Fireside Chats is a regular conversation from the Roosevelt Institute that explores the issues that can shape a New Deal for the 21st century.
On Fireside Chats, Mark talks with Rich Yeselson, a veteran of the labor movement, about the Wisconsin recall election and the decline of organized labor. Do Americans hate unions, or are they just indifferent? Are we all just free-riders on the benefits unions obtained for us? Was it a mistake to go after Scott Walker? Have unions put too much faith in electoral politics? Why does the more affluent, liberal wing of the Democratic Party find itself at cross purposes with unions? Rich argues that while it’s great that liberals like Paul Krugman, Timothy Noah, and Mark finally appreciate unions, bloggers and academics are no substitute for a broad social movement.
On Fireside Chats, Mike and Sarah talk about the possibilities for left publications when print is declining, then discuss the concept of “precarity” in work, and what it means for the future of organized labor. Sarah argues that recent college graduates, with unpaid internships and large student debt, are more like indentured servants than you might think. Then Sarah describes the new frontiers of progressive politics, and she and Mike talk about how feminism’s relationship to economics has changed over the last 40 years. Finally, Sarah attacks Sex and the City feminism, and gives a more substantial alternative.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to David Frum about his new novel, Patriots. They discuss how American political culture has changed since the 1990s, and how immigration in particular has changed America. Would a Mitt Romney presidency incorporate Paul Ryan’s conservative budget? They question whether the Tea Party has been successful, as well as why Democrats have an easier time governing during economic expansion. Why have conservative economic policies moved so far to the right? Mike and David conclude by talking about David’s first book, Dead Right, and how his conservatism has changed since the book was published almost two decades ago.
On Fireside Chats, Mark and Jamelle talk about Jamelle’s American Prospect cover story arguing that Mitt Romney would be a very conservative president. But would the GOP really push the button on radical spending cuts? Jamelle thinks Romney should back off his recent rhetorical embrace of Bill Clinton. Mark and Jamelle are skeptical of a Romney adviser’s argument that states should compete like corporations to provide the best services. The two discuss the implications of a new super PAC plan that describes Obama as a “black, metrosexual Abraham Lincoln.” Finally, they talk about the demise of Americans Elect, which tried to use the Internet to recruit a third-party presidential candidate.
On Fireside Chats, Mark and Tevi think about think tanks. Tevi argues that think tanks have become too politicized. Do the think tanks that claim ideological diversity actually hew to a partisan line? They discuss the battle for the control of Cato, and Mark argues that the right has sought to discredit expertise. How much influence do funders have over what think tanks produce? They debate whether the liberal Center for American Progress has become merely a mouthpiece for the Obama administration and take a closer look at Cato’s claims of ideological independence.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks with Aaron about the campus protest origins of the Occupy movement. They discuss the recently released report on the pepper-spraying of UC Davis students and what it says about how universities are changing. They then examine how James Q. Wilson’s famous essay “Broken Windows” has transformed the way policing is done. They segue into analyzing capitalism and class in The Wire. Finally, Aaron discusses Teddy Roosevelt as a possible role-model for President Obama, and the weird way Roosevelt appeals to both red state and blue state mythology.
On Fireside Chats, Mark interviews Edward Luce about his new book on American decline, Time to Start Thinking. Edward argues that highly unequal societies are also economically less efficient. Have Republicans gamed America’s paralyzed political system? What can the US learn about education from Germany? Edward also dishes on his old boss Larry Summers, and recalls his wine-soaked lunch with Charles Murray.
On Fireside Chats, Dorian and Josh talk about the troubles facing America’s labor movement. They discuss a recent attempt to silence union picketers that was defeated with help from the Tea Party, and how public-sector unions remain a ripe target for Republicans. How does labor law affect union strength? Can labor organizers take lessons from the 1930s? Finally, Dorian and Josh explore the role of unions in articulating a vision of workplace democracy.
On Fireside Chats, Bryce and Derek discuss women’s fast ascent in the economy and the barriers they still face. They give an update on the “mancession” and evaluate how the recovery period has treated both sexes. Moving forward, are women poised to dominate the economy, or will affluent women “opt out” of the workforce? Why is the wage gap so persistent? They close by debating whether it’s finally time to be optimistic about the economy.
On Fireside Chats, Ellen and Michelle discuss the GOP’s “war on women” and its implications for the elections. Are Romney’s recent comments on contraception a game changer? Ellen argues that contraception is critical to women’s economic well-being. Should the left thank Republicans for sparking a backlash? Michelle points to states like Texas that are eliminating healthcare for poor women. They close with a discussion of the importance of Planned Parenthood.
On Fireside Chats, Mark talks with Eric Liu, co-author of the new book The Gardens of Democracy. Eric explains how the best way to think about our economy isn’t as a giant machine, but rather as a garden—that is, a complex adaptive system. Mark asks whether Eric’s view of inequality is really very different from the consensus among liberals. Eric responds to Mark’s critique of the book’s proposal that government should focus on more on the goals it wants to achieve and less on how to achieve them. Eric wants a reinvigorated vision of citizenship, but is that possible when everyone thinks politics is corrupt? Finally, they discuss the myth of the wealthy job creator.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to Peter about the state of the left. Peter explains why Glenn Greenwald’s critique of Obama cuts deeper than Paul Krugman’s. Mike sees the Occupy movement as an opportunity for liberals to play good cop/bad cop. Are lefty home-schoolers bad for America? And is utopia a destination or a direction? Finally, Mike and Peter contemplate the future of work, with help from Marx, Keynes, and Star Trek.