Category: podcast

EP 758 America’s Banking System More Fragile Than We Know

EP 758 America’s Banking System More Fragile Than We Know

To those of us who stopped thinking about the inherent risks in our banking system after the meltdown of 2007-2009, exemplified by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and assumed that Dodd-Frank legislation had corrected all of our problems, it might be time to think again.  Except for extraordinary government interventions over a weekend in 2023, two ‘tech’ banks were on verge of collapse.  That action forestalled a disaster that could have spread throughout the banking industry.  Had it, there was no way that the government could have provided a sufficient backstop for the entire sector.  In truth, the new regulations have not made the financial system resilient.  Much has been papered over by flawed accounting and Federal Reserve support.  Bank lobbies make false and misleading arguments about so-called “capital requirements” which require banks to rely relatively more on their own(equity)funding and less on borrowing.  Is this all a house of cards?  Anat Admati, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, is our guest today and will explain what’s happening in clear detail.  She, along with Martin Hellwig, have just written the new and expanded edition of “The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It.”

EP 757 A Leader in the Feminist Movement Assesses Its Progress and Challenges in 2024

EP 757 A Leader in the Feminist Movement Assesses Its Progress and Challenges in 2024

Our guest is a feminist trailblazer who had an inside look at the feminist movement as it progressed from the 1960’s on. Her insights and odes to those who made it possible for women to have virtual integration into all aspects of commerce, the arts and even sports, as we’ve seen, is a far cry from the conditions that existed prior to Betty Friedan and she co-founding the National Organization for Women. Muriel Fox, author of “The Women’s Revolution: How We Changed Your Life”, reminds us that women often could not get mortgages or credit cards on their own, were at the whim of their husbands, even if the behavior would today be considered illegal, at the same time women served longer prison sentences because at the time they were considered ‘harder to rehabilitate’ and the pay inequity was 59 cents on the dollar. Oh, yes, often times job seekers were told whether the position was meant for a woman or a man. We’ve come a long way, baby, but still have much further to go. It’s hard to believe that in 2024 a defining issue of the presidential campaign involves the U.S. Supreme Court’s rescinding a woman’s right to an abortion, unless granted by a state, after a previous court signed on to Roe v. Wade fifty years ago. We will take the long view on today’s episode and discuss prospects for the Equal Rights Amendment that has never become the law of the land.

EP 756 Remarkable Women Finally Getting Their Due Recognition

EP 756 Remarkable Women Finally Getting Their Due Recognition

Each of us honors remarkable women in our own way.  Often it’s when we think about what our mothers contributed to our growth and development.  In other cases, it’s a teacher or a caregiver.  Well the emphatic sex has for generations contributed both to the nurturing part of society’s needs as well as the political and scientific aspects.  And while there is still a long way to go to achieve equality of the sexes, expectations and opportunities are rising for women and they are taking full advantage of the moment.  Their skew in college today-60/40-suggests that women will be in key positions for generations.  Alice Look, an accomplished woman in her own right, with a background in media has joined with Jane Applegate to found the Remarkable Women Project(remarkable womenproject.org)to advance our understanding of the contributions women have, and continue to make, as activists, in the arts, and sciences.  A key outgrowth of their project is Alice’s book, “Remarkable Women: Reclaiming Their Stories.”  We’ll recount some of them and discuss the growing influence of women in American society.

EP 755 Do You Really Want to Try Living in an Autocracy?

EP 755 Do You Really Want to Try Living in an Autocracy?

Sure democracy is messy and lots of people feel it’s not working as well as it once did.  But all of us born here have never lived under the alternative.  Be careful what you wish for if you are taking in, and buying, all the strongman musings of Donald Trump. It’s a recipe for disaster.  In a previous podcast one of our guests described a liberal democracy as meaning ‘no boss’.  We run things at the city, state and federal level.  And we have the power to change things by reforming that which is not working in the best interests of the majority of us.  But turning the whole thing over to a man who has hallucinations that he’s the chosen one and wants to pump up a version of Christian nationalism is not the way forward.  Joining us to discuss this is Richard Abel, a Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA and the author of “Defending American Democracy”,a new mini-series of books.

EP 754 Is MAGA Really About America First?

EP 754 Is MAGA Really About America First?

 

Viktor Orban?  Vladimir Putin? Turkey’s strongman Erdogan?  Is that the traditional leader America wants to hold up as an exemplar for a nation built on universal principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all?  Maybe we’ve never achieved those lofty aspirations, but we never said let’s take our form of government–a democratic republic–and trade it in for a dictatorial approach, which excludes those who do not fit in. Yet, a serious analysis suggests to many that the MAGA movement has a more dated vision of America which yearns for a past built on supremacy of white ethno-nationalism and Christian Fundamentalism. And this fervor has engulfed one of the two major parties in America. While history informs us that this strain of bending at the knees of dictators has a long tradition in the Republican Party(look up the appeasers to Hitler in America in the lead up to WWII)but never has it taken over the party root and branch. Jacob Heilbrunn in his new book “America Last: The Right’s Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators” reminds us of the strong tie between those in the GOP who want to maintain the rules-based international order that has served America so well since 1945 and those, like Trump, who want to let Russia “do whatever the hell it wants” with NATO allies who don’t pay their fair share.  The inmates have taken over the asylum of the GOP.  Is the country next?

