Lawrence Lessig on Campaign Finance Reform

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Mike talks with Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to his time at Harvard, Professor Lessig clerked for not one, but two of Mike’s intellectual heroes: Judge Richard Posner and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Professor Lessig is the author of numerous books on law, commerce, culture, and ideas. His latest, Republic, Lost, Version 2.0, is a revised and expanded version of Republic, Lost, which Mike says is the best introduction to, and analysis of, not only campaign finance, but the fundamental incentives that drive public policy in the United States.

Professor Lessig followed up on Republic, Lost with a major campaign to enact the reforms he believes to be vital to restoring American democracy, including launching a political action committee, giving a number of TED talks, and most notably, running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2016.

Professor Lessig Recommends
Fifty Shades of Green: High Finance, Political Money, and the U.S. Congress. Thomas Ferguson, Jie Chen, Paul Jorgensen

Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution. Robert C. Post

Unlock Congress. Michael Golden

Follow Lawrence Lessig on Twitter

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This week’s show is sponsored by:
Brooklinen, where listeners get $20 dollars off and free shipping by using promo code tpg at brooklinen.com

Casper, where Politics Guys listeners get $50 dollars toward any mattress purchase by visiting casper.com/tpg

PG109: Health Bill, Spicer Resigns, Sessions’ Rough Week, Electoral Integrity

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This week, Mike and Jay open the show with their thoughts on Senator John McCain, who this week announced that he has a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. Despite their occasional policy differences with Senator McCain, both of the Guys agree that McCain is a genuine American hero and wish him all the best as he fights his cancer.

Next, it’s a look at the confusing case of the Senate health bill, or bills actually, as there are at least four of them out there. Neither Mike nor Jay think any of them are likely to pass, and Mike questions how much of a legislative mastermind Majority Leader Mitch McConnell really is. They also discuss how President Trump might force the Obamacare exchanges into failure.

After that it’s a look at the shakeup in the White House communications operation, President Trump’s lack of faith in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whether Sessions talked with the Russians about policy matters during the campaign, and what to make of President Trump’s electoral integrity commission, which held its first meeting this week.

Mike’s Recommendation This Week:
– My History Can Beat Up Your Politics (Podcast)

Jay’s Recommendation This Week:
– Charles Dickens Makes Me Want to Throw Up. David Mamet

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This week’s show is sponsored by:
Dollar Shave Club, where new members get their 1st month of the Executive Razor with a tube of their Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter for ONLY $5 with free shipping by going to dollarshaveclub.com/TPG

ZipRecruiter, where Politics Guys listeners can post jobs for FREE by going to ZipRecruiter.com/politicsguy

Kenneth Rogoff on Eight Centuries of Financial Folly & The Curse of Cash

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Mike talks with Dr. Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. From 2001–2003, Dr. Rogoff was Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. He’s a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Economic Advisory Panel of the New York Federal Reserve, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Rogoff’s books include Foundations of International Macroeconomics, the standard graduate text in the field, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, and, most recently, The Curse of Cash: How Large-Denomination Bills Aid Crime & Tax Evasion and Constrain Monetary Policy, which just came out in an updated paperback edition.

In this interview, Mike and Dr. Rogoff discuss:
– commonalities in financial crises
– the challenges of analyzing eight centuries of financial data
– whether Dodd-Frank was a step in the right direction
– why stability is inherently destabilizing
– the inevitability of financial crises
– why there are so many $100 bills in circulation
– who benefits from large denomination bills
– recommendations for macroeconomic literacy
– and lots more!

Dr. Rogoff Recommends
Lords of Finance. Liaquat Ahamed
Economix. Michael Goodwin
The Economist

Follow Dr. Rogoff on Twitter
Dr. Rogoff’s Website

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PG108: Health Bills, Meetings with Russians, FBI Confirmation Hearings, & Mike’s Favorite Regulatory Agency

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This week’s show starts off with a look at the latest iteration of the Senate health care bill. While there are some changes from the initial version, Mike is still opposed, Jay is still ‘eh’ and neither of them think it has the votes to pass – at least not without seriously sweetening the pot for some GOP senators and their states.

After that, it’s a look at the recent revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian government connected attorney claiming to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Both Jay and Mike agree that it was incredibly stupid for Trump Jr. to not only take the meeting, but to indicate his eager interest to take the meeting in email. The best possible light to put this in is that the Trump administration is, at the highest level – composed of rank amateurs. The more ominous interpretation is that top Trump campaign operatives knew what they were doing was wrong, but assumed they wouldn’t get caught.

After that, it’s a look at the confirmation hearing for FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray – both the Guys agree he’s a fine choice – and discussion of whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Mike’s favorite regulatory agency) is doing consumers a favor with a new rule banning mandatory arbitration.

What Jay’s Reading
Windfall: The End of the Affair. William F. Buckley

What Mike’s Reading
James Mattis Mercer Island High School interview
Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (documentary)

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This episode is sponsored by Brooklinen – Mike’s new favorite sheets. For $20 off and free shipping, use promo code tpg at brooklinen.com

Harvard’s Gary King on Gerrymandering, Big Data, & Chinese Social Media Use

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Mike talks to Harvard’s Gary King, author or co-author of over 150 scholarly journal articles, 20 open-source software packages, eight books, and winner of more prizes, awards, and honors than you can shake a stick at. Dr. King is a fellow in eight honorary societies, including the National Academy of Sciences. He is unquestionably one of the preeminent political scientists of the last half century.

