John Ydstie

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street and the federal budget for NPR for two decades. In recent years NPR has broadened his responsibilities, making use of his reporting and interviewing skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. His current focus is reporting on the global financial crisis. Ydstie is also a regular guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During 1991 and 1992 Ydstie was NPR's bureau chief in London. He traveled throughout Europe covering, among other things, the breakup of the Soviet Union and attempts to move Europe toward closer political and economic union. He accompanied U.S. businessmen exploring investment opportunities in Russia as the Soviet Union was crumbling. He was on the scene in The Netherlands when European leaders approved the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union.

In August 1990, Ydstie traveled to Saudi Arabia for NPR as a member of the Pentagon press pool sent to cover the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the early stages of the crisis, Ydstie was the only American radio reporter in the country.

Ydstie has been with NPR since 1979. For two years, he was an associate producer responsible for Midwest coverage. In 1982 he became senior editor on NPR's Washington Desk, overseeing coverage of the federal government, American politics and economics. In 1984, Ydstie joined Morning Edition as the show's senior editor, and later was promoted to the position of executive producer. In 1988, he became NPR's economics correspondent.

During his tenure with NPR, Ydstie has won numerous awards. He was a member of the NPR team that received the George Foster Peabody for its coverage of 9/11. Ydstie's reporting from Saudi Arabia helped NPR win the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1991 for coverage of the Gulf War. Prior to joining NPR, Ydstie was a reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio. While there, he was awarded the Clarion Award for his report "Vietnam Experience and America Today."

A graduate of Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ydstie earned a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, with a major in English literature and a minor in speech communications.

Ydstie was born in Minneapolis, and grew up in rural North Dakota.

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Business
4:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Head Of SEC To Step Down After Four Years

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:18 pm

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairwoman Mary Schapiro is stepping down. She took over the agency in 2009 as it was reeling from criticism over the financial crisis and the Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Schapiro is credited as a consensus builder who restored some stability to the SEC. She is being replaced by SEC commissioner Elisse Walter.

It's All Politics
3:25 am
Mon November 19, 2012

In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Higher Taxes Vs. Closing Loopholes

President Obama, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaks to reporters at the White House on Friday during a meeting to discuss the fiscal cliff.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am

The White House and Congress continue to work on a deal that avoids the fiscal cliff and cuts deficits in the long run. One of the biggest hurdles is President Obama's proposal to raise tax rates for the wealthy.

Republicans think a better course would be to raise revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions for high-income people. The question is, could that method raise enough money.

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Politics
4:07 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Lew, Bowles Rumored To Replace Treasury's Geithner

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 5:43 pm

A second term means some new Cabinet appointments for President Obama, including at the Treasury. After four pretty grueling years, Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear he will be leaving Washington.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Geithner would be staying on through the inauguration. He's also expected to be a "key participant" in "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

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It's All Politics
5:53 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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U.S.
3:26 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Opening Lines Set For A Deal To Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday that House Republicans are willing to accept new revenues "under the right conditions."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:50 pm

With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.

The president and Congress agreed to those automatic measures to force themselves to find a more palatable compromise to rein in deficits. On Wednesday, there was an attempt to jump-start that process.

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Presidential Race
5:21 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

How The New President Might Rebuild Top Cabinets

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

We're going to spend a few minutes now discussing possibilities. Regardless of who wins today's presidential contest, there are reasonable expectations that there will be new faces on the horizon. We've asked NPR reporters who cover some of the key Cabinet-level positions in the U.S. government to tell us about some of the names on that horizon. Let's start with NPR's State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen. Good to have you with us, Michele.

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Economy
5:21 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Sandy's Economic Toll Stretches Far And Wide

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 4:45 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Preliminary estimates of the destruction that Sandy left in its wake are that economic losses could total between 30 and $50 billion.

NPR's John Ydstie reports on the economic effects of the damage to infrastructure and disruption to business caused by this huge storm.

