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.

Republicans in Congress are on the verge of fulfilling their longtime dream of eliminating the federal estate tax, and they could do it in a way that is even more generous to heirs than previous repeal efforts.

Bills passed by the Senate and the House recently would reduce or scrap the taxes heirs now pay on estates larger than $5.5 million. And the bills would do so without repealing the so-called "stepped-up basis" provision.

Republicans say the tax-cutting overhaul being debated in Congress will jump-start the U.S. economy, leading to a lot more investment and hiring by companies.

But some economists say the tax plans — which would sharply cut corporate and business taxes and eliminate numerous deductions for individuals — come at precisely the wrong time. Lower taxes could also be undercut by Federal Reserve policymakers, who are gradually raising interest rates, they say.

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President Trump has said over and over again that the tax overhaul now being debated by Congress would actually hurt him and other wealthy people, not help them.

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Republicans lawmakers are considering a federal budget "trigger" that would raise taxes if proposed tax cuts don't deliver the economic growth they have promised.

But the proposal is generating a lot of pushback from critics, especially conservatives.

The so-called trigger mechanism would be a legislative provision to rescind corporate tax cuts by as much as $350 billion if revenue targets are not met, Bloomberg News reports.

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Good-government types may look askance, but Donald Trump now has a new place to cash in on his White House role.

The Trump Organization recently started a website, TrumpStore.com, to sell Trump-branded merchandise such as T-shirts, baseball caps and coin banks.

It's not to be confused with Trump's other website, DonaldJTrump.com. That site sells a lot of the same kind of merchandise, but its profits flow to Trump's presidential campaign.

Republicans in Congress say cutting corporate taxes would improve the balance sheet for U.S. businesses, giving them more money to spend on jobs and investment.

But how does anyone know that's what will happen?

It's the question at the heart of the debate taking place on Capitol Hill right now about whether to lower corporate taxes, and by how much.

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President Trump has called it "ridiculous," a "horrible law" that made it difficult for U.S. companies to compete overseas.

But the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars businesses from paying bribes to overseas officials, remains a key part of U.S. efforts to combat global corruption.

Now one study is showing the Trump administration's use of the law may be declining, even as administration officials say they're committed to enforcing it.

In December 2006, workers broke cold ground in lower Manhattan, preparing the way for a glass-clad, towering hotel, to be called Trump SoHo.

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Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

Wealthy donor Robert Mercer, whose money helped elect President Trump, is stepping down from the giant hedge fund he co-heads and is selling his stake in the conservative website Breitbart News to his daughters.

In a letter sent Thursday to his investors at Renaissance Technologies LLC, Mercer, 71, defended his brand of libertarian politics, but also expressed regret for his support of controversial former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

Shortly after World War II, a young Buffalo company — Speed Motor Express — began transporting commercial freight around western New York.

As it weathered the ups and downs of the local economy over the decades, the company slowly expanded its fleet of trucks.

Then in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, expanded trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico. Buffalo faces Canada along the Niagara River.

If only because of its venue, the office of New York district attorney has long been among the highest-profile prosecutorial jobs in the country. The men who have served in it, legal legends such as Thomas Dewey, Frank Hogan and Robert Morgenthau, have often held the job for years, gaining enormous stature and political capital along the way.

Until recently, it seemed the current DA, 63-year-old Cyrus Vance Jr., might enjoy the same long tenure.

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President Trump has surprised a lot of people with some comments on Puerto Rico's debt crisis. The U.S. territory owes some $73 billion to bondholders, money that it's been unable to pay. In an interview on Fox News last night, the president seemed to suggest that the bondholders aren't going to get their money back.

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When President Trump announced a ban on travel for citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries in January, a coalition of officials from various blue states quickly rallied to fight it.

"We just started talking to each other Friday afternoon," recalls New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "By Sunday morning, we had 17 states signed on to say, 'This is unconstitutional. We're going into court to stop it.' And we went into courts all over the country and eventually got it struck down."

Now that Hurricane Irma has left Florida, gasoline supplies are slowly coming back into the state. But thousands of gas stations remain closed anyway.

