Economy

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

President Donald Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order on Tuesday in an effort to prevent companies from choosing low-wage foreign workers over Americans. The order takes aim at the federal government’s H-1B visa program, which is supposed to help businesses hire highly-skilled, temporary workers from other countries. But critics of the program say it undercuts American workers and that most H-1B visas simply go to IT workers. But supporters say the program is vital to the tech industry, and argue that President Trump’s changes could hurt innovation. In this hour, we discuss President Trump’s order and how it could affect Silicon Valley.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks to workers at Carrier air conditioning and heating on December 1, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

President-elect Trump has said he’ll withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate NAFTA and impose new tariffs on imports from China and Mexico. He has also called out U.S. companies like General Motors and Carrier for moving jobs abroad. His positions signal a radical departure from a long-standing bipartisan consensus on the value of free trade, which proponents say benefits workers and consumers alike. We discuss the potential economic impacts of the Trump administration’s trade policies.

A real estate agent tours a home for sale during an open house May 4, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

A recent report from the California Association of Realtors shows pending sales in the Bay Area dipped 11.6 percent between October 2016 and October 2015.And for California as a whole, the number of properties receiving multiple offers was down for the seventh straight month, from 63 percent to 59 percent. We’ll get the latest data on the region’s housing market, including where home and rental prices are heading in 2017.

A bird's eye view map of San Francisco in 1873

From the gold rush to World War II to the current tech boom, workers and entrepreneurs have flocked to the Bay Area to make their fortunes and spend their money. We’ll examine how past economic booms and busts have shaped the Bay Area as part of KQED’s new Boomtown series. The series will explore the changing Bay Area — the surging economy, the cost of living, gentrification and displacement.

 

 

 

 

JD Vance poses for a portrait.

“There is no group of Americans more pessimistic than working-class whites,” writes author J.D. Vance in his new memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” Born into a Scots-Irish family in rural Kentucky, Vance describes the economic anxiety, familial dysfunction and disaffection that characterizes today’s poor white Americans. We’ll talk to Vance about his memoir, hear his thoughts on why Trump appeals to low-income whites, and learn about his journey from Appalachia to the Rust Belt to Silicon Valley.

Anja Manuel

During Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the U.S., the Indian Prime Minister urged closer ties between the two democracies to anchor global “peace, prosperity and stability.” Author and former state department official Anja Manuel makes a similar point in her book, “This Brave New World.” Manuel posits that the U.S. forsakes its relationship with India and instead fixates on China. She’ll join us to discuss her book and why it’s vital that the U.S. work to keep both major powers as allies.

A campaign group backing an unconditional minimum income in Switzerland set a Guinness Record for the world's largest poster on May 14, 2016.

What if the government guaranteed an income to all people, regardless of their financial means? Known as a “universal basic income,” the concept is gaining followers on the political left and right who see it as a tool to reduce income inequality and prepare workers for a future where many jobs will be automated. Critics argue that it would be prohibitively expensive. Pilot programs, including one in Oakland, are exploring the effects of a guaranteed income at the local level and yesterday, in a historic referendum, Swiss voters decided against adopting a universal national income.

Protesters gather  to demand more jobs.

The Commerce Department says the national economy is still growing albeit very slowly, thanks to an uptick in consumer spending and a boom in the housing market. While some have taken this as a sign that the country is getting back on its feet after the Great Recession, there are other signs that point to a less rosy future. This year, business investments have declined amid a slowdown in job growth. In California, layoffs and a steady decline in investor funding have raised fears that we may be in a tech bubble that is deflating. We’ll discuss economic trends in the Bay Area and across the nation at large.

Wealthy people are far more likely than those with lower incomes to say that people get rich because they work hard, according to a Pew Research Center study. Economist and New York Times columnist Robert Frank says discounting the role of luck in success can make people less generous and public spirited. In his book, “Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy”, Frank says that when people do learn to recognize their luck – including the luck of being born in a developed country – they become more generous and, as an extra bonus, that gratitude may even increase their good fortune.

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