Jacob Hacker on What We’ve Forgotten About Growth & Prosperity

Mike talks with Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker about his work on economic growth, insecurity, and inequality. Dr. Hacker’s books include The Great Risk Shift,Winner-Take-All Politics, and, most recently, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.

Mike and Dr. Hacker discuss what we’ve forgotten about shared economic growth, why the United States is lagging in so many areas where it once was a world leader, if we’re too nostalgic for a past that can’t be recreated, the effects technological change and globalization have had on American prosperity, how we can move to a positive-sum economic future, why Donald Trump is an unexpected opportunity for progressives, and lots more.

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2 thoughts on “Jacob Hacker on What We’ve Forgotten About Growth & Prosperity”

  1. I’ve been listening to your podcast for almost a year now and I really am becoming frustrated with certain aspects of it.

    Mike – this is on you. The interview segments each week suffer greatly from being one-sided. You have said that you have difficulty getting guests from the moderate or right ends of the political spectrum to come on more so than on the left. If that is the case, I strongly suggest either eliminating this segment or having one of your conservative colleagues do the interviews. Frankly 3 episodes a week is a lot anyway and these interviews are rapidly becoming an endless parade of you soft-balling questions or saying “The right says xxxx about this, what do you think of it?” to which your predominantly left-leaning guests then proceed to spout rhetoric. End result – zero meaningful, balanced discussion of the arguments takes place.

    Your recent interview with Jacob Hacker is a great case in point. I enjoyed his breakdown of data underlying the rise of economic imbalance and his approach of comparing the U.S. to other wealthy economies. But I strongly dispute his – and your – conclusion from said evidence that the solution is a bigger role for government. Government has repeatedly shown its inability to operate efficiently and fairly. Giving it more size, more money and more power is not the solution. He argues for a functional government, then falls into the same biased clap trap of blaming the Koch brothers for everything and saying the answer is to spend more on programs. It’s getting really tiresome, Mike.

    1. You make some good points. When Jay and I started The Politics Guys, we didn’t envision interviews, which I sort of grafted on as the show grew. While I try to present conservative critiques to my liberal guests, it’s not the sort of bipartisan debate that we feature on the weekend show and that we started The Politics Guys to promote. I’m looking into spinning off the interviews into their own show but still do a Wednesday Politics Guys featuring either listener mail or Jay / Trey and I going in-depth on an issue or two. -Mike

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