That's because with electricity out throughout the peninsula, even stations that have access to gas have no way to get it into people's vehicles.

"Power is the issue. Most of these gas stations don't have backup generation that can allow the pumps to work," says John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, an energy investment firm.

As Florida drivers hit the road to escape Hurricane Irma, the demand for gasoline has outpaced supply, leaving filling stations throughout the state short of fuel.

"It's horrible, man," said Aaron Izquierdo, who waited in a long line of cars at a Shell station in Doral on Friday. "Just yesterday I was in line for two hours to wait for gas, and by the time we got to the pump there was no gas."

President Trump won office promising to overturn the global trade system, which he assured voters was rigged against the United States.

And he was particularly unhappy with the five-year-old trade deal with South Korea. At the White House on June 30, he underscored that concern, saying, "The fact is that the United States has trade deficits with many, many countries and we cannot allow that to continue. And we'll start with South Korea right now."

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Drivers who plan to hit the road over Labor Day weekend will face higher gasoline prices because of the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the nation's refineries and pipelines.

After several days of heavy rain and flooding, gas prices reached an average of nearly $2.51 a gallon, up 20 cents since two weeks ago and nearly 30 cents since this time last year, although they fell back a bit Friday.

Refineries throughout the Gulf Coast shut down or reduced production a week ago in anticipation of the high winds and heavy flooding from Harvey.

A friend sent a photo to Jaime Botello's phone Wednesday that confirmed his fears: The house where his family has lived for 30 years is completely flooded.

"All the way to the top," he says.

And like most people in the Houston area, Botello, a welder who was at a shelter with his wife on Wednesday, doesn't have flood insurance. He says he can't afford it.

Bill Gilmer remembers spending the night listening to the winds of Hurricane Ike tear through his suburban Houston neighborhood in September 2008. He also recalls waking up the next morning to hear something completely different.

"The first sound I heard was chainsaws, and I looked out and all my neighbors were out there clearing the streets, clearing their yards, cleaning up their yards," says Gilmer, who directs the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston's C.T. Bauer College of Business.

In what may be her last appearance at the annual economic summit held in Wyoming, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday warned against forgetting the lessons of the Great Recession.

And she staunchly defended the post-crisis regulatory reforms that she says have made banks safer.

With the federal government getting closer to running out of cash to cover all bills on time, companies that evaluate bonds are having to consider how to rate America's creditworthiness.

And their job didn't get any easier on Thursday when President Trump continued his attacks on congressional leaders over their failure to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Other U.S. officials have been trying reassure the financial markets that no default is imminent.

When White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was pushed out of his job last week, it underscored the growing clout of President Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general.

And when Trump announced he was increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Monday, after suggesting for years that he wouldn't, administration officials were quick to note that he was heeding the advice of "the generals."

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank set off a social media firestorm last February when he voiced some overly positive words about the new administration of President Trump.

"To have such a pro-business president is something that's a real asset for this country. I think people should really grab that opportunity," said Plank, whose company makes sports apparel.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday authorized his top trade official to look into whether China is guilty of intellectual property theft, a move that could eventually lead to trade sanctions.

Trump called his action "a very big move" against practices that cost our nation "millions of jobs and billions and billions of dollars each and every year."

When Donald Trump was running for president last year, he never failed to portray the U.S. economy in the direst terms, with sky-high jobless rates, an anemic manufacturing sector and huge trade deficits as far as the eye could see.

"Look, our country is stagnant. We've lost our jobs. We've lost our businesses. We're not making things anymore, relatively speaking," he said during one of the presidential debates.

What a difference an election makes.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished above 22,000 for the first time, buoyed by higher corporate profits and low unemployment.

The Dow, the most widely cited stock index in the world, closed Wednesday at a record of 22,016. It is now up 11 percent for the year and more than 20 percent since President Trump's election in November.

"Earnings are growing and are growing faster than anybody thought. That alone will drive stock prices up," says Brad McMillan, chief financial officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.

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