Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Prior to moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position he covered the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Zarroli added to NPR's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Before joining the NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

Zarroli graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

The White House says restoring the U.S. manufacturing sector is an essential part of getting the economy back on track.

GOP candidate Rick Santorum wants to see tax breaks for manufacturing companies, and the Obama administration proposed something similar last week. But economists say tax breaks may not be the best way to help manufacturers right now.

Over the years, the steady loss of good factory jobs is a big reason why wages have stagnated for people who never went to college, says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's corporate tax system would sharply cut the taxes that U.S. companies pay. But it would also eliminate many of the loopholes that help them pare down what they owe.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the proposal unveiled Wednesday should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, by doing what both sides "say is important to do ... which is lower the rate, broaden the base [and] eliminate the underbrush of unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code."

European finance ministers are expected to vote on the latest $171 billion bailout package for Greece Monday. The package needs to be approved so Greece can make payments on bonds that come due a month from now. Even if the bailout is approved, it is likely to be only a temporary solution to Greece's troubles.

Across the Atlantic in New York, Hans Humes likes to ride his bike from his home in Brooklyn to his office at Greylock Capital Management in Manhattan. On a recent morning he showed up for our interview still carrying his bike helmet.

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that religious groups won't have to pay for contraceptive services themselves. Instead, the cost would be borne by their insurance companies.

That compromise has raised a whole new set of questions on its own, though.

Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.

At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney earned more than $42 million over the past two years — the bulk of it from an array of stocks and investment funds. And he paid about 15 percent of what he made in taxes. The release of some 500 pages of tax returns give a much fuller picture of how he made his money and what he did with it.

As the U.S. economy struggled to get back on its feet over the past few years, a lot of states found themselves contending with big budget deficits. They responded by firing workers, raising taxes and cutting spending. Now the fiscal picture for a lot of states is brightening a bit — but many still face enormous challenges.

The end could soon be near for Kodak, and the iconic film manufacturer may have itself to blame.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., could be headed into bankruptcy over the next few weeks. The company has seen its profits plunge in recent years, largely because of the popularity of digital cameras.

Kodak is trying to move into new product lines like inkjet printers, but in the meantime it's attempting to raise cash by selling off some of the patents it's developed over the years.

2011 was a year of crisis and revolution, and that took a big toll on the world's financial markets. In the United States, stocks lurched along for much of the year, losing and gaining ground over and over again.

Stock prices are ending the year just about where they were at the beginning, and anyone who invested in anything but the bluest of blue chip stocks probably didn't make much money. And yet, the flat trend lines masked a huge amount of volatility, says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank.

As the debt crisis spreads across Europe, the economy in the region is slowing to a crawl. One place that's starting to feel the impact of the slowdown is the massive port of Rotterdam in Holland. It's the biggest port in the world outside Asia. Much of what's bought and sold in Europe goes through Rotterdam.

The debt crisis in Europe got under way in small, heavily indebted countries like Greece and Ireland, but these days it's also being felt in the wealthy heartland.

The Dutch government says the country probably slipped into a recession at the end of this year, and like other countries, it's having to consider budget cuts.

Ever since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government in 2008, questions have swirled over who was responsible for their collapse. Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in, filing fraud charges against former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and four other former executives.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Lynn Neary. European officials are moving ahead today with a new package of economic reforms. That's after a long night of talks in Brussels. The effort to address the unyielding debt crisis has threatened European unity and one important country, the United Kingdom, has refused to sign off on the reforms. More on that in a moment, but first we hear about the new rules from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

France and Germany are trying to persuade other European countries to sign onto a package of reforms aimed at shoring up the embattled euro. They're hoping to win agreement in time for Friday's big summit of European leaders in Brussels. A failure to reach agreement could send the wrong signal to the financial markets, which are already deeply worried about Europe's fiscal problems.

The major central banks of the world moved Wednesday to prevent a banking crisis in Europe. They're providing more liquidity to the European banking system in hopes that big banks there will remain solvent and continue to make loans. The coordinated move by the central banks sent stock markets soaring. But it will not even begin to fix Europe's fundamental economic problems.



In New York, yesterday, a federal judge rejected a settlement of a fraud case involving Citigroup. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought charges against the bank, had agreed to the $285 million deal. But Judge Jed Rakoff said he didn't believe the settlement was in the public interest. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

As the European debt crisis drags on, one question being asked is what will happen to Italy. The new government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is struggling to convince the financial markets that the country has a plan to pay its debts. Among other things, Monti says he will do something about Italy's long tradition of tax evasion, which is considered somewhat of a national sport.

Enrico Frare isn't a well known name in Italian business. The 36-year-old runs E-group, a small clothing company in the commercial region around Treviso that makes winter sportswear.

But last month, Frare did something that attracted a lot of attention. He bought a full-page ad in Milan's main newspaper appearing in what might politely be called his birthday suit. The caption read: "Every day in Italy an entrepreneur risks losing his shirt."

Over the next few weeks, European leaders have a big task ahead of them. They have to begin fleshing out that big bailout plan unveiled to so much fanfare in Brussels this week. The plan represents the most comprehensive effort so far to resolve Europe's grinding debt problems, which have done so much damage to the world's financial markets this year, but some issues may require a global effort to solve.

Convicted insider trader Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday. Rajaratnam was a founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund.

The Labor Department announced last week that the U.S. economy grew by just 103,000 jobs in September. A number like that isn't even enough to keep up with population growth. The fact that the report was widely greeted as positive news suggests just how low expectations have sunk this year.

Since January, the U.S. economy has been hit by a series of external shocks that brought a modest recovery nearly to a halt. The slowdown, however, may have been under way even before the shocks took place.

Last weekend, pizza magnate Herman Cain did something that surprised the political world: He came in first in a Florida GOP presidential straw poll.

One way Cain has attracted the attention of Republican voters is with what he calls his 9-9-9 plan. It's a cleverly marketed idea for changing the nation's tax code.