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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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

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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.

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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
The Weekly Standard
National Review
The New York Times
The Washington Post
National Public Radio

Follow Brooke Gladstone on Twitter

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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

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Kurt Schlichter Explains How Hillary Clinton is Evil & Listener Mail

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There was so much intense listener response to Mike’s recent interview with columnist Kurt Schlichter, that Mike and Jay decided to devote the first part of this listener mail episode to addressing those responses and explaining why Mr. Schlichter was invited on the show. Mr. Schlichter himself appears in this episode, to explain what he meant when, in the interview, he repeatedly referred to Hillary Clinton as evil.

After that, the Guys answer listener mail, including questions about climate change, reasons for opposition to normalizing relations with Cuba, and their thoughts on a Politics Guys ‘Cheers’ analogy.

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PG105: Senate Health Bill, Special Election, Russia Sanctions

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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:
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An A+ For Donald Trump

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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

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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