What The Founders Learned from the Greeks & Romans and Why It Matters Today

Mike talks with Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Ricks about his latest book First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks & Romans and How That Shaped Our Country.
Topics covered in their discussion include:
  • how the 2016 election led Ricks back to ancient Greece & Rome
  • why we should care about what a small number of Dead White Males thought
  • the three big things the Founders were wrong about
  • the influences of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison
  • what the Founders would have thought about modern campaign finance
  • why modern Americans shouldn’t panic
  • the importance of waking up Congress
  • whether we can (or should) return to the vision of the Founders
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Dr. Brad Spellberg on Solving The Great American Healthcare Rip-Off

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Mike talks with Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County+ University of Southern California Medical Center and the associate dean for clinical affairs at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Dr. Spellberg is also author of the recently released book Broken, Bankrupt, and Dying: How to Solve The Great American Healthcare Rip-Off which they discuss on this episode.

Topics Mike & Dr. Spellberg Cover Include:

  • the very unsystematic nature of the American healthcare ‘system’
  • how the US compares to other rich countries in healthcare access, cost, efficiency, and effectiveness
  • where all the money goes in US healthcare spending
  • the myth of lavishly overpaid US doctors
  • the problem with ‘fee for service’ medicine
  • medical bankruptcies
  • the Affordable Care Act
  • the importance of considering American culture in proposing healthcare ‘fixes’
  • market-oriented healthcare reform proposals
  • if progressives states like California can act on their own to reform healthcare

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David Litt on Reforming American Democracy (in one book or less)

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Mike talks with David Litt who, from 2011 to 2016, was a speechwriter for President Obama. Mr. Litt is also the New York Times bestselling author of the book Thanks Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years. His latest book is Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think, which they discuss on this episode.

Topics Mike & David cover include:

  • If Mitch McConnell’s “blatantly transactional” politics make him a good Majority Leader
  • The legally disenfranchised -former felons and non-citizen immigrants
  • The “unofficially disenfranchised”
  • Discouraged voters
  • Gerrymandering
  • The (not so) Great Compromise
  • Electoral College reform
  • Why Democrats are so much more intent on changing the rules than Republicans

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Reforming Criminal Justice: Plea Bargaining, “Legal Fictions”, and Sentencing

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Mike talks with Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly about reforming the plea bargaining process, the Michael Flynn case and “legal fictions”, the Paul Manafort case and sentencing guidelines, why we need sentencing databases, and more.

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Let Them Eat Tweets!

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Mike opens the show with some brief comments on Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris, the USPS and the 2020 election, and the agreement between the UAE and Israel. After that is his interview with political scientists Jacob Hacker (Yale) and Paul Pierson (Berkeley) about their new book, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality. Following the interview, Jay joins Mike for some conservative commentary.

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Jeffrey Sachs on The Ages of Globalization

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Mike talks with economist Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. Dr. Sachs is  also director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and has been advisor to three UN secretaries-general. In addition to being one of the world’s leading experts on poverty and economic development, he is the author of many influential, best-selling books, including The Age of Sustainable Development, The Price of Civilization, Building the New American Economy, and, most recently, The Ages of  Globalization, which they discuss on the show.

Topics discussed include:
– globalization over the course of human history
– the long historical dominance of China
– why China declined as a world power
– keys to sustainable development in the 21st century
– whether a non-democratic China is a threat
– prospects for development in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Lane Kenworthy on Social Democratic Capitalism

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Mike talks with Lane Kenworthy, a Professor of Sociology at UC San Diego.  They discuss his latest book, Social Democratic Capitalism.

Topics discussed include:
– what social democratic capitalism is
– if social democratic capitalism is only possible in rich countries
– economic growth and dynamism
– the Nordic example, and whether it can be applied elsewhere
– how the United States stacks up to other wealthy countries
– whether the United States can – or should – move toward social democratic capitalism

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Capitalism, Alone

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Mike talks with economist Branko Milanovic. Dr. Milanovic is  Visiting Presidential Professor at the Stone Center of Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He was formerly Lead Economist in the World Bank’s research department. He’s also the author of a number of books, including Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, which they discuss on this episode.

Topics covered include:
– the benefits of capitalism
– the different forms of capitalism
– the liberal meritocratic capitalism of the United States
– rising economy inequality since the 1980s
– sustainable growth under current models of capitalism
– capitalism and corruption in China
– the future of capitalism

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The Politics Guys & The Brown Girls Guide to Politics

Mike talks with A’shanti Gholar, creator and host of The Brown Girls Guide to Politics podcast. Topics they discuss include:

  • COVID-19’s disproportionate effects on minorities
  • whether President Trump is racist, and if it matters
  • demographic representation in Congress
  • why the Democratic Party is so much more diverse than the GOP
  • what Republicans can to do attract more minorities, without abandoning their core principles & beliefs
  • Joe Biden’s potential VP choices
  • what women & minorities can reasonably expect from a Biden administration
  • what four more years of a Trump administration might mean for women & minorities
  • what white males most often misunderstand about women & minorities in politics

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White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Robin DiAngelo

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Thomas Philippon on How America Gave Up on Free Markets

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Mike talks with Thomas Philippon, a Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University. Professor Philippon is a member of the Monetary Policy Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the author of the recently released book, The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up On Free Markets, which they discuss on this episode.

Topics discussed include:

  • the many benefits of competition
  • how and why the US became much less competitive over the last two decades
  • how, in many ways, Europe is actually much more competitive than the US
  • how lobbying and campaign finance contribute to the problem
  • the ‘revolving door’ between government and the private sector
  • the decline of competition in finance, health care, and the tech sector
  • what can be done to increase competition

Thomas Philippon on Twitter

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