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?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
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.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?