His work encompasses a broad range of issues including demographic forecasting, legislative redistricting, Chinese government censorship & social media use, bias in Social Security Administration forecasts, analysis of ‘Big Data’, and numerous publications in the area of what statistics and modeling.

Mike and Dr. King discuss gerrymandering, partisan symmetry, bias in Social Security predictions, how the Chinese government uses social media, and lots more.

– Follow Gary King on Twitter
– Dr. King’s jaw-droppingly impressive page at Harvard

This show is sponsored by Brooklinen.com. Mike is super-picky about bedding, and he thinks Brooklinen’s sheets are the best he’s ever slept under. Brooklinen is so confident that you’ll love their sheets that they offer a risk-free 60-night satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty on all of their sheets and comforters. Politics Guys listeners get $20 off AND free shipping by using promo code tpg at Brooklinen.com.

PG107: North Korean Missile Test, American First Meets the G20, Modern Day Presidential, and Illinois Budget

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This week the show kicks off with Mike and Trey talking about the July 4th North Korean Missile Test. The launch is important because it marks the first intercontinental ballistic missile successfully launched by North Korea and Kim Jung Un. Both Mike and Trey agree there are no great options, but that the options that do exist should rule military intervention off the table.

Next Mike and Trey examine the recently concluded G20 summit. The two major points of interest are Trump’s meeting with Putin and the response to the U.S. exiting the Paris agreement. Mike and Trey also briefly look at Trump’s proposal to create an “impenetrable Cyber Security unit” with Russia.

After that, the Guys move on to the CNN / Trump feud. Both Trey and Mike agree that the item is mainly non-news, but that it represents a larger shift in political communication. The real story is the change to the news media and to the way politicians disseminate information. In short, Trump might be right that Tweeting is the “modern day presidential” thing to do, even if the Guys worry about the longer term effects.

Finally the Guys examine the Illinois budget. The budget, which just passed after two years, brought a bit of disagreement between Mike and Trey. Mike arguing that states have a moral obligation to the poor and Trey arguing that lower taxes must be coupled with lower spending across the board.

What Trey’s Reading:
This week Trey is suggesting you play a video game (yes, he means it): Life is Strange. (Note: the game is playable on all major formats and computer).

What Mike’s Reading:
Avik Roy and Ezra Klein debate the Senate GOP’s health bill. The Ezra Klein Show.

Please consider checking out this week’s sponsors:
Seat Geek
, where you can find the best seats at the best prices – fully guaranteed, and it only takes a few taps on the app or a few clicks if you access it through their website. Use our promo code POLITICSGUY for $20 off your first purchase. Go to Seat Geek or download the Seat Geek app to save big on tickets.

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Brooke Gladstone On The Media

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Mike talks to Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of WNYC’s On The Media. Ms. Gladstone has won multiple awards for her reporting, including a National Press Club Award and two Peabody Awards. She’s also the author of two books: The Influencing Machine, a media manifesto in graphic form and, most recently, The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time, which came out in May.

Brooke Gladstone’s Recommended News Sources
Talking Points Memo
Vox
Commentary
The Weekly Standard
National Review
The New York Times
The Washington Post
National Public Radio

Follow Brooke Gladstone on Twitter
https://twitter.com/OTMBrooke

We hope you’ll check out this show’s sponsors:
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PG106: Healthcare Holdup, Travel Ban, Religious Funding, Seattle’s Fight for 15

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This week’s show starts off with Mike and Jay taking a look at the currently stalled Senate GOP healthcare bill. Between the bill’s broad unpopularity and a devastating Congressional Budget Office score, it looks like it’s going to be tough for Mitch McConnell to get this bill through his chamber without some significant changes. While Mike and Jay differ greatly on the merits of Obamacare, they both agree that, to this point, Republicans haven’t offered a serious, carefully considered conservative alternative to it.

Next it’s a look at some big news from the Supreme Court. The Court partially lifted the injunctions imposed by lower federal courts on President Trump’s travel ban, and said it would hear the case in October, at the beginning of its next term. Both Jay and Mike feel this is the right call, though Jay feels the injunction should have been completely lifted, which Mike doesn’t agree with. After that, they discuss a Supreme Court decision that allows state funding for religious institutions. Jay feels the seven members in the majority got it right, and Mike just barely agrees, though he feels that Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg make some important points in dissent.

After that, the Guys talk about a new research study on Seattle’s minimum wage experiment. The study, which found that the boost actually cost workers money, was praised by the right, with the left finding plenty of holes in the methodology. Jay feels this vindicates conservative common sense, while Mike argues that it’s only one flawed study (as all studies are, to a certain extent) and although it should be taken into consideration, the weight of the evidence still supports the overall benefit of minimum wage hikes.

What Jay’s Reading:
Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich. Richard Reeves

On Campus, Failure is on the Syllabus. Jessica Bennett

What Mike’s Reading:
The Policy Scout Podcast


Please consider checking out this week’s sponsors:

Seat Geek, where you can find the best seats at the best prices – fully guaranteed, and it only takes a few taps on the app or a few clicks if you access it through their website. Use our promo code POLITICSGUY for $20 off your first purchase. Go to seatgeek.com or download the Seat Geek app to save big on tickets.

Dollar Shave Club, the smarter choice for a great shave at a great price, conveniently delivered right to your door. New members get their 1st month of the Executive Razor with a tube of their Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter for ONLY $5 with FREE shipping by going to dollarshaveclub.com/tpg