PODCAST: Romney's '47 percent' and oil prices

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the crowd at the 134th National Guard Association Convention at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, September 11, 2012 in Reno, Nevada.

The morning mystery: What going on with oil? Mid-day yesterday oil prices dropped three dollars in about a minute -- and they have kept falling ever since. So far today they're down another quarter percent. Was this a computer error -- or someone's "fat finger" on the button, as they say. Or is oil falling for a reason? 

Far out in the future, the context changes even more as oil wells start to dry up. A few researchers and entrepreneurs in Texas see a chance to recycle old wells and create plenty more energy.

FedEx says the declining global economy will eat into its profits for the rest of the year. FedEx is down more than 2 percent in early trading. Huge sales of Apple's iPhone 5, though, might lead to good news for FedEx and other shipping companies

And new numbers for July show more foreigners were seeking safety in U.S. Treasury bonds -- another sign of uncertainty elsewhere in the world. Here at home, the National Association of Home Builders says the mood among people who build houses is the best it's been since 2006.

Along with oil, the other big news today continues to be Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is standing by his words from a private fundraiser -- that were caught on videotape. In the video, which was obtained by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, Romney says 47 percent of the country pay no income tax and are therefore predisposed to vote for President Obama. That video is already dominating the political headlines. So let's get the facts about that 47 percent from Roberton Williams, a senior fellow
at the Tax Policy Center in Washington.

Speaking of politics, you can't catch a political speech these days without hearing about the middle class. Conventional wisdom says the path to the modern middle class requires a college degree. But a study out today finds 29 million jobs that provide middle class pay -- yet don't require a bachelor's degree.

If you commuted to work this morning, how are you getting there? The American Public Transportation Association says lots more of us are taking the bus or the train. Today the APTA puts out its latest transit ridership report. We talk with CEO Michael Melaniphy about the report.

And finally, interesting bit of news for "Star Trek" fans -- or really anybody who'd like to get far away from the planet earth. Building a "warp drive" might be quite a bit easier than we thought. Here's the trick -- so physicists, listen up: If you are able to bend the space time continuum with a shell around your spaceship shaped like a donut, you might be able to travel 10 times the speed of light. And lest you think I am wasting your time with some wacko theory, this was NASA sharing this insight at an interstellar spaceflight symposium on Friday.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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