Patt Morrison for March 30, 2010

Mercer 6980
California’s manufacturing sector is already hurting after losing close to one-fifth of its workforce in the last five years. And now the NUMMI auto factory in Fremont is closing, eliminating 4,700 jobs. On top of that, another 15,500 jobs at suppliers across the state are expected to be lost. San Joaquin County already has unemployment rates close to 20 percent, so this closure comes at an especially terrible time. As the vicious unemployment cycle continues across the state, what does this mean for the future California manufacturing?
Mercer 6973
At first glance the first set of recommendations that emerged from the UC Commission on the Future would seem to minimize the value of a vaunted diploma from a UC campus: encouraging some students to complete bachelor’s degrees in three years through extra summer session and fewer requirements; doubling the number of out-of-state students; charging more for popular campuses; and expanding online course offerings. But for a cash-strapped university system that has no prospects of increased revenues coming from the state of California any time soon, the UC system is faced with tough decisions to maintain a high caliber of education and research. Can UC remain one of the best public education institutions in the world while making these sacrifices; and will California’s students get squeezed out with more out-of-state admissions?
Mercer 6974
Expanding the Medicaid system (Medi-Cal in California) so more Californians can have access to affordable health care sounds like a good plan but it could end up costing the state as much as $3 billion a year. And in case you haven’t noticed, California is in the midst of an economic tsunami. Will the Feds kick-in more money to help cover the costs of their health care reform plan or should the states be left holding the bag?
Mercer 6976
How do millions of people worldwide feel having to eat meals with only a dollar a day? Two high-school teachers decided to do it for a month and see if they could survive. They ate on the $4.13-per-day allotment for food stamp recipients, exploring whether or not you can have a healthy diet following the USDA’s “Thrifty Food Plan.” Their experiments started as a mere way to save money but led them to discover a lot about the American food industry, the issue of hunger, and why 36 million Americans have limited food options, even during a national obesity epidemic. Patt talks to Kerri Leonard and Christopher Greenslate about their book and what they learned about food and money.
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