Bryan Caplan on The Case Against Education

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Mike welcomes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan back to the show to talk about his latest book, The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

In this episode, Mike and Dr. Caplan discuss the myths that people believe about the value of a college education, if college teaches people job-relevant skills (mostly no), if it teaches them ‘how to think’ (not as far as we can measure), if it’s an economically smart move for the student (not in as many cases as you might think), and if having a lot of well-educated people benefits society in any measurable way (I bet you can guess the answer at this point).

In spite of the depressing (at least to Mike) and impressive amount of data and analysis Dr. Caplan brings to bear, Mike makes a game attempt to salvage some meaning and value for his life’s work.

Follow Bryan Caplan on Twitter

Bryan Caplan’s previous Politics Guys appearance (where he and Mike discussed The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies)

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PG141: A Line at the White House Exit, Stormy Daniels Sues Trump, and the Student Walkout

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Trey begins by hijacking the show’s opening with an original loop. Jay and Trey then open the show by looking at the big exits from the White House this week including Rex Tillerson and Andrew McCabe. Jay argues that the replacements are capable and Trey worries that the turmoil underlies a deeper problem in management at the White House. Both agree that there is significant turnover.

After that the discussion turns to Stormy Daniels. Jay and Trey deeply disagree over the payoff from the Trump organization to Daniels. Jay calculates, based on past precedent, that Trump having an affair will neither affect his approval nor his reelection chances. Trey believes this might be Trump’s downfall. It is one thing to have an affair, another to clandestinely try to buy off the conversation concerning it.

Finally, Trey and Jay discuss the student walkouts on Wednesday. Both see the reactions from left and right as part of the underlying ideological differences that are separating the two camps. Further, they have slightly different takes on the institutional takeover of the walkout. Finally, they agree that discussions about gun control are separate from feelings on the protest itself.

What Trey’s Reading

Grant by Ron Chernow

What Jay’s Reading

Steven Hawking A Brief History of Time

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‘Collusion’ Investigation, Healthcare, Contempt & Civil Discourse, Chain Migration

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In this ‘Ask The Politics Guys’ episode, Mike and Jay respond to listener comments and questions on:

    • the nature of the Mueller investigation
    • the role of healthcare costs in personal bankruptcy
    • contempt and civil discourse
    • the wisdom of nationwide concealed carry reciprocity
    • why Jay uses the term ‘chain migration’
    • the guys’ thoughts on UK politics
    • the Veterans’ healthcare system as a model for what universal care in the U.S. might be like

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PG140: North Korea Talks, Sessions Sues California, Trump’s Tariffs, Florida vs the NRA

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Mike and Jay open the show with a look at the stunning announcement about talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Both of the guys are hesitant to believe this will lead to anything given North Korea’s track record of stringing U.S. administrations along and breaking agreements. They’re also concerned that by meeting with Kim – the first time any U.S. president has agreed to talks with North Korea’s leader, President Trump may be giving the regime something it’s always wanted and getting little if anything in return.

After that it’s discussion of the suit the Department of Justice has brought against three California laws involving enforcement of federal immigration policy. In a strange twist, Attorney General Sessions is making the typical liberal argument about federal government supremacy while California is responding with traditionally conservative points about the 10th Amendment, going so far as to rely on a conservative icon, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Both Jay and Mike think that the federal government will end up winning in court (with Jay being more sure of this than Mike) though it’s likely to take several years.

After that, Mike and Jay discuss the tariffs on steel and aluminum that President Trump formally announced this week. They both see this as a truly bad move that will not only hurt far more Americans than it will help, but a step that further erodes America’s standing in the world and does nothing to deal with a truly significant international issue – China’s ongoing, massive intellectual property theft.

Finally, the Guys look at the new gun legislation enacted in Florida in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. They consider whether the NRA’s Second Amendment based lawsuit is likely to succeed (probably not) and discuss whether Florida might be a model for more states and possibly even the U.S. Congress, where not much has happened as of yet.

What Mike’s Reading
For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned. Farhad Manjoo

What Jay’s Reading
Parkland kids can protest, but they don’t know what they are talking about. Jonah Goldberg

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What We’ve Learned About Fake News

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Mike talks with Jason Reifler, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, about his research into fake news. They discuss Dr. Reifler’s recent paper on the topic (‘Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign‘), whether fact checking helps combat fake news, if this is a Trump-specific phenomena or part of a broader and even more disturbing trend, and lots more.

Follow Jason Reifler on Twitter

Episode Links
Craig Silverman

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PG139: Trump’s Tariffs, Gun Policy, A New Cold War?, Hicks Quits

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This week’s show starts with a discussion of the ‘national security’ tariffs President Trump announced he planned to impose on steel and aluminum. Mike and Jay are in agreement that the tariffs are a terrible idea and not at all related to national security. Jay points out that this is an issue where President Trump is getting more support from Democrats from his fellow Republicans, who were generally upset and dismayed at the announcement.

The president further disturbed many in his own party this week by suggesting he was in favor of tougher gun laws than most Congressional Republican are likely to support. Mike makes the point that we’ve seen the president make similar statements on other issues – immigration most notably – and then fall back into GOP orthodoxy in the end. The Guys also look at a variety of other gun policy related developments that took place over the last week.

Next is a discussion of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s bellicose speech about the U.S. threat to global security and new weapons systems Russia has developed to thwart U.S. missile defenses. This comes shortly after NSA and U.S. Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers told the Senate Intelligence Committee that we’re not doing enough to prevent Russian cyberattacks on our election systems.

Finally, it’s a look at what seems to be a West Wing in disarray, following the departure of Hope Hicks as communications director. Mike and Jay agree that the extremely high level of turnover – especially in the communications area – is yet another indication that Donald Trump is an impulsive person who hates being managed and bridles at the necessity of message discipline.

What Jay’s Reading
The Only Good Thing About Donald Trump Is All His Policies.  Joseph Epstein. (WSJ. Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall and there’s no non-paywall version of this article. But you really should check out Epstein’s wonderful writing, which you can do without having to deal with a paywall at The Weekly Standard.)

What Mike’s Reading
The Fractured Republic. Yuval Levin

Republic, Lost: Version 2.0. Lawrence Lessig

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