Current Event June 26, 2014
The drought in California and Texas has meant cattle herders have little pasture to graze their herds. Instead, cattle herding is moving north to Colorado and Nebraska. The midwestern states are feeding the cattle with the byproduct of ethanol production. Use this public radio story with your class to discuss how these changes affect the price of a hamburger.
Current Event June 11, 2014
California's drought is causing water prices to vary region to region. This makes some farmers want to sell their water—but they're worried that it might negatively affect their water allotment. Economists say the answer is a better engineered irrigation canal and use of the free market. Listen to this radio story to learn why.
Current Event April 22, 2014
A cracked dam in Washington endangers farming near the area with lower water levels and the looming threat of a summer heat. Lowered water levels have caused a temporary increase in tourism in spots but also revealed old graves.
Current Event April 19, 2014
John Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath” was released more than 75 years ago. The tale of poverty and hope is still frequently read today. The book is the story of the Joad family heading West from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl. The novel’s depiction of poverty shocked readers at the time but remains relevant in America today. Listen to learn how themes of the book reflect the 1930s and the present.
Current Event April 18, 2014
Many refugees who have settled in Vermont are used to eating lots of goat meat back in their home countries. However, until recently, this meat has been expensive and hard to find in New England. Now, the Vermont Goat Collaborative is helping refugees find the meat they want. The project makes use of male baby goats are often disposed of because they can’t produce milk. Listen to hear more about this initiative and how it is benefiting local populations.
Current Event March 25, 2014
The United States is only one of three countries that does not support mandatory paid paternal leave, which often results in economic hardship for families. Examples from other countries show that paid family leave supports the economy and stronger families.
Current Event March 24, 2014
The drought didn't just close down ski resorts and impact agriculture— it also increased coffee bean prices due to a bean condition called "coffee disease rust." The widespread impact might even have customers at the local coffee chop feeling the price change.
Current Event March 10, 2014
President Obama spent the last week touring the country to promote the benefits of raising the minimum wage. He says it will help lower the income inequality gap. Opponents say raising the minimum wage will force some employers to cut jobs. Economists are divided on whether raising the minimum wage will actually increase jobs. Listen to this story to find out.
Current Event February 28, 2014
The Keystone XL Pipeline was initially labeled as a harmful source of carbon dioxide by leading scientist, Marcia McNutt. However, she recently switched her position and supports its construction — her reason? The pipeline will save the country money.
Current Event February 17, 2014
Twist, lick, and dunk is familiar to Americans growing up with Oreos, but it did not make sense to Chinese cookie lovers when Oreos were first introduced. It was only after the Oreo team changed the shape and taste of the Oreo did it succeed. Listen to this story to learn what the Chinese Oreo looks like.
Current Event February 14, 2014
Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday, right after Christmas. But this year, Valentine’s Day spending went down compared to previous year’s. Is this a response to the war on Valentine’s Day? Listen to this story to find out why.
Current Event February 13, 2014
All 7,600 CVS Caremark stores will no longer be offering tobacco products for sale. The change is part of the company’s move into healthcare. Listen to this story to hear if this move will really help curtail smoking and promote healthy living.
Current Event January 30, 2014
This year's Super Bowl will be held at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium—but many mistakenly believe it will be held in New York. This could have tremendous economic impact on New Jersey since business will flow to Manhattan rather than stay in New Jersey. Listen to this story to hear what the mayor of the host city has to say.
Current Event January 16, 2014
This month, 50 years after a war on poverty was declared by President Lyndon Johnson, politicians are still fighting over how to help alleviate poverty. This week the two major political parties in the U.S. agreed they need to do more to help the poor, but differ on how. Republicans call to repeal state aid and Democrats claim that those safety nets saved the economy.
Current Event December 10, 2013
The California Gold Rush of 1849 inspired thousands of prospective gold miners to move to California in search of wealth. The Gold Rush peaked in 1852, but people still find gold in California rivers. When the U.S. economy was in a recession in 2007 and 2008, gold prices started to rise and a new generation of gold prospectors headed to California. Listen to hear from these modern day prospectors and learn what drives them in their search for treasure!
Current Event October 31, 2013
In the last 30 years the rich have become richer. Lower-income earners gained 18%, the middle class earned 40%, and the top 1% of wage earners gained 275%. What's a good way to illustrate to students how the gap as widened? Candy Corn! Listen to this story to hear an audio graph of the income gap. Then discuss with students what it means for an economy and society with a large income gap and possible alternatives to redistribute wealth more evenly.