Yesterday, NPR’s Fresh Air discussed money in politics and how recent changes to campaign finance laws have made it difficult to track money spent on elections and who is spending it.
Here is a description of the podcast from the NPR website:
Campaign finance rules allow some groups to not disclose their donors. The New York Times’ Nick Confessore says there could be “influence peddling … because we can’t see the money changing hands.”
On October 17, 2014, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen voice her concerns about student loan debt and record high income inequality. Earlier this week, an hour of The Diane Rehm Show was devoted to Yellen’s comments.
Here is a description of the segment:
Earlier this month Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke of the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and income in this country. She warned that Americans at lower income levels have relatively very little chance to advance, and she questioned whether “this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history”. Some criticized her for stepping so squarely into what many perceive to be a partisan debate. Others argue that recent Fed policies have themselves contributed to the economic divide. Please join us as Senator Elizabeth Warren and three economists discuss what’s driving economic inequality and what, if anything, we should do about it.
Scott Winship: Walter B. Wriston fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research; formerly research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Dean Baker: co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research and blogger, Beat the Press; author of “The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.”
Elizabeth Warren: U.S. Senator, D, Massachusetts; author of The New York Times bestselling memoir, “A Fighting Chance” (2014)
Edward Kleinbard: professor of law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law; author of the forthcoming book: “We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money” (October 2014).
The most recent episode of the BBC’s Moral Maze debated the case of Ched Evans, a convicted rapist who seeks to return to playing professional football in England. Although the story has received modest attention in America (here is a link to a New York Times article story), it has created a national debate in England.
Here is a description of the Moral Maze debate from the BBC’s website:
The case of the footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans is a morality tale for our times. Evans, who played for Wales and Sheffield United, was jailed for 5 and a half years after being found guilty of raping a woman who was so drunk she couldn’t give her consent. Clayton McDonald, then a Port Vale defender, who was also involved, was cleared of the same charge. Evans has always maintained his innocence and has not apologised to the victim. He’s now been released on licence and there are calls for him to return to his footballing career. An online petition with 150,000 signatures says Sheffield United should not take him back. The story may read like a tawdry tabloid expose, but it actually goes to the heart of the kind of society we want and the kind of people we want to be. Should a convicted rapist who’s served his time and maintains his innocence be entitled to get his job back? Does the need for forgiveness and rehabilitation trump the need for continuing disgrace and the need to make an example of someone who for many should be a role model? Does the fact of being a high profile figure put you in a different moral category that deserves extra punished? Or does that send out a message that even though you’ve served your time you still may not be allowed the chance to rebuild your life and reintegrate in to society.
Panellists: Michael Portillo, Melanie Phillips, Claire Fox, Giles Fraser
Witnesses: Charlotte Webster, David Walsh, Dr Clare Carlisle, Dr Nina Burrowes
In recent years, Kansas has lived a conservative economic fantasy: dramatically cut taxes. The most recent Planet Money podcast discusses this economic experiment.
Here is a description of the episode from the NPR website:
Today on the show, a Republican governor lives the dream. He cuts taxes dramatically in his state, and he promises good times ahead. But the good times do not come. Now he’s fighting for his political life.
The most recent episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes featured a story about assisted suicide.
Here is how it began:
A young woman with brain cancer named Brittany Maynard made news recently when she spoke about her decision to end her life rather than succumb to the last ravages of her disease. Maynard moved to Oregon because it has a law that enables terminally ill people to obtain a lethal dose of barbiturates.
Whether doctors and caregivers should be allowed to help someone like Maynard hasten her own death is the subject of a long-running, state-by-state battle. Our story tonight is about a woman who was prosecuted for allegedly helping her 93-year-old father kill himself. Barbara Mancini lives in Pennsylvania, a state that does not have a law like Oregon’s. Her father was terminally ill and in pain and had repeatedly said he wanted to die. One morning while she was caring for him, Mancini says he asked her to hand him his bottle of morphine.
Barbara Mancini: He asked me to hand him the bottle and I did. I had the dosing syringe in my hand. He took the cap off and he drank what was remaining in the bottle. . . .
The most recent episode of the popular This American Life discussed racism in school discipline as well as rethinking school discipline generally. This story is one of the most interesting podcast I have heard in quite some time.
Here is a description from the This American Life website:
Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There’s no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there’s evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.
Recently, the BBC’s Analysis podcast spoke with the authors of “House of Debt” about the economy and the economic ramifications of debt on the Americans (and British) economy.
Here is a description of the podcast from the BBC’s website:
Robert Peston tests the arguments made by the authors of a new book who claim the financial crisis was caused by exploding household debt – not by the banks. But are they right?
Now the BBC’s Economics Editor, he witnessed at first hand every twist and turn of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. He first exposed the crisis at Northern Rock as well as revealing the failure of Lehman Brothers. This makes him the ideal interviewer to probe the arguments and conclusions of “The House of Debt”, a radical new study of the recession and the lessons to be learnt from it. In discussion with the book’s authors, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, he subjects their arguments to rigorous scrutiny.
They challenge the conventional wisdom that the banks were to blame for the recession in the US and UK. They argue that the real villain was the doubling between 2000 and 2007 in total American household debt to $14 trillion. Much of this was owed by borrowers with the poorest credit ratings. When the house price bubble burst and incomes also fell, these households suddenly stopped spending and plunged the US economy into deep recession.
By this argument, the banks weren’t the real problem. And yet, thanks in large part to their lobbying power, they received help which would have been better directed at helping indebted households. If correct, this means governments and central banks should fundamentally reappraise how they tackle future downturns, focusing much more on households and much less on bankers. For many, this may sound highly attractive. But does the new analysis pass muster with Robert Peston?