the surprising magnitude of the mortgage market collapse exacerbated problems for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mess wasn't completely unexpected.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 16, 2008 - Bailouts for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and American International Group. Bankruptcy for Lehman Brothers. The buyout of Merrill Lynch. The busted IndyMac Bancorp.

Given the continuing assault on the financial services industry, could Wachovia Corp. be the next domino to fall?

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