Episodes

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State Fiscal Breakdown

Eileen Norcross, Director of the State and Local Policy Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, discusses her 2016 report ranking states’ fiscal solvency. Norcross points to Puerto Rico, Connecticut, and Illinois as cautionary tales and blames profligate state governments for mismanaging debt and unfunded pension liabilities.

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Unconventional Optimist

Kevin Kelly, co-founder and Senior Maverick of Wired magazine and author of The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, dares us to trust technology as the answer to a wide variety of questions. Kelly explores how our growing technology-empowered nexus—which he likens to an intelligent “super organism”— will inherently solve humanity’s challenges of the past and future. (Photo by: Christopher Michel)

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Reframing Income Inequality

Ryan Young, CEI fellow and co-author of two new major studies—“People Not Ratios: Why the Debate over Income Inequality Asks the Wrong Questions” and “The Rising Tide: Answering the Right Questions in the Inequality Debate”—draws the crucial distinction between absolute and relative poverty and celebrates market economies as the greatest poverty reducer in history. Young encourages anti-poverty advocates to seek to raise the economic floor rather than lower the ceiling by expanding opportunity. He touts reforms like ending restrictive occupational licensing in order to foster sustainable economic development.

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Wizard of Economics

Dr. Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business and Behavioral Science and winner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s 2016 Julian L. Simon Memorial Award, carries on Simon’s legacy—celebrating people and freedom as the ultimate resources. Yandle describes the current macroeconomic scene—defined by slow growth, sliding into global currency and trade wars—and challenges us to correct course. The father of the “Bootleggers and Baptists” theory, he recounts the latest case with big tobacco, state governments, and health advocates looking to quash e-cigarettes.

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Igniting Human Prosperity

Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University and blogger at Café Hayek, breaks down top economic insights and misconceptions on inequality, labor, and trade. Boudreaux credits a favorable attitude shift toward innovation over the past 200 years for the vast improvements in prosperity during that time. He argues that inequality has narrowed and increasing access to wealth, health, and technology has enabled ordinary people today to live better than the richest a century ago.

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Fighting Injustice in the Justice System

Stephanos Bibas, professor of law and criminology at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, former federal prosecutor, and author of The Machinery of Criminal Justice, advocates openness and consistency to reform the criminal justice bureaucracy. Bibas faults pervasive plea bargaining for the system’s game-like illegitimacy. He proposes repealing the ban on prison work in order to reduce recidivism and incentivize work, while maintaining relationships with families and employers.

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Cuban Freedom Fighter

Carlos Eire, Yale professor of history and religious studies, National Book Award winner, and author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, grieves for his native Cuba under the Castro regime— a socialist Jurassic Park. Evacuated to the U.S. during Operation Peter Pan in 1961, Eire shares his frustration and disappointment over the unrelenting repression of ordinary Cubans, President Obama’s failure to demand human rights concessions from Castro’s regime, and the million dollar tourist industry naively propping up the failed state.

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