Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 2, 2009 - If Missouri does not take full advantage of stimulus money available from Washington, thousands of Missourians will be hurt directly and many more will suffer indirect harm as well, budget analysts said Thursday.

Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project, said that because a budget bill passed by the Missouri House fails to take full advantage of money available for Medicaid, more people will be hurt than just those who need the help with health insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 1, 2009 - How can legislation working its way through Washington that would vastly expand national service potentially benefit job hunters in St. Louis? Here's a hint: helping hands that know their way around a computer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 31, 2009 - Notwithstanding stiff GOP opposition in Jefferson City, Gov. Jay Nixon continues to pursue his campaign promise to expand health coverage for Missouri's uninsured.

On Tuesday, his proposal picked up support from one of the state's most influential business groups, Associated Industries of Missouri. It endorsed the plan at a press conference with Nixon at Boeing Co., in north St. Louis County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 31, 2009 - As Metro's cuts go into effect, lawmakers in the Missouri General Assembly are weighing starkly different responses.

State Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis, argues the state needs to take immediate action; she proposes an emergency spending bill to ease a nearly $45 million deficit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 30, 2009 - The largest service change in Metro's history brought missed connections and long waits for buses this morning. Considering the depth of the changes, though, the transition to a system 44 percent smaller went fairly well, a Metro spokeswoman said.

The problems riders faced today came because the same number of people are riding fewer buses, said Dianne Williams, Metro spokesperson.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - Got gold?

A herringbone chain that hasn't draped anyone's neck since 1989, perhaps. Or the wedding ring that belonged to your ex. Maybe a watch that no longer works, but you've held onto because it's 12K gold, for gosh sakes.

At Amy Blickensderfer's house in Chesterfield on a recent Sunday afternoon, guests could buy new fashion jewelry -- and sell their old treasures to a gold buyer who paid cash on the spot.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - The current debate over a possible second nuclear power plant for Missouri involves issues ranging from safety to energy conservation to environmental quality.

But for many consumers, the most pressing question will be the bottom line on their monthly electric bill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 24, 2009 - With gold prices surpassing $900 an ounce in recent months, the local airwaves have been saturated with ads for buying and selling the precious metal.

There are mail-in-your-gold-for-cash commercials, spots for local jewelers and coin dealers, as well as national gold buying teams who set up shop in local hotels.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2009 - For some foreclosed homes, rebirth can begin in a glitzy hotel ballroom where they're SOLD! to the highest bidder during a high-energy auction that speed-sells mansion-wannabes in one breath and modest two-bedroom frame houses in the next.

Commentary: Do away with CWIP restrictions

Mar 22, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 22, 2009 - AmerenUE hopes to persuade legislators to rescind the 1976 law that prevents utilities from funding expansions by charging current customers to pay for the financing and interest charges for projects that are still under construction. The law was passed by voters in a referendum as part of an attempt by anti-nuclear power activists to stop the construction of the first Callaway Nuclear Generating Station.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2009 - The St. Louis economy continued to weaken across the board in January and February -- and a majority of retailers and car dealers have a "pessimistic" outlook for the near future, according to a report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Retail and car sales were down. So was overall activity in manufacturing, real estate and construction, according to the March edition of the "Burgundy Book," the Fed's quarterly summary of economic data for the St. Louis region, which covers 71 counties in eastern Missouri and 45 counties in Southern Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2009 - Even as the nation fixates on the employee bonuses handed out by taxpayer-bailed-out insurance giant AIG, the key to fixing the nation's economy still hinges on getting the banking system functioning again, says Alice Rivlin, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and budget director for President Bill Clinton.

Local inventor is key in printed books' future

Mar 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 10, 2009 - Jeff Marsh, the St. Louis inventor of the first machine that's said to print and bind a book without human intervention, credits his creativity to his grandfather. Marsh has fond memories of the rambling Victorian house where he grew up in a Detroit suburb. Within that house, he said, “I’d walk past the ceramics lab, the electronics lab, the geology lab. We made all our own bullets for our private shooting range. Growing up in that house gave me the feeling that I could do anything.”

More cost cutting coming at A-B InBev

Mar 5, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 5, 2009 - Anheuser-Busch InBev says it expects to save more money by cost-cutting that it had originally expected, adding that the expense reductions won't result in more layoffs.

Top executives on Thursday commented on early results of the Nov. 18 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, saying that U.S. operations performed well -- gaining market share and raising revenue -- during a tough October-December quarter.

Head to head: New beer giants plan for sharp competition

Mar 3, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - Two new companies are continuing a decades-old battle for dominance in the U.S. beer market.

