Joe Nocera is an op-ed columnist with The New York Times and a regular contributor to WNYC. He has been reporting on business and finance for three decades in such publications as Fortune, Esquire, Texas Monthly, Newsweek, and joined the Times as a business columnist in April 2004. His most recent book, co-written with Bethany McLean, is All The Devils: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, their best-selling account of the financial crisis.
The trial begins today in the case of Ed O’Bannon vs. the N.C.A.A., a legal dispute that may have longstanding implications for the lucrative world of division I college sports.
All this week, the Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The centerpiece of President Obama's health care reform legislation — and the focus of the debate at the Court — is the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The Court won't issue a ruling until June, but if they do declare the mandate unconstitutional, how much of a real difference will it make for you and your health care?
There's a lot of money to be made off March Madness. At $122 billion, the amount of spending the NCAA's annual basketball tournament generates is equal to Iceland's GDP. That total includes $614 million in TV advertising, $300 million in NCAA merchandise, and $185 million in corporate sponsorship. So why aren't the athletes paid?
Most economic indicators point to America being on the upswing in 2012. The stock market is up. Unemployment is down. And the strains in the global financial markets have eased. Yet 59 percent of voters rate President Obama negatively when it comes to the economy, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll.
Could it be because of the one economic indicator that’s stubbornly not improving: gas prices?
As voters in Michigan prepared to head to the ballots Tuesday, President Obama delivered a rousing speech to the United Auto Workers Union in Washington D.C., taking the opportunity to campaign on the success of the auto-bailout. Three years and some $80 billion later, the rescue of Chrysler and GM has remained fresh in the minds of voters in Michigan. However, the significance of the bank and auto bail-outs may mean something else — or perhaps nothing at all — to voters in other parts of the country.
Greece has once again narrowly avoided defaulting on their $172 billion debt by agreeing to more austerity measures and selling off profits to euro zone countries. However, it's unlikely this development will ease the dire situation of its population: nearly 20,000 Greeks are homeless and 21 percent are unemployed. Stateside, there were signs of recovery when on Tuesday the Dow hit 13,000 for the first time since 2008. But if the last four years have proved nothing else, it's that what happens across the globe can directly impact a market at home.
The theme of last night's State of the Union was "an economy built to last." Vowing to protect the middle class and correct economic inequality, President Obama laid out his plans for financial reform: regulating home prices, penalizing banks that participated in the housing crash, imposing the "Buffet rule," and tightening regulations on private equity and Wall Street.
The issue of how to keep big banks in check is the topic of national conversation as the country slowly climbs out of the recession. Questions on how to prevent another economic recession and regulate the financial sector are part of the heated debate. Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times explains how "complexity risk" — what results when there are too many regulations — could pose a threat to the financial system.