Cardiff Garcia

Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. He joined NPR in November 2017.

Previously, Garcia was the U.S. editor of FT Alphaville, the flagship economics and finance blog of the Financial Times, where for seven years he wrote and edited stories about the U.S. economy and financial markets. He was also the founder and host of FT Alphachat, the Financial Times's award-winning business and economics podcast.

As a guest commentator, he has regularly appeared on media outlets such as Marketplace Radio, WNYC, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, the BBC, and others.

They were, once upon a time, a fixture in circus tents and at birthday parties, but today demand for clowns is down. Fewer people are interested in becoming clowns. Membership in the biggest clown associations has fallen.

Part of the problem is with the image of clowns projected in movies, cartoons, and books: instead of being fun, they're weird, or creepy, or downright menacing.

Faced with that kind of portrayal, clowns are looking for ways to counter this decades-long narrative. Stacey and Cardiff speak to one of them.

Ten years ago, Financial Times reporter John Auther was so worried about the possible contagion from the collapse of Lehman Brothers that he went down to his bank to shift some of his cash to another bank, ensuring that more of it was insured by the government.

What he saw freaked him out even further. The bank was full of Wall Street professionals — the very people who knew firsthand just how bad the financial crisis really was — all standing in line to do what he wanted to do: move their own personal money to accounts protected by deposit insurance.

It's jobs day. The numbers look good. Employers added 201,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate is steady at 3.9 percent.

On today's show, The Indicator's Cardiff Garcia talks with Martha Gimbel, Executive Director of The Hiring Lab at Indeed, where she oversees a team of economists whose very mission is to analyze labor market data.

Over the last couple of days, you sent in truckloads of queries about the job market. Cardiff selected a handful and then Martha answered them, adding her own take on America's employment situation.

NAFTA-splainer

Sep 5, 2018

Cardiff just got back from vacation, and a lot's been happening with the North American Free Trade Agreement while he's been away. There was an agreement between Mexico and the U.S. Canada was in talks at one point, then out, then back in again. Officials flew back and forth. There were lots of headlines. And a deadline. Which was blown.

Phew!

A lot has happened, and we're all pretty confused about what's been going on. So Cardiff thought he'd call Soumaya Keynes of the Economist for a catch-up.

A lot of the economists profiled by Linda Yueh in her book "What Would The Great Economists Do?" are household names: John Maynard Keynes, Adam Smith and Karl Marx.

So we asked Linda to talk to us about two economists whose work has been underrated by history. Joan Robinson, which Linda calls probably the most influential female economist of the 20th century, and Irving Fisher, who came up with the highly influential debt-deflation theory but also made some pretty poor calls on the economy.

So today, we play a game called...who's the most underrated?

Today's beach read recommendation is "It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work," by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founders of Basecamp.

The book reflects the authors' approach for how to create a calm company. Its underlying theme is the tension between the environment that people need to do good work, and the environment that actually exists in most workplaces.

On today's episode, Jason talks to Cardiff.

With all the sound and fury that emanates from the various parts of our nation's capital, it's not always easy to pin down President Trump's economic policy — or if he even has one.

Greg Ip, chief economics commentator at the Wall Street Journal, has written a piece identifying a few patterns that suggest an economic philosophy, whether it was deliberate or not, that sets the president apart from his predecessors. Like the extent to which he helps his favorite industries, how focused he is on China, and how often he cites national security as a motive for his policy decisions.

Cryptokitties have gripped the nation. Well, some of the nation. Cryptokitties are digital cartoon cats that you can buy and sell using a cryptocurrency known as Ethereum. There's a real and active market for them, and they rise and fall in value, just like stocks or bonds. One cryptokitty recently sold for $140,000. And the company that creates these non-fungible felines recently landed a $12 million cash injection from venture capitalists.

All companies start out as private enterprises. That means there are only a handful of shareholders in the firm, and sometimes just one. But at some point, the company's owners might decide to 'go public', and put their shares up for sale on a public exchange for anyone to buy.

SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a financial messaging system for banks. It's a little company, based in Belgium, but for years it has weilded outsize influence on global finance. Now SWIFT's influence has extended to international diplomacy, and the little Belgian firm has landed smack dab in the middle of a bitter transatlantic dispute that could affect the way America conducts foreign policy.

The European Union has fined Google more than $5 billion for abusing the near-ubiquity of its Android operating system. Regulations said Google forced phone makers to pre-install Google apps on their phones or else they wouldn't get Google's operating system for free. Today on the show, we look at Google's Android operating system.