There's the "new" Anheuser-Busch InBev, created by the November takeover. And there's the new corporate structure for the Miller and Coors brands, created in mid-2008 through a U.S.-operations joint venture by Molson Coors and SABMiller.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - Last month, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law a historic economic stimulus package that will spend $787 billion in the hopes of pulling the U.S. out of the recession.

The package has several parts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - The federal government’s new attack on the nation’s frozen credit markets has a difficult-to-understand name with an easy-to-understand price tag: $200 billion.

The program, dubbed the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF, for short), is a combined effort of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve that will provide $200 billion to investors to encourage lending to consumers and small businesses. And they’re moving quickly.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 2, 2009 - Are you concerned that Social Security will go broke before you reach retirement age?

Michael Astrue, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration, certainly isn't.

Not only that, but Astrue -- who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush -- believes the issue of insolvency will be addressed before the end of President Barack Obama's first term in office.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 27, 2009 - We've grown accustomed to our entitlements. Too bad we don't want to pay for them.

It seems that to get re-elected, Democrats utter the phrase "no tax increase." For Republicans, the mantra is "lower taxes." Unfortunately, this political pandering stands in stark contrast to reality. If we are not willing to reduce the coverage of programs such as Medicare or Social Security, taxes must rise to meet future funding needs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 27, 2009 - You wouldn't know it by the news headlines, but not all business owners and managers are laying off workers during the recession.

Some, like Bob Brinkmann, head of Brinkmann Constructors  in Chesterfield, are managing through these stressful times by becoming more skillful leaders of their companies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 27, 2009 - Ameren chief Richard Mark issued the following the statement in regard to Gov. Jay Nixon's stance (detailed below) on a measure, backed by the utility, that would allow it charge Missouri customers for the financing in connection with a proposed new nuclear plant. As it stands, a 1970s law bars such charges before the plant is in operation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 26, 2009 - St. Louis urban developer Richard Baron doesn't waste words summarizing what he believes the nation's cities need to start fixing decades of neglected blight: A plan.

Baron, the chairman of McCormack, Baron and Salazar, was to deliver the keynote address Feb. 27 at a Saint Louis University symposium on the complex relationship between property ownership and economic stability. His topic: "Urban Neighborhoods: Can the Stimulus Package Reverse the Course of the Last 40 Years?"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 25, 2009 - For people who have lost their jobs or are afraid that time might come, networking is often the first step toward new employment. But where to turn?

A new initiative called the Go! Network is attracting hundreds of job hunters to weekly Tuesday morning seminars and breakout sessions. A group of corporate and nonprofit sponsors, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis (which initiated the effort) and Anheuser-Busch, are collaborating to offer these events, where human relations managers and other speakers dispatch tips on everything from polishing resumes to networking to "branding yourself."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2009 - WASHINGTON - Sen. Claire McCaskill, a government reformer from the moment she arrived in Washington, saw the massive cost of the economic stimulus plan of 2009 and immediately knew what she had to do - focus on bringing accountability and transparency.

For Rep. Jerry Costello, chairman of the House aviation panel, the measure is a chance to make critically needed improvements in the safety and efficiency of the nation's aviation system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 23, 2009 - What if a person goes to his or her bank branch to make a routine withdrawal and encounters a big sign that says "Out of business - Your money is gone." Ha, you say - this is America and that sort of thing doesn't happen here.

It is true there have been no bank failures with accompanying losses of depositors' funds since the 1930s. (Keep in mind that it happened frequently then).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 23, 2009 - Speculation that major U.S. banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America could be nationalized has been sending shivers down the economy's already shaky spine.

While the Obama administration has said it does not want to nationalize banks, the concept has been raised by such diverse voices as Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C., and Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2009 - Here's the big question regarding President Barack Obama's massive $75 billion government effort to stem the foreclosure crisis: Will it work?

"There's no telling, but I think this is a better blueprint than anything we've had so far,'' said Karen Wallensak, executive director of the Catholic Charities Housing Resource Center in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2009 - With just six weeks until Metro makes the largest service cuts in the agency's history, riders and employers are scrambling to find transportation alternatives to get people who depend on Metro to their jobs.

Now even some municipalities are getting involved in the scramble.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2009 - Congressional districts that include parts of the St. Louis area would add or preserve 60,000 jobs because of the stimulus package passed by Congress last week, according to figures released by the White House Tuesday.

The numbers came out a few hours before President Barack Obama was set to sign the plan into law at a ceremony in Denver.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 16, 2009 - Paul Allen will retain a prominent but smaller role in Charter Communications after the cable TV giant completes its bankruptcy reorganization.

Assuming the plan is approved by lenders and a bankruptcy court, Allen, who will remain chairman, will no longer control the nominating and voting for all members of the board of directors.

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