Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
Airing on Monday, June 23, 2015: Massachusetts has scrapped the decades-old method of defining low-income students in public schools based on income information submitted on applications for free and reduced price lunch. The new measure relies on whether families receive food stamps and/or other welfare benefits. The shift has “reduced” the number of kids classified as poor. Marketplace looks at this new assessment, its potential impact on school funding and whether it will catch on in other states. Next, Darden Restaurants, owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, announced plans to separate part of the business into a real estate investment trust (REIT). Four hundred and thirty of its 1,500 restaurants will be spun off, and then leased back. Marketplace looks at how this spin-off/lease-back works, and how the real-estate play makes money for Darden and other companies using it.
Airing on Monday, June 22, 2015: Sales of existing homes increased by about 5 percent in May, reaching their highest level since 2009. We look at what’s behind this housing number, and the role of first-time buyers—who accounted for about 30 percent of transactions—in this increase. Next: Instacart is reclassifying part of its workforce as part-timers to get out of the independent contractor issue, which is threatening to drop an anvil on the sharing economy. We’ll use that as the way in, and also look at other approaches to solving this problem, such as the push to create a “dependent contractor,” which would be the first new job classification in years.
Airing on Friday, June 19, 2015: Apple’s effort to get into the streaming business as a latecomer is creating tension between Apple and the musicians it has long relationships with. The company is playing hardball because the stakes are so high. Next: as part of our series on infrastructure and choke points, "The Weak Link," we bring you the second of two stories on the power grid. We last left you with the Connecticut power grid problem. So how to make it better? Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.
Airing on Thursday, June 18, 2015: If you had to grade our nation's electricity infrastructure (that is, the power grid) what grade would you give it? One top engineering organization has handed down a D+. That's right; our system of power plants, poles and wires is aging and unreliable. As a part of our series "The Weak Link," Marketplace sustainability desk reporter Scott Tong examines the power grid. Next: Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal talks to Stephanie Savage, the woman who brought the book “The Astronaut Wives Club” to ABC as a summer mini-series. You might remember Stephanie from her previous shows "Gossip Girl" and "The O.C."
Airing on Wednesday, June 17, 2015: In our installment of “The Weak Link,” Marketplace explores the 710 gap — a five-mile stretch of highway in LA that has been fought over for almost 60 years. Issues surrounding the highway include NIMBY-ism, bureaucratic tangles, haves vs. have nots, regional politics and lots and lots of money. Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal explains. Plus: as a part of "The Weak Link" series, we also take a look at the aging cast iron water pipes under the streets of Los Angeles. Many are corroding and they're dangerously vulnerable in big earthquakes. Turns out they're installing earthquake-resistant pipes just a couple blocks from our studios here. Quake-prone Japan has been manufacturing and installing them for 40 years now but they're rare in the U.S. The L.A. Department of Water and Power is now trying them out as part of a pilot project. Reporter Sarah Gardner walked over to the installation site to see what all the fuss is about.
Airing on Tuesday, June, 16, 2015: Amid the confusing welter of deadlines, institutions, egos and last-minute talks, we look at where we stand in the Greek debt crisis. It’s an issue that never seems to leave the headlines or come any closer to resolution. Next: everybody knows Californian is going through one of its worst droughts and how it emphasizes the state's reliance on imported water. What's less apparent is how vulnerable the aging water infrastructure is, especially in Southern California. As part of our series "Weak Link," sustainability reporter Sarah Gardner has a different kind of California water story — one that just might "shake" you.