FROM Tyler Cowen
US progress stalled because we're too complacent, says economist America is often portrayed as the land of opportunity, where anyone who is willing to work hard can get ahead. It’s a country of innovators, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers. But is that all still true? Economist Tyler Cowen has his doubts.
Is Income Inequality Here to Stay? "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?
An Endgame in Sight for Finance Reform As the Senate gets ready to vote on finance reform, The Financial Times has headlined, “Wall Street lobbyists braced for defeat.” Banks are highly unpopular this election year, and some conservative Republicans may join forces with liberal Democrats to crack down. But--even if Goldman Sachs could lose a big chunk of its profits—critics say the reforms deal more with symptoms than causes. Should states get back the authority they once had to protect consumers?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.