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The Backcountry Boom

Dec 15, 2020

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

At the moment, it is impossible to buy an electric pickup. That's about to change, though. Automakers from Tesla and General Motors to Ford, Rivian and Lordstown, are all racing to bring them to market. NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

Updated Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. ET

The Federal Trade Commission is demanding that nine social media and tech companies share details on how they harness users' data and what they do with the information.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The email began, "Hosts like you are a foundation of our company." Tom Krones, an Airbnb host based in Austin, Texas, swiftly discarded it. That was Nov. 16.

Now, Krones says, "I am totally kicking myself."

Since Airbnb made its public debut on the stock market Thursday, shattering expectations and doubling its offering price, regrets are piling up among hosts like Krones, who received the email last month with the less-than-enticing subject line "Airbnb's Directed Share Program."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Gerald Harris has been busy during this pandemic, along with two other friends. Here's how their weeks usually start.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Robert R. Reilly is taking the reins at the Voice of America with extreme, publicly stated views on some subjects that may complicate his mission of sharing news and U.S. values with vast audiences around the globe.

The pandemic has made 2020 a crazy year for the movie industry. And Warner Bros. made a recent announcement that guarantees next year will be just as upside-down.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Online sales are up, and shipping companies are having trouble keeping up. And slow shipping hurts small businesses. Sally Herships and Cardiff Garcia from our daily economics podcast The Indicator From Planet Money explain.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general unveiled blockbuster lawsuits accusing Facebook of crushing competition and calling for the tech giant to be broken up.

The twin complaints together run to nearly 200 pages documenting how Facebook became so powerful — and how, according to the government, it broke the law along the way.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode A Century Of Money.

At large corporations like Disney, many employees can barely get by. Filmmaker and Disney descendant Abigail Disney says that's unacceptable. She calls on Disney and others to put people over profit.

About Abigail Disney

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode A Century Of Money.

At age 55, Elizabeth White lost her job--and her entire safety net--in the 2008 recession. Her story isn't uncommon. White says, now more older adults are pushed out of their jobs and into poverty.

About Elizabeth White

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode A Century Of Money.

Acquiring debt and buying on credit has been the American way since the 1920s. Financial advisor Tammy Lally describes the toll that consumerism and money-shame had on her family in the early 2000s.

About Tammy Lally

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Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris defeated Donald Trump twice this year: once at the polls and again for Time's Person of the Year.

Time's choice to name Biden and Harris over Trump, who was also shortlisted, marks the first time a president-elect and vice president-elect have appeared together on a Person of the Year cover. Harris is also the first vice president-elect to get the designation.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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NOEL KING, HOST:

A COVID-19 vaccine could be available soon to millions of Americans who have been designated as most in need of one.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Denver's beloved local chain — founded in 1971 — has been having a rough year. Several of its locations had to close temporarily because of the pandemic, making a massive dent in sales.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET

A company that started as a single air mattress for rent in a San Francisco apartment is now worth $100 billion.

Airbnb made its long-awaited stock market debut on Thursday and more than doubled its offering price.

From afar, it may have appeared as a peculiar time for a lodging company to go public, as the coronavirus continues to devastate the travel and hospitality industry. Wall Street, however, has a different story to tell.

Unemployment claims jumped sharply last week as a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths put new pressure on the U.S. economy just before critical coronavirus aid programs are set to expire.

The Labor Department said 853,000 people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Dec. 5 — a sharp increase of 137,000 from the previous week.

Claims for a special federal program for gig workers and the self-employed, who ordinarily are not eligible for unemployment relief, also jumped, by 48%.

Jobless Claims Jump To More Than 850,000

Dec 10, 2020

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET

In a 17-4 vote, with one abstention, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech be authorized for emergency use during the coronavirus pandemic.

The vote in favor of the vaccine was taken to answer the agency's question: Do the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks for use in people age 16 and older?

The agency typically follows the advice of its expert advisers.

Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET

You probably think 2020 has turned out to be a pretty lousy year, what with the coronavirus pandemic, a global recession and unceasing partisan warfare in Washington.

Then again, you're not Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.

Thanks to soaring stock prices at Tesla, the company Musk founded, the quirky South African-born entrepreneur has seen his personal wealth soar to unimaginable heights of $147 billion.

With Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine poised for Food and Drug Administration authorization for emergency use, there's speculation about when the United States will buy another batch of doses — and whether the Trump administration already missed its chance.

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