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It's All Politics
5:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

They Call The Election A Horse Race; It Has Real Bettors, Too

The Dublin-based prediction market site Intrade lets users bet money on whom they expect to win a variety of U.S. political races, including the presidential race.
NPR/Intrade screen grab

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

By this point in the campaign season, the presidential polls may have your head spinning. Romney's up 7 points in one, Obama's up 3 in another ... and on any given day, a dozen other polls are swirling, each offering a different take.

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Solve This
4:29 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney's Jobs Plan Relies On His Tax Proposal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands during a rainy campaign rally Monday in Newport News, Va.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:25 am

As part of Solve This, NPR's series on major issues facing the country, we're examining the presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. After looking at President Obama's strategy, it's time to examine the plan of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

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Solve This
4:41 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Obama's Jobs Plan Focuses On Federal Investment

President Obama speaks during a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:48 am

In the next two installments of Solve This, NPR's series on the major issues facing the country, we'll examine each presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. First, President Obama's strategy, then Mitt Romney's.

Job creation is the centerpiece of President Obama's campaign speeches.

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Economy
3:24 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Easy Money May Boost Economy But At What Cost?

Specialist David Pologruto works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 13, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke holds a news conference in Washington. The world's central banks are easing credit, putting more money into the global economy.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:31 pm

The world's central banks are pumping cash into their economies, pushing down interest rates in hopes the ready cash and lower rates will boost borrowing and economic activity. Everyone agrees the action is dramatic and unprecedented, but there's disagreement over whether they will do more harm than good.

Economists know very well the trillions of dollars being added by the central banks to the global economy can be risky.

"These are risks about long-term rises in inflation, housing bubbles potentially building up," says Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute.

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Economy
4:49 am
Tue September 25, 2012

IMF's Lagarde: Uncertainty Slows Global Recovery

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivers remarks at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Monday in Washington, D.C. Lagarde said there are a number of factors eroding growth.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:00 pm

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says recent actions by the European Central Bank mark a positive turning point in Europe's financial crisis. But she warned that uncertainty elsewhere will continue to slow the pace of the global recovery.

Back in July, the IMF was forecasting world growth of just under 4 percent for next year. The group's economists will issue a new forecast in a couple of weeks. Lagarde said the new projection still foresees a gradual recovery, but it will shave a few tenths of a percent off global growth.

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Economy
4:57 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Fed Unveils New Programs To Stimulate Economy

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 11:19 pm

The Federal Reserve expanded its list of stimulus programs Thursday with a new one aimed squarely at the housing market. The Fed will begin buying $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities every month, and will continue doing so until it sees the labor market improve.

Economy
2:03 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Fed Stimulus Expected, But Remedy May Not Be Right

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in June.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 9:02 am

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting in Washington, trying to decide whether — and exactly how — to boost the sluggish economy. Many analysts are expecting the Fed to take action, but they're also beginning to question whether another stimulus program will have any effect.

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Economy
5:02 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

U.S. Treasury Cuts Stake In AIG With $18 Billion Sale

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The U.S. government made a big chunk of money in the stock market today. It sold more than 630 million shares in AIG, the American International Group. The government reluctantly acquired the shares when it injected billions of dollars into the insurance giant to keep it from collapsing. The Treasury Department says the government turned a $15.1 billion dollar profit on the deal. Here's NPR's John Ydstie.

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Election 2012
2:59 pm
Sun September 9, 2012

Critics Say Ryan's Record Belies Tough Deficit Talk

Paul Ryan waves as he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29. Ryan has been celebrated as a deficit hawk with bold vision, but some critics have called his record on deficit-reduction "dismal."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 5:08 pm

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a deficit hawk. Mitt Romney's running mate has proposed budgets that cut non-defense spending significantly, and advocated controlling Medicare costs by making it a voucher program. But critics argue there's a lot in the Wisconsin congressman's record that undermines his deficit-hawk reputation.

