Marilyn Geewax

Marilyn Geewax is a senior editor, assigning and editing business radio stories. She also serves as the national economics correspondent for the NPR web site, and regularly discusses economic issues on NPR's mid-day show Here & Now.

Her work contributed to NPR's 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news for "The Foreclosure Nightmare." Geewax also worked on the foreclosure-crisis coverage that was recognized with a 2009 Heywood Broun Award.

Before joining NPR in 2008, Geewax served as the national economics correspondent for Cox Newspapers' Washington Bureau. Before that, she worked at Cox's flagship paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, first as a business reporter and then as a columnist and editorial board member. She got her start as a business reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal.

Over the years, she has filed news stories from China, Japan, South Africa and Europe. Recently, she headed to Europe to participate in the RIAS German/American Journalist Exchange Program.

Geewax was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where she studied economics and international relations. She earned a master's degree at Georgetown University, focusing on international economic affairs, and has a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University.

She is a member of the National Press Club's Board of Governors and serves on the Global Economic Reporting Initiative Committee for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

No question, this was a traumatic, sad week because of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. It's not easy to turn to good news.

But putting grief aside for a moment, there were indeed positive developments for the country in recent days. With cheaper energy, more jobs and higher stock prices, most Americans have been seeing their financial situations improve. Here are some of this week's highlights:

Grocers know this: Cheap turkeys will get customers into the store.

So this Thanksgiving, despite an avian flu that killed 8 million turkeys, shoppers are having no trouble finding bargain birds priced lower than last year.

In fact, store managers have been slicing all sorts of holiday-related food prices this fall.

Some economic matters are stunningly complex. Take the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade deal's details cover more than 6,000 pages.

Others are simple, like the federal minimum wage. A bill to raise the $7.25 hourly wage covers a few paragraphs.

The congressional response is simple, too: Democrats are for it; Republicans against.

The nation's central bank is proposing rules to help ensure that if a big bank were to fail, the costs of a bailout would not fall on taxpayers.

The changes would mark "another important step in addressing the 'too big to fail' problem," Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday.

The rules would force some major banks to issue long-term bonds that — in an emergency — could provide a cushion of capital to cover losses, rather than leaving it to taxpayers.

Most likely, Congress will — as it always does — find a last-minute way to dodge a debt-ceiling crisis.

It's easy to get bored with it all. Scores of times over recent decades, lawmakers have taken the country to the brink of financial catastrophe only to swerve away by voting to allow more debt.

Ever since the Obama administration announced last week it had agreed to a massive trade deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, lawmakers have been saying they must review the agreement's specific language before passing judgment.

"Without having read it ... I'm going to reserve my time to read it," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told NPR when asked whether TPP would win support in Congress.

In recent days, we've seen these headlines:

  • Caterpillar is planning to cut up to 10,000 jobs.
  • After standing for 127 years as an industrial giant, Alcoa will be splitting into two smaller companies.
  • Glencore, a global mining giant, is seeing its stock price crumble amid insolvency rumors.

The three events may seem unrelated, but in fact, all are part of one big story: the commodities-price collapse.

The last time the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, it was summer of 2006 — back when Shakira was topping the music charts, Barry Bonds was breaking home run records and the housing bubble was still inflating.

That's quite a while ago.

In fact, the Fed has been depressing interest rates for so long that, in their adult lifetimes, millennials have never seen anything other than cheap loans for homes and cars.

This week, you'll hear lots and lots about the Federal Reserve, or "the Fed" as its friends call it.

The Fed is considering raising interest rates — and will announce that decision on Thursday. If the central bank were to act, it could have an impact on your financial life, forcing you to eventually pay more for car loans, credit cards, home equity loans and more. Or if you're a retiree with savings, a rate hike could boost your income.

In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation.

Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class.

On Tuesday, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking.

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