Ben and Joel are joined by one of the most distinguished investigative reporting duos in American journalism. Donald Barlett and James Steele have worked together for more than four decades, first at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where they won two Pulitzer Prizes, then at Time magazine, and now at Vanity Fair as contributing editors--racking up armloads of prestigious awards everyplace they’ve been. They also have written eight books.
Questions considered in this podcast:
• Why is the American middle class disappearing? And 20 years after "America: What Went Wrong?" has the situation actually gotten worse?
• Isn't American manufacturing still really successful? And isn't growing inequality the result of growing productivity?
• Is free trade actually good for America? Or does the system guarantee American workers never be successful? And what happened to our trade surplus with Mexico?
• Doesn't the free trade produce cheap goods for American consumers? How can the U.S. compete with the advantages available to state-supported companies in China? Is a little bit of protectionism called for?
• Is it better to make iPads here or buy them cheaply from abroad? How about shoes? And even bridges? Are we willing to risk trade wars to guarantee fairness?
• Is tax policy really responsible for the growth of income inequality in the United States? What's wrong with lowering rates but eliminating loopholes? Should we actually have more brackets in the tax code?
• Is it actually possible to create a successful political movement in favor of protectionism and higher taxes for the rich and big corporations?
• What's the secret to Barlett and Steele's four-decade partnership.
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