When Ryan gave the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last year, he restated his commitment to debt and deficit reduction.

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Business
4:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Federal Reserve May Move To Boost Economy

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:14 am

Fed policymakers appeared to move closer to a decision to add more stimulus to the economy. That's according to minutes released of the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting. The minutes didn't say what the Fed is likely to do next, but indicated many officials supported keeping the federal funds rate at "exceptionally low levels" at least through late 2014.

It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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Economy
5:28 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Geithner Defends Response To LIBOR Scandal

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to talk about the implementation of Dodd Frank. But the questions focused on why the New York Fed, under Geithner, didn't act more aggressively when it first learned about possible manipulation of a key interest rate.

U.S.
6:19 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Offshore Jobs Play Role In Campaigns And Economy

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:46 pm

President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been trading attacks over the issue of American jobs being moved overseas.

The president has pounded Romney for the investments made by his former firm Bain Capital in the 1990s. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has suggested most of the money from the president's stimulus program went to create jobs overseas.

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Economy
4:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Fed Chief Gives Gloomy Economic Review

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We begin our program with two very different views of the economy. Two observers of the economy think the long-term looks very good, as we'll hear in a moment.

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Economy
4:53 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Bernanke: U.S. Economic Growth Is Slowing

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers that progress toward bringing down the nation's high unemployment rate will be "frustratingly slow." He reiterated previous statements that the Fed stands ready to do more, but declined to be specific about what it would do. Bernanke also defended the Fed's role in addressing the manipulation of a benchmark interest rate by at least one big bank.

Business
5:52 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Documents Lift Veil On Bank-Rate-Rigging Scandal

Police wait for protesters to appear at a branch of Barclays Bank in London on July 4.
Olivia Harris Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:24 pm

As the financial crisis began to unfold in 2007, the New York Federal Reserve learned that some banks might have intentionally underestimated the rates they expected to pay for loans from other banks.

Documents the New York Fed released Friday, in response to a request from Congress, show that the banking regulator began to be concerned about the accuracy of LIBOR — or the London Interbank Offered Rate — late in 2007.

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Economy
3:22 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Euro Currency Still Faring Well, For Now

Over the last 13 years, the euro has been worth on average $1.21, only a penny less than its current price of $1.22 per euro.
Michael Probst AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:42 pm

The euro touched a two-year low against the dollar Tuesday, as concerns about the eurozone debt crisis continued.

Despite a recession across much of the eurozone and even predictions of the currency's demise, however, the euro has held up relatively well during this crisis.

Over the last 13 year, it has taken on average $1.21 to buy a euro. Now, even in this midst of this crisis, it's worth virtually the same ($1.22).

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Europe
6:20 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

As Leaders Meet To Save Euro, Nations Face Trade-Off

Critics of Germany's spending policy created effigies of Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) and other German leaders to stand near the chancellery in Berlin.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:37 pm

Over the next two days, European leaders will gather for yet another critical summit in Brussels. They'll try to come to an agreement to boost European growth, save Spanish banks and relieve financial market pressure on Spain and Italy. Each national leader will also face a trade-off that involves sacrificing sovereignty to get economic stability.

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Europe
6:05 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

Economy
5:34 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Federal Reserve Cuts Back U.S. Growth Forecast

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, D.C.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Economy
4:46 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Investors Look To The Fed For An Economic Boost

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:59 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.

U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.

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Europe
4:45 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Initial Relief Over Spain's Bailout Fades To Worry

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:10 pm

Financial markets did not show much enthusiasm for the European Union's plan to rescue Spanish banks. While stock markets across Europe managed to hang on to small gains, the interest rate Spain has to pay to borrow actually went up.

Economy
5:38 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Federal Reserve Predicts Moderate Economic Growth

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 5:54 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the Joint Economic Committee on Thursday. Bernanke said the economy is facing some "headwinds," but that he expects it to continue growing at a moderate pace.

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