PG105: Senate Health Bill, Special Election, Russia Sanctions

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

This week, Mike and Jay start things off by talking about health care bill unveiled by Senate Republicans. Mike sees it as a nearly trillion dollar tax cut financed by draconian cuts to Medicaid, whereas Jay believes it may help by giving states more authority and halting what he sees as unsustainable Medicaid cost growth.

Then it’s a look at the Georgia special election, where Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly lost to Republican Karen Handel. Mike says Democrats shouldn’t overreact because Democrats have over performed in all four of the special elections held to elect replacements for Trump administration officials formerly serving in the House. Jay points out that a loss is a loss, and Democrats are 0-4.

After that, they discuss Russia sanctions, both new sanctions unveiled by the Trump administration and a Senate bill – passed by a vote of 98-2 – calling for tougher sanctions and making it harder for the president to reverse sanctions.

What Jay’s Reading
The Last Battle for Democracy in Venezuela (WSJ – paywall)

What Mike’s Reading
The Brookings Cafeteria (podcast)

We hope you’ll check 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.

ZipRecruiter, which lets you post your job to 100 plus job sites with just one click. Unlike other job sites, ZipRecruiter doesn’t depend on candidates finding you; it finds them. In fact, over 80% of jobs posted on ZipRecruiter get a qualified candidate in just 24 hours! Politics Guys listeners can post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE. Just go to

An A+ For Donald Trump

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike talks to Kurt Schlichter, an attorney, retired Army infantry colonel, and Senior Columnist for His commentary on political, military, and legal issues has been featured in numerous national outlets, such as Fox News, CNN, and the Hugh Hewitt Show.

They discuss why Hillary Clinton has less respect for democratic norms than Donald Trump, scuzzy bureaucrats in the intelligence community hoping to destroy the Trump presidency, why he gives Trump a grade of A+ so far, the complete lack of evidence in the Russia probes, and lots more!

– follow Kurt Schlichter on Twitter

Kurt’s Recommended Sites
– Instapundit
American Greatness
American Thinker

PG 104: Shootings, Sessions, Cuba, and the Federal Reserve

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike and Trey start this week with the tragic shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise by James Hodgkinson and the unfortunate political communications uproar in its aftermath. Both Mike and Trey worry that democracy may be losing a pillar when demonization is the new normal.

After that they talk about the rollback of Obama’s Cuba opening. Trump is returning to an older policy of restrictions, although his rhetoric is more drastic than his actual changes.

Later Mike and Trey discuss the Sessions testimony and the Federal Reserve’s rate hike. Finally they end the show with what they;re reading now and the unlikely truth that both Trey and Mike love Roberts’ Napoleon biography.

What Mike’s Reading
Yes, Congress is getting less smart. No it’s not Trump’s fault. Max Enrenfreund

What Trey’s Reading
Napoleon, A Life. Andrew Roberts

Moneyball for Politics: Sasha Issenberg’s ‘The Victory Lab’

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike talks to Sasha Issenberg, a political journalist whose work has appeared in Slate, Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, and lots of other places. He’s a contributor to Bloomberg Politics and the author of multiple books, including the widely praised The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns which Politico called ‘Moneyball for Politics’.

Follow Sasha on Twitter

Climate Change Politics & Policy after Paris

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike and Jay received so much listener feedback on our discussion of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (in episode 102) that they decided to do this special follow-up. In it, they cover the ‘We Are Still In’ movement, what states – especially California – are doing, whether or not Jay believes human activity is responsible for climate change, and why Mike wants us to significantly slow emissions today, whereas Jay feels that we’re better off growing the economy and waiting for what he believes will be better and cheaper emission control and climate change mitigation technology in the future. They also respond to listener comments.

PG103: Comey Testifies, Trump’s FBI Pick, The Kansas Experiment

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike and Jay start the show talking about the story that dominated the news this week: the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. Neither of the Guys think that Comey dropped any bombshells, though Mike believes that this is still early days in an investigation that will go on for years and cripple the Trump administration. Jay thinks it might wrap up sooner than that, but that once again, Donald Trump’s biggest obstacle seems to be Donald Trump.

