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FROM THIS EPISODE

America's income inequality is the most extreme in the industrialized world — and likely to get more so even after economic recovery. We look at the causes and whether anything can be done. Also, Syria scatters its chemical weapons to thwart attack, and humankind reaches a new frontier: interstellar space.

Banner image: Dave R

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Christian Bordal
Anna Scott

Today's Talking Point Voyager Space Probe Reaches Interstellar Space 8 MIN, 50 SEC

Sounds transmitted by Voyager I have convinced NASA scientists it has reached interstellar space after 36 years and 12 billion miles -- an enormous achievement for human kind. But that doesn't mean it has left the solar system and the influence of the Sun. Phil Plait is an astronomer who writes the "Bad Astronomer" blog for Slate.com.

Guests:
Phil Plait, Slate.com (@badastronomer )

Making News Syria Scatters Its Chemical Weapons to Thwart Attack 7 MIN, 39 SEC

Yesterday, Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to sign a ban on chemical weapons. In Geneva today, Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister on the proposal to take control of the weapons Syria now admits it has. While Kerry has acknowledged that the US and Russia share a deep commitment to a negotiated solution, the US is insisting that the threat of force must remain. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Syrian forces are scattering the nation's chemical weapons stockpile. Adam Entous covers national security for the paper.

Guests:
Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal (@adamentous)

Main Topic Is Income Inequality Here to Stay? 34 MIN, 9 SEC

"All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others." So, "why has the US become more so than just about any other rich country in the past 30 years?" That question is raised by The Atlantic's Matthew O'Brien, in the aftermath of new figures released by the same economists who brought attention to the income gap and gave birth to the occupy movement. Those figures show that America's "1%" took more than a fifth of the nation's income last year — and the top 10% got half – something that's never happened in 100 years of data collection. But 99% have failed to see any boost at all from economic recovery. Is it all about Wall Street and the decline of organized labor? What about access to education and the impact of globalization? Steps used in the past to even the playing field aren't popular any more. Will inequality lead to unrest, or are we all just getting used to it?

Guests:
Matthew O'Brien, The Atlantic (@ObsoleteDogma)
Nolan McCarty, Princeton University (@Nolan_Mc)
Timothy Noah, journalist and author (@TimothyNoah1)
Tyler Cowen, George Mason University (@tylercowen)

The Great Divergence

Timothy Noah

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