What would happen if the government moved away from financial aid for college students and more towards work study? Marketplace economics contributor Chris Farrell joins Morning Report host David Brancaccio to make his case for growing work study. Click on the audio player above to hear more.
The 329,000 applications filed last week for unemployment insurance were more than economists expected. One theory: Easter's relatively late date may have skewed the numbers.
[UPDATED: 8:13AM EDT] General Motors said this morning that its profit fell 86 percent, its worst quarter since came out of bankruptcy in 2009. A series of recalls hurt the auto giant, but excluding these one-time items, profits radically beat expectations.
GM is suffering not just from bad weather during the winter months -- but also from bad PR over its handling of faulty ignition switches going back ten years.
The problem has caused at least 13 deaths, and the belated recall -- in February 2014 -- could cost the company $1.3 billion. GM faces ongoing inquiries into its knowledge and handling of the defect, as well as lawsuits from consumers.
Since emerging from bankruptcy at the end of the recession in June 2009, GM has gone from a message of redemption to an acknowledgment of mistakes.
"We will not shirk from our responsibilities now and in the future," new CEO Mary Barra told a Congressional hearing earlier this month about the ignition-switch recall. "Today's GM will do the right thing."
That appears to include heads moving and rolling. Several top executives, in HR, communications and engineering, are out, says Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau, an auto-industry news service.
"Since the recall we have been seeing more and more changes in mid- to upper-management," says Eisenstein, and he adds that company executives have signaled to expect more of the same.
Meanwhile, GM plans to staff up two new engineering divisions -- one specifically to deal with safety and quality problems.
"The image of the company as a huge lumbering company where management holds back on innovation and change is an image that the company’s going to have to rid itself of very quickly," says Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University who studies the auto industry. And he says HR shuffles alone aren’t likely to accomplish that goal.
The 15-year-old boy hid in the wheel well of a jet that flew Sunday from San Jose, Calif., to Maui. Though temperatures plunged and oxygen was scant, he survived. The father says Allah "saved him."
It’s been almost eight years since "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore’s call-to-action on climate change. Now the televison channel Showtime is taking up the challenge with its nine-part docu-series "Years of Living Dangerously." In between these two films, advocates have learned a lot about communicating climate change. No. 1, it’s harder than anybody thought.
After years of dire warnings, a little over half of Americans worry about climate change “only a little,” if at all, according to a Gallup poll.
“At first the attitude was, the truth speaks for itself,” says Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School and a member of the Cultural Cognition Project. “Show them the valid science and the people will understand. That’s clearly wrong.”
Ed Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, says there are at least three things “we know that you shouldn’t do,” when communicating the science: don't use language people don’t understand, don't use too many numbers, and don't talk about “plants, penguins and polar bears” instead of people. Maibach says another error is talking about the threat of climate change without giving people solutions.
Elke Webber, a business and psychology professor Columbia University’s Earth Institute, takes that one step further. She believes that instead of “scare campaigns” and “visions of apocalyptic futures,” climate advocates need to present visions of what a world less dependent on fossil fuels would look like.
“Focus on the benefits,” Webber says. “Scare campaigns work extremely well when there’s a simple thing you can do to remove the danger. But if it takes protracted action, over time, nobody wants to feel bad for that length of time. People just tune out.”
The real challenge, however, may be to talk about climate change in ways that don’t push people’s cultural and political buttons. Dan Kahan’s research shows that the way people view climate change is closely tied to their values.
People “aggressively filter” information that doesn’t conform to their worldview.
“And remarkably the more proficient somebody is at making sense of empirical data," he says, "the more pronounced this tendency is going to.”
Robert Lalasz, director of science communications at the Nature Conservancy, is convinced that real progress will come at the local level, where people are already confronting drought and rising seas and looking to community leaders for solutions.
“We need to show people that the people they respect and trust are paying attention to climate science and using it to make decisions about issues they’re dealing with right now and issues in the future,” Lalasz says. Those conversations, however, tend to be about adaptiing to the effects of climate change. The question is whether they can help move the needle on mitigating it, before it's too late.