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.
Word is that the head of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, is on the short list to be the new boss of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA system has more in common with the renowned Cleveland Clinic than you might think, despite its recent problems. We look at some of the similarities between the two organizations. Plus, the protests and appeals of Walmart workers are a far cry from the labor movement that organized the country's major industries many decades ago. The reliance on protests and publicity just goes to show how limited labor organizers have become, and how difficult it is to organize low-wage industries whose workers can't afford to risk their jobs. We'll also take a look at a couple hearings on the hill including one heard this morning regarding student debt. Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill that would let students refinance their federal student loans. Why can't they do that now? And what would it mean if they could?
A national poll shows there is broad public support for the EPA clean up of coal-burning generating plants. But the EPA's proposal does not eliminate coal. In fact, coal would still power 30 percent of electricity generation by 2030. What the rules are likely to do is move utilities to do what they're already doing for business reasons- eliminate their most inefficient, therefore most polluting, plants. Then, Conde Nast is getting into the business of teaching. The renowned media company that already teaches a Vogue fashion course in London is working with universities to create accredited certificate programs. We 'll take a look at the range of knowledge they might impart: from Wired to Golf digest to the New Yorker. Moving on to the auto industry- auto sales figures out today show a big jump in sales for major manufacturers, including Chrysler, GM and Nissan. What's behind the sudden rise in sales and why do consumers now feel able to shell out on autos? We investigate.
Carbon must be reduced by some baseline, and the EPA has settled on the year 2005. We look at how 2005 gives utilities a head start in meeting carbon reductions that in fact are pretty immediate. Plus, the NSA is collecting a huge number of photos and is relying heavily on software to complete their facial recognition project. We take a look at efforts to develop that software, how good is it right now and how much effort is going into perfecting it. We also ask, to what extent have commercial developers done the NSA's work for them? Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't count those jobless for 27 weeks or more as unemployed if they haven't looked for work in four weeks. Wait, what? They're still unemployed. Why not count them? We investigate into the question and uncover whose came up with this practice and why.
President Obama announced Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation earlier today. That solves some of the political fallout, but the problems at the VA remain- doctor staffing is still too low and waiting times are too long. So how do we fix those? Plus, Tech titan Steve Ballmer has won the bidding process to buy the LA Clippers. What will the eventual new owner get ? Among other things, he’ll have the ability to sell lucrative television rights to the team’s games as well as having somewhere to park all his money.
The latest figures show a 1% contraction in the first quarter of this year- the economy's worst performance in three years. But should people despair over a poor GDP figure? Why do we place such importance on the GDP? When it comes to assessing the nation's well-being, can you pretty much choose your indicator? Also, Google release a diversity profile of its work force, showing how male-dominated the company is, with few women and even less blacks and Hispanics. How does this revelation matter for the U.S.'s innovation center? Plus, it suddenly seems that everyone wants a piece of Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ballpark hot dogs. Tyson Foods is out with a $6.1 billion bid, a couple days after Pilgrim's Pride made a $5.5 billion offer. We look at why Hillshire has become a hot property.
In a long- awaited report, the Federal Trade Commission today called for consumers to have more control over their personal information. The FTC wants Congress to consider legislation restricting the way data brokers can use the information they gather from "online" and "offline" sources. For example: What consumers buy, their social media activity, magazine subscriptions and political affiliations. In this episode we look at how the data brokers operate. Also, Google recently introduced a prototype for their self-driving vehicle. Generation of Americans have experienced driver's-ed as a rite of passage, sitting behind a wheel while a driving instructor with his own set of controls yells, "Cwutch it! Cwutch it!!!!" (Or maybe not...) Now that Google is developing a second-generation self-guided car with no controls for a human driver to grab, it is possible to imagine a life where people in cars don't even need to know how to drive. ...New York comes to mind. Plus, "The Star Trek vision for a Universal Translator isn't a galaxy away," says corporate VP of Skype, Gurdeep Pall. And with that, comes the unveiling of new translation software that will work in real-time: "Skype Translator" will be launched later this year. After decades of research, Microsoft has apparently made a "breakthrough" in translation software, so we look at how much of a difference this will make, and the impact on international business.