Glenn Loury invites guests from the worlds of academia, journalism and public affairs to share insights on economic, political and social issues.
Mark and Glenn start off by recalling Harvard’s Kennedy School in 1980s, where they both came to know James Q. Wilson. Mark says liberals got the crime question wrong, while Glenn urges that “crime” be placed in broad political perspective. Glenn asks why the US imprisons so many—could the answer be American democracy? Glenn and Mark argue the merits of the new parole supervision policy reflected in Project HOPE. They close with a heated debate on crime, human nature, and Wilson’s legacy.
Glenn Loury interviews Gershom Gorenberg about his book, The Unmaking of Israel. Glenn asks whether the real problem is that the Israeli state is ethnic, not that it’s religious. Would empowering Arab Israelis be a smart move for Zionists? Gershom describes how government officials aided and abetted illegal settlers, and how lawlessness emerged. Are ultra-Orthodox Jews dependent on government largesse? Gershom closes on an optimistic note.
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.
Economist Ross Levine is on The Glenn Show to discuss money in America. Did Mitt Romney get rich through “vulture capitalism”? Glenn comes to the conclusion that private equity firms have gotten a bad rap, but also that they should probably pay more taxes. And Ross explains how competition can fix the banking system.
Glenn announces his new venture at Bloggingheads.tv, The Glenn Show. John also announces an exciting new venture: a baby daughter! John and Glenn talk about how GOP presidential candidates are using racial symbolism and racial stereotypes. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum come in for especially close scrutiny, both positive and negative. Also under discussion: how race shapes the public’s perception of Michelle Obama.