After that, they talk about Trump’s pick for FBI Director. They agree that Christopher Wray is a sane and sensible choice (which is hardly a given in the Trump administration) but that the delay of nearly a month in naming a replacement for Comey is yet another example of how Donald Trump is in over his head.

A story that didn’t get the coverage it deserved this week was Kansas’ experiment with radically lower taxes, and experiment the state legislature forced conservative governor Sam Brownback to abandon this week. Mike and Jay talk about what this might tell us about the effects of deep tax cuts and the impact it might have on similar proposals both in other states and at the national level.

What Jay’s Reading
Just Mercy. Bryan Stevenson

What Mike’s Reading
The Sixth Extinction. Elizabeth Kolbert

The Economist’s Ryan Avent on The Wealth of Humans

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike talks with Economist senior editor and columnist Ryan Avent, author of The Gated City and, most recently, The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century.

In addition to The Economist, Mr. Avent’s work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Atlantic, and the Washington Examiner. Prior to coming to The Economist, he worked as an economic consultant and an industry analyst for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has an economics degree from North Carolina State University, and an Masters of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.

Mike and Ryan talk about where the jobs are going, who’s at risk, the effects on economic inequality, the social and psychological effects of a largely jobless future, and lots more.

Ryan Avent Recommends
FT Alphachat
The Weeds
Marginal Revolution University

Follow Ryan Avent on Twitter

PG102: Paris Accord Exit, Afghanistan, Suing Big Pharma

This week, Mike and Jay start off by talking about President Trump’s announcement that the United States will be leaving the Paris Climate Change Accord, making it one of only three countries in the world to not be participating (the other two are Syria and Nicaragua). Mike, who was hoping against hope that US would stay in, is disappointed, feeling that President Trump is stuck in the past and that his actions may have a negative effect on the environment, future job growth, and US global leadership. Jay, on the other hand, thinks President Trump made the right call.

Then it’s a look at the US role in Afghanistan in the wake of a major terrorist attack last week that left 90 dead and hundreds wounded. Should the United State up its military commitment to the country and try to turn the tide against the Taliban, or would it be best to cut our losses, given the potentially unwinnable situation?

After that, the Guys look at Ohio’s recently announced lawsuit against Big Pharma for allegedly misleading doctors and the public about the dangers of prescription opioids. The state’s move is part of a growing trend of states and counties taking legal action against pharmaceutical companies. Mike feels this is a step in the right direction but Jay, who agrees that the opioid crisis is extremely serious, says he’s not crazy about the approach Ohio is taking.

What Mike’s Reading This Week:
The Conversation

What Jay’s Reading This Week:
The Case for Nations. Roger Scruton (WSJ – paywall)

Fighting Trump State by State & Mapping Police Violence

Mike talks to Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of OurStates, an initiative that connects communities to actionable information and tools to reject the Trump / GOP agenda in every state and protect communities from harm.

Mr. Sinyangwe is a policy analyst and data scientist who also co-founded Mapping Police Violence, which collects and analyzes data on police violence in the United States. He’s been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, LA Times, the Forbes ’30 under 30′ and The Root 100.

– Follow Samuel Sinyangwe on Twitter

Show Links

PG101: Trump’s Travels, Fantastical Budgets, SCOTUS on Redistricting

This week’s show opens with Mike and Jay talking about something they won’t be covering – the continuing drip, drip, drip of Trump scandal leaks. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t concerned with the serious allegations that have been raised (especially true in Mike’s case) but that the leaks don’t tell us much of anything. For the most part, they’re going to hold off until there’s substantive news on the leak investigations, as opposed to juicy tidbits leaked from anonymous sources.

After that, Mike and Jay talk about what President Trump accomplished on his first foreign trip, and whether he was right to downplay human rights in Saudi Arabia and push NATO allies to pay up.

They also take a look at a recent Supreme Court decision on redistricting, in which the very conservative Justice Thomas sided with the Court’s liberals. There’s a reason why that happened, and Mike and Jay discuss it, as well as the bigger picture of redistricting challenges over the last few years.

What Mike’s Reading (and listening to) This Week:
The Daily Standard Podcast
Profile of Secretary of Defense James Mattis

What Jay’s Reading This Week:
Why History Will Repay Your Love. Peggy Noonan (WSJ – paywall)
The American Spirit. David McCullough