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.

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.

The Last Straw

Jul 12, 2018

There's a global movement right now to get rid of the plastic straw. Scotland, Vancouver and Taiwan have all put bans in place. So have companies like IKEA, Alaska Airlines and Starbucks. The idea is to start reducing the amount of plastic waste in our oceans. Straws are far from the biggest source of plastic pollution, but it's a start, right? Well... maybe. New research shows that the straw ban could really help the global plastic problem, or could really backfire.

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.

The status of the labor market can't be grasped with just one or two numbers. Context matters — and there is a lot of context.

Are people who were previously jobless and discouraged now rejoining the labor force? Are people quitting or are they being laid off? Are the benefits of the labor market finally extending to groups that did not enjoy them in the earlier stages of the recovery? And when employers complain of a "worker shortage," what exactly are they talking about?

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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One way to think of President Trump's trade policy as a sort of soap opera. There are multiple plotlines, there's high drama, and plot twists abound. And on top of all that, you can walk away for a while, come back, and still know the general thrust of the plot — in this case, the thrust being that President Trump has a penchant for blowing up trade agreements (or at least, saying that he will). Today, we catch you up on the latest dramatic developments and answer a big, looming question: are we in a trade war?

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?

Healthcare is a giant part of the economy, and a huge drain on the public purse. More than a quarter of federal government spending goes to healthcare, which makes it a very political issue.

President Trump has stated his intention to create a more consumer friendly healthcare system... more market-based. Part of that is increasing price transparency for prescription drugs and medical procedures.

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