One step forward and two giant steps back. President Trump has made a huge mistake in withdrawing from the multi-party nuclear agreement with Iran. His motivation apparently is to please the Israeli and Saudi governments of President Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and possibly salve his own wounded and over-sized ego. There is no Plan B.

So far, President Trump has not yet met an agreement that he does not dislike: NATO, NAFTA, the UN, TPP, Climate Change, Iran and Cuba. He now has trusted enablers around him: Bolton, Pompeo, and Pruitt to execute his desires, and he has exorcised those such as Tillerson, McMaster (and probably soon Kelly) whom he perceives have stood in his way. Let’s see what he can do.

Sunday, I attended a fundraiser for Marshall Tuck who is running for State Superintendent of Schools. I was impressed both by his grasp of the magnitude of the challenges facing California’s education system and his clear-eyed view of what needs to change. We are now the 5th largest economy in the world, yet our state ranks in the bottom 10 on public education. It did not used to be that way. In the 70’s we were in the top ten in performance and funding.

There is not a lot of doubt that President Trump has a lot of trouble telling the truth and that he does it consistently and persistently in all aspects of his life from the highly personal to the professional. The consequences are as yet unknown. I’m most disturbed about its impact on the nation’s youth.

I have been immersed in Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses Grant, the leading General of the Civil War, two term President, an extraordinary champion of civil rights and symbol of corruption. There is a lot of resonance and hard lessons for our own turbulent times.

Medi-Cal began as health coverage for children and single parents, seniors and the disabled receiving cash assistance. MediCal had become an entirely different program, one dominated by low income working families, even before the advent of the ACA. The traditional “welfare” component of the program, called CalWorks in California, is now only 400,000 low-income children and parents, of its total 13.5 million program enrollees.

California has become an extraordinarily diverse state attracting immigrants from around the world working in and contributing to the success of the state’s technology, agricultural, entertainment, international trade and tourist industries. Immigration in all forms is critical to many aspects of the California economy from high tech to agriculture.

All reform proposals but an employer mandate are difficult to finance in California without major federal financial assistance. Single payer would cost more than the entire budget of the state of California; this is not because it is so much more expensive than the current system but rather due to the need to replace most private sector premiums and cost sharing with new state taxes.