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The United States and China have started their trade war, and it's not clear how long it will last or how it will end.

Economists largely agree that the tariffs used to fight trade wars are destructive, and that the destruction is amplified by the retaliations and escalations of each side.

What if there had been a way to avoid this trade war well before it started, a strategy that would have addressed the conditions that led to the trade war before they became problematic.

To the US Government, imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran was a necessary deterrent to the country's plans for nuclear development. For Amir, it meant losing years of savings. Now he's wondering whether to stay in his country or leave before the economy gets worse.

Episode 852: Two Summer Indicators

Jul 6, 2018

Today we bring you two summertime stories from Planet Money's daily podcast, The Indicator. (Subscribe here.)

Many of the world's flags come from one province in China called Zhejiang. We talk to the owner of a factory there that makes all kinds of flags for all kinds of people: Those little flags people wave at parades on the 4th of July, giant ones that hang off buildings, even campaign flags for American politicians.

When Buzzfeed France tried to shut down its office and let go of at least twelve employees, a judge stopped it. The business had to prove it was not economically viable, and justify its decision to end operations, or otherwise it might have to pay its employees a big severance.

Because in France, if things aren't going well for your business, you can't just close up shop and cut loose your workers — you actually have to prove that you can't afford to stay open. It's a system designed to protect workers, but it also has consequences for the rest of the economy.

The price of oil continued climbing throughout this year, catching forecasters and consumers by surprise. What happened, and what might make it move in the second half of the year?

We talk to John Kemp, senior analyst at Reuters, about the peculiar dynamics of the oil market, the events that have pushed the price up this year, and the potential impact of ongoing geopolitical events like the Iran sanctions and the choices of OPEC.

This is the first episode in a series of mid-year updates about our favorite economic indicators.

Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes are two of the most famous and foundational economists of all time. They also both have birthdays in June. To celebrate these important birthdays, the Indicator takes a look at whose ideas are more relevant today. Cardiff and Stacey pick sides and duke it out.

Music: "Broncos & Bravados"

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CBO vs. POTUS

Jun 12, 2018

The Congressional Budget Office has a long history of disputes with the White House, including the current administration. It has withstood them all.

On this episode of The Indicator, we speak with Alice Rivlin, the first-ever director of the CBO. She explains the origins of the CBO, why it matters, and why the complaints about it from the Trump administration are different from those of the past.

Positively 23rd Street

Jun 8, 2018

Radio reporter Sally Herships, a native New Yorker and longtime friend of the show, has been obsessed with a particular block in midtown Manhattan. Given the crowds and the traffic and the tourists, every inch of the block should be attempting to sell something. Instead it is littered with empty storefronts.

What explains these perplexing retail deserts, both in New York and throughout the rest of the country?

California's cities are in a housing crisis. Almost everyone agrees there aren't enough homes being built. Rents and home prices are skyrocketing, and there's not enough low-income housing to go around.

The California Senate recently voted on a bill to allow construction of apartment buildings near transportation hubs. Senator after senator spoke about the need for more homes. And then rejected the bill.

We asked UCLA's Paavo Monkkonen why Californians say they want more housing, but then reject attempts to make that happen.

Tyler Cowen, economist and polymath, gives us his takes on various parts of American life, economic and otherwise.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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Dollars And Census

Mar 28, 2018

The Trump administration wants to include a citizenship question in the census. That could have big implications for certain municipalities.

The census determines how much federal funding districts get, and how many congressional representatives they get to elect.

If a citizenship question deters undocumented residents from participating in the census, the districts they live in could end up with fewer representatives.

And a lot less money.

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In one of our favorite recurring segments, we ask our guest to tell us about something they read that changed the way they think about the world.

We're trying a new thing (for us): We ask guests to tell us about something they read that changed how they see the world.

Today, Diane Coyle — an economist who writes a blog about economics books — tells us about Micromotives and Macrobehavior by Thomas Schelling.

Coyle says it's helped her understand everything from why it's so hard to get the water temperature in the shower just right to why ABBA wore such ostentatious costumes on stage.

Stimulus Response

Feb 14, 2018

Jared Bernstein has a dilemma. He's a liberal economist, and he's been saying for years that the U.S. needs stimulus — some combination of higher spending and lower taxes — to drive up wages for workers.

Congress and the President recently passed bills to raise spending and cut taxes.

These weren't sold as stimulus packages. They are not Jared Bernstein's dream come true. But they are going to mean lower taxes and higher spending.

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