Chris Arnold

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting a record of nearly $13 trillion. And auto loans, home loans and credit card debt are all still on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That has some economists saying the lessons of the bubble of borrowing in the run-up to the Great Recession have already been forgotten.

The Trump administration on Wednesday will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. And despite very tough talk about NAFTA during the campaign, it appears the administration has backed away from a major assault on the decades-old trade deal.

And that is a relief to businesses in all three countries.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump clearly tapped into frustration about workers who had lost jobs in manufacturing. And he painted NAFTA as one of the central villains responsible for stealing Americans jobs.

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STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

Every day, more than 10 Americans suffer amputations on what is by far the most dangerous woodworking tool: the table saw. Regulators in Washington, D.C., are moving closer to adopting a rule that would make new saws so much safer that they could prevent 99 percent of serious accidents.

Wells Fargo is back in the spotlight for another scandal. This time, for signing up 490,000 auto-loan customers for insurance they didn't need.

This comes less than a year after the bank generated a massive public outcry for opening millions of unwanted accounts for customers.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell this week said his company is making a striking shift in its thinking: It now expects oil prices to remain low forever. The global oil glut of recent years shows no sign of diminishing. Energy demand has leveled off. And if electric vehicles take off, oil prices could come under even more downward pressure.

Wells Fargo bank has struck a settlement to reimburse customers who were harmed when bank employees created unwanted accounts in their names. A federal judge has granted a preliminary approval for the settlement in the class action case.

Wells Fargo says compensation will depend on the financial harm customers suffered. Someone who paid an improper $35 dollar fee likely will receive less money than someone whose credit score was damaged and had to accept a home loan with a higher interest rate.

Home prices have finally clawed their way back to the peak of the housing bubble. That's on average nationally. The story is very different when you zoom in on different counties or cities in particular.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two things we know - interest rates are low; consumer confidence is high, which means the housing market should be hot. But it is not. It's just OK.

NPR's Chris Arnold has been asking, why?

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday night to rescind an Obama-era policy that allows states to offer retirement savings plans to millions of workers.

Retiree and worker protection groups say the move will hurt employees at small businesses.

Many small businesses say they can't afford to set up retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, for their workers. That's a big reason why so many Americans aren't saving, says Cristina Martin Firvida, the AARP's director of government affairs.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

United Airlines says it will never again use police to forcibly remove passengers from overfull flights. But this week's public relations disaster for United highlights a problem that airlines face every day: how to entice people to give up their seats voluntarily.

NPR reached out to some of the top thinkers in the world of "game theory" who say they think the industry could be doing a much better job. Here are some solutions they offered.

Treat the problem as a game.

Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the administration has made a move that has some U.S.-China experts scratching their heads. The Commerce Department has quietly put a notice into the Federal Register stating that the U.S. will review a hot-button issue between the two superpowers.

The stock market's been charging higher lately. After the Dow Jones industrial average topped 20,000 for the first time in history in January, it kept surging to close above 21,000 earlier this week. So what's going on with the stock market and what does it mean for your retirement account?

Over the past two weeks, the Trump administration has taken steps to delay and perhaps scuttle a new rule designed to save American workers billions of dollars they currently pay in excessive fees in their retirement accounts.

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