Topic: Economics

Current Event March 24, 2021

Trading Onions for Oranges on the Space Station

Economics Space Systems Trade

The International Space Station is a large spacecraft and science lab orbiting Earth. The astronauts who live and work there temporarily sometimes miss the foods and other conveniences they enjoyed at home, but there is nowhere to buy them. Instead, they often trade, or barter, with fellow astronauts for the things they want. With astronauts from different countries with various skills and preferences, there are plenty of opportunities to trade. Listen to hear about a lively barter economy in space, and learn what the astronauts all agree should never be traded.

Read More

Current Event March 22, 2021

Pandemic Relief is On The Way

Politics Economics Health

In an address to the nation, President Joe Biden set an aggressive timeline for getting Americans vaccinated and back to normal life. He said he expected the pace of vaccinations will be fast enough to allow friends and family to celebrate the 4th of July holiday together safely. Biden also expressed excitement over his recently passed $1.9 trillion package designed to bring economic relief to Americans. Listen to hear more about Biden’s optimistic remarks and plans for moving the country forward after a very difficult year.

Read More

Current Event March 5, 2021

Debate: Should There Be Universal Basic Income?

Politics Economics Race Class

Some people say universal basic income, or a regular cash payment from the government to each American, is one of the best ways to address economic inequality in America. They argue that guaranteed income would help everyone, especially those who are struggling financially, to cover basic living costs and feel supported during hard times. Opponents argue that guaranteed income could reduce the labor force by encouraging people not to work, and the costs of such a program would be high. Listen to a former mayor explain Martin Luther King, Jr.’s views on economic equality and then debate: Should there be universal basic income?

Read More

Current Event September 16, 2020

Eliminating the Penny

Economics

The penny has become almost worthless, and some people want to see it eliminated. It costs the U.S. Mint two cents to produce every penny, and the Mint loses millions of dollars each year by manufacturing them. Some people have argued the penny should be retired, but many Americans have strong feelings about keeping the historic coin in circulation. Listen to hear more about the controversy surrounding the penny, and learn why all coins are in short supply during the pandemic.

Read More

Current Event June 7, 2020

Weird News: Eating French Fries for the Economy

Economics International Food

Listen to hear why people in Belgium are being asked to double the amount of potatoes they eat.

Vocabulary: request, surplus

Read More

Current Event April 30, 2020

Coping Without a Job During the Pandemic

Economics

If you know someone who has lost a job because of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. More than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits because of job cuts resulting from strict social distancing policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many people are struggling financially and emotionally because of these job losses and other effects of social distancing restrictions. Listen to hear more about the impact of the coronavirus on the economy and what jobs might be in demand once social distancing is over.

Read More

Current Event March 26, 2020

States Lock Down to Protect Lives

Economics Health Business Viruses

States around the country are ordering new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. State governors have put various orders in place, including closing nonessential businesses, restricting big gatherings, and directing people to stay at home. Essential services such as food stores, pharmacies, and public transportation, remain open. These leaders hope limiting social contact will slow the spread of the disease enough to avoid overwhelming hospitals and health care workers with patients. Listen to learn how states plan to enforce the orders and why one governor struggled mightily with his decision to close businesses.

Read More

Current Event March 13, 2020

Debate: Should Cashless Businesses Be Allowed?

Economics Technology Industry

Many stores have recently gone cashless, requiring shoppers to pay for their purchases with a credit card or digital app. These business owners say security is better without cash on hand, and check-out lines move faster. But not everyone has a credit card, say opponents, who claim that the policy discriminates against low-income shoppers. Several big cities have now banned cashless businesses in response to complaints. Listen to hear more about the pros and cons of a cashless economy and then debate: Should cashless businesses be allowed?

Read More

Current Event October 11, 2019

Debate: Should Congress Consider Reparations for Slavery?

Politics Civics/Government Economics Race Culture Slavery U.S. History

Congress is debating whether and how to compensate the descendants of African-American slaves. Some argue that reparations, which means money paid to those who have been wronged, would fairly compensate African-Americans for the crimes committed against their ancestors. Others believe that the past is past, and that today’s citizens should not be required to pay for actions that did not involve them. Listen to hear a congressional representative explain how the legacy of slavery continues to impact black communities today and how the government might invest in addressing ongoing issues, and then debate: Should Congress consider reparations for slavery?

Read More

Current Event June 12, 2019

Students Protest Climate Change

Politics Economics Education Environment Climate Change Protest Human Impacts Trade Industry Branches of Government Conservation

Students around the world have been skipping school to protest their governments’ lack of action on climate change. Now, this movement has come to the United States. American students are gathering together to demand that Congress take action to protect them from the effects of climate change. Listen to find out more about what students are asking of their government leaders and why.

Read More

Current Event June 3, 2019

The Effects of Tariffs

Politics Economics Agriculture Trade International Industry Business

The trade war between China and the United States continues with the Chinese government imposing more tariffs on U.S. imports. While the two nations are arguing about business practices and intellectual property, it is mostly individuals who are feeling the consequences of the trade dispute, which seems far from resolution. Listen to hear more about how U.S. residents are feeling the effects of the trade war between the global superpowers and what could come next.

Read More

Current Event April 24, 2019

Flying Cars

Politics Economics Technology Law Elementary Transportation Class Business Industry

If Uber and other transportation technology companies have their way, people who use ride-hailing apps will soon be able to order flying taxis. These futuristic vehicles would quickly transport passengers from location to location, traveling high above traffic on the ground. Listen to find out how and when the dream of flying cars may become a reality, and what issues need to be considered before then.

Read More