EP 753 College is Actually a Great Equalizer: We’ll Explain

EP 753 College is Actually a Great Equalizer: We’ll Explain

There is a fact that is so surprising that it borders on being unbelievable.  Research indicates that students from disadvantaged and advantaged class backgrounds who graduate from the same college go on to earn the same amount of money.  Our guest, Duke sociology professor, Jessi Streib, author of “The Accidental Equalizer: How Luck Determines Pay After College”, posits according to her research. Sociologist Michael Hout goes further in concluding that “college graduation cancels the effects of background status.”  So for those who can afford all of the educational enhancement activities and extracurricular functions, starting at birth to 3, when it comes to the workplace, and in this case the business majors studied, luck plays an even greater role in determining the pay a college graduate can expect.  In practice no one can prepare an otherwise advantaged candidate college graduate for a job interview that will lead to a better result than disadvantaged graduates.  Do you still need to be convinced?  Take a listen to this podcast as we explore the rationale for what Professor Streib calls  ‘luckocracy’ at work.

EP 752 Baby Boomers to Zennials: Largest Generational Transfer of Wealth in History is Just Ahead

EP 752 Baby Boomers to Zennials: Largest Generational Transfer of Wealth in History is Just Ahead

In the next ten years, in the United States alone, 61 trillion dollars will transfer from baby boomers to the younger generations. With that wealth comes the power to determine the structure of our society and economy.  The amount of money that will be moving is staggering, unlike another in human history.  And how the younger generations value it and the system that produced it will determine the future of societies around the globe. Given that this transfer comes on the heels of various cataclysms, like the 2008 financial meltdown, 9-11 and later the disorienting impacts of the pandemic and growing concerns over climate change, these generations seem to be demonstrating a much different outlook as to their values and priorities.  What will that mean for capitalism itself?  To discuss this fascinating topic we are joined by Ken Costa, one of the top five deal makers in Europe over the past 25 years and a seasoned investor formerly of UBS Investment Bank(EMEA)and Lazard International and currently chair of Ken Costa Strategic and author of “The Hundred Trillion Dollar Wealth Transfer: How the Handover from Boomers to Gen Z will Revolutionize Capitalism.”

EP 751 Anti-Semitism: It Can(and is)Happening Here

EP 751 Anti-Semitism: It Can(and is)Happening Here

“Jews will not replace us” was the cry from far-right extremists a few years back in Charlottesville, Virginia and, in response to counter protests, then President Donald Trump said that there were good people on both sides.  Really?  In the wake of the brutal attacks on Israeli citizens on October 6, 2023 far-left activists on college campuses took up the cause of the Palestinians in Gaza as a result of Israel’s aggressive response and the question of anti-semitic sentiment among the youth in the America came into view. While the question of whether Jews have better friends from one political ideology or another may be the subject for debating societies around the country, the truth is that even in a nation where Jews have been able to flourish and lead the way in science, business, the arts and medicine, they are never able to look away at the possibility that one day they, too, will join the diaspora looking for a more hospitable environment.  It can happen here.  Benjamin Ginsberg, the David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, joins us to discuss his new book, “The New American Anti-Semitism: The Left, the Right, and the Jews.”

EP 750 A Child Care Industry in Crisis

EP 750 A Child Care Industry in Crisis

Child care costs, accessibility and quality represent a critical challenge for families across America.  And an existential threat to a recovering economy, generally reliant on both parents working to sustain themselves and their families.  With federal supports given to this industry during the pandemic that have recently expired, early childhood centers–daycare, early learning and the like–have been shuttering their doors.  They cannot find workers, pay them adequately or train them as well as is needed to nourish these young minds.  It is so much so a problem that Democrats have been joined by Republicans on the federal and state levels to address it and business associations as well as labor unions are supportive of measures to find public dollars to keep places and spaces open for children in need.  Even vaunted Head Start is serving only a small percentage of the children who are eligible for it.  Let’s first understand the problem and then offer some solutions.  With us to do that is Laura Mutrie, Director of Field Education and Clinical Assistant Professor in the MSW program at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

EP 749 Health Care Consolidations Raise Costs, But What About Outcomes?

EP 749 Health Care Consolidations Raise Costs, But What About Outcomes?

Even if you’re not paying great attention to what’s happening to healthcare in your local community, the trends are hard to miss–hospital consolidations, the growth of out-patient facilities affiliated with the hospitals, and insurance company involvement in medical practices and pharmaceuticals, all of which drive up the cost and limit the choices in healthcare.  It’s a distressing picture.  Ask your doctor or anyone who’s been trying to access care recently and you’ll hear the same stories about a focus on efficiency over quality and a bedraggled medical support team, including nurses and medical assistants, pressured to improve bottom lines.  Regardless of whether a facility is deemed for-profit or non-profit, revenue over expense, is driving what should be medical decisions toward greater concerns for financial outcomes over the specialized needs of patients.  So what does one informed, caring practitioner have to say about all of this?  Dr. Marion Mass, co-founder of Practicing Physicians of America, shares her concerns with you today