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, Mike talks to Helaine about her new book on personal finance, Pound Foolish. Helaine explains why cutting coffee breaks won’t make you a millionaire. Mike asks how the financial crisis has changed the advice coming from Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. Why have 401(k)s become so popular and Social Security so threatened? The two discuss a provocative case against financial literacy. Is there any way to stem the popularity of bad financial advice?
On Fireside Chats, Mike speaks with Monica about her reporting on poverty. Monica talks about intergenerational poverty in Kentucky, as well as working-class families living in motels in Denver. How can there be both a glut of foreclosed homes and a lack of rental apartments? They discuss how these families see themselves in the Great Recession, and why it’s expensive to be poor. Monica describes her experience on the ground reporting these stories, and explains the “last-mile problem” of designing effective welfare programs.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to Seth, author of a recent article in Jacobin calling for a “feasible socialism.” Seth gives a short history of the utopian left in the 20th century, then reviews the failings of both centrally planned economies and market economies. Mike questions Seth about his proposal to socialize the financial sector. Is market socialism a better model than social democracy? They examine the current position of teachers in America as a frame for testing Seth’s idea. Finally, how should Europe’s path guide liberals in the US?
On Fireside Chats, Dorian and Josh talk about the recent Wal-Mart strike. Since Wal-Mart has over a million employees, why does it matter if 500 of them go on strike? Josh describes a horrible fire at a Wal-Mart supplier in Bangladesh as an example of the company’s workplace safety record. Dorian asks about the significance of the strikes to the wider retail industry, as well as the role of social media for labor organizing. Why do liberals love to beat up on Wal-Mart? And has 2012 been the year of the strike?
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to Jeremy about law and the left. With regard to opponents of Obamacare, Jeremy discusses deficiencies in the conservative conception of freedom, and Mike wonders why Chief Justice Roberts ruled in favor of the law. Should liberals have been hoping for SCOTUS to strike down the individual mandate? And how has the notion of liberty changed since the Lochner era of the Supreme Court? Mike and Jeremy consider dissenting leftists, like civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald and the anti-statist members of Occupy. Finally, Mike turns a critical eye to the right-wing revolution in policing that’s taken place over the last 30 years.
On Fireside Chats, Bryce speaks with Nancy Folbre, editor of the new book For Love and Money. They discuss getting business interested in valuing care work, how to build a coalition to push for better care work policies, and why men don’t enter traditionally female-dominated care work jobs. Plus: Does the “wages for housework” movement of the ’70s have any bearing on the current fight to better value care work?
In this episode of Fireside Chats, Mike Konczal speaks with Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute on their new edition of State of Working America. They discuss what has happened to median incomes over the past 30 years. What does inequality have to do with the story? And how does the social safety net impact these numbers? What role should education play? And what are the likely debates between left liberals and left neoliberals when it comes to economic policy once we are past the Great Recession? All these questions are answered.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to Michael Grunwald about his new book, The New New Deal. What was actually in President Obama’s stimulus bill? Despite conservative criticism of Solyndra, Michael defends Obama’s investments in clean energy. To what extent was the stimulus designed with Obama’s broader policy agenda in mind? Mike asks about a range of liberal critiques of the bill. Has Obama created a new social contract comparable to FDR’s New Deal?
On Fireside Chats, Mark and Scott talk Affordable Care Act. Has Mitt Romney got his message straight on whether the mandate is a tax or a penalty? What’s with all the leaks coming from the Supreme Court? Does the constitutionality of the law actually matter, or are the justices just partisan actors? Is there a “conservative cabal” of Supreme Court clerks responsible for the leaks? As far as the politics going forward, Mark thinks the Republicans wouldn’t repeal Obamacare, while Scott thinks they just might.
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to Chris about his new book, Twilight of the Elites. Chris explains how the American elite embraced meritocracy. Mike suggests some of the ways meritocracy can be critiqued, and Chris addresses them in turn. He describes the “iron law of oligarchy,” which says that all political movements inevitably produce elites. How did the egalitarian premise of meritocracy produce such an unequal outcome? And how does the new meritocratic elite justify itself?
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.