Glenn Loury invites guests from the worlds of academia, journalism and public affairs to share their insights on the economic, political and social issues of the day.
Glenn is joined by Jodi Kantor, author of the hot new book The Obamas. Jodi reports on fault lines within the Obamas’ marriage and stresses the difficulty of moving from Chicago to the White House. She discusses the “angry black woman” controversy surrounding the book’s initial release, and Glenn sympathizes with Michelle Obama’s plight. Jodi and Glenn explore the unusual relationship the Obamas share with Valerie Jarrett. The conversation ends with a review of President Obama’s thin-skinned reaction to some unwelcome advice from Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley.
Glenn and John begin by debating the merits of Coming Apart, Charles Murray’s new book on the “white underclass.” John likes the book’s focus on the importance of culture; Glenn acknowledges that culture matters while rejecting Murray’s conclusion that public policy can do little to help the poor. They also debate whether the ascendancy of a black president has led to more emphasis on class and less on race in political discourse. Glenn and John next discuss controversial remarks about gays by CNN’s Roland Martin. They go on to debate the moral status of religiously founded beliefs that homosexuality is immoral.
Glenn introduces Larry Kotlikoff, professor of economics and — unbeknownst to you, perhaps — presidential candidate. Larry tells Glenn why it’s so hard for a president to get good economic advice, and they talk about the juicy political gossip in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men. Larry lays out his non-partisan positions: he wants to reform health care insurance, strengthen the financial system, and get serious with Iran.
Harold Pollack joins Glenn for a discussion of social policy. Newt Gingrich’s proposal to employ poor kids as janitors is discussed, and Harold stresses the importance of social skills for poor kids by citing evidence from his work in Chicago. Glenn reminisces about growing up on Chicago’s South Side, and Harold expresses alarm at how the economic crisis has devastated the black middle class there. Harold and Glenn also talk about Mitt Romney’s concern for the poor, or lack thereof.