Bedrosian Book Club Podcast: “The Myth of Independence”

Congressional historian Sarah Binder joins neighbor and investment manager Mark Spindel in a look at the history of the relationship between the Federal Reserve and its legislative parent, Congress. The result is the Princeton University Press book The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve.

Central to the book is the notion that the two institutions are interdependent rather than independent. The authors advocate that through legislation over the years, Congress has set up the Federal Reserve to bear the brunt of blame during times of financial crisis. This blend of political science, history, and economics was a hit for our panel. Why is it important to realize the relationship between Congress and the Fed is interdependent? What roles do transparency and accountability play in the relationship?

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Bedrosian Book Club Podcast: “The Death of Expertise”

Tom Nichols’ The Death of Expertise is a broad look at the antipathy toward “experts” and “expertise” among the citizenry of contemporary United States. Nichols contends that this antipathy is dangerous for our democracy, that this distrust not only makes for unhealthy conversation but damages both political and public relationships with the very experts’ guidance.

We discuss the argument, the nature of expertise, the role of the academic in civic education, and the state of civics in general. Find out if we liked this book and who we think should read it.

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Autopsy of a Failed Health Insurance Experiment: Did It Die of Natural Causes, or Was It Murdered?

It was just another week for the Trump administration. A senior official resigned after admitting to major ethics violations, the President insulted millions of innocent brown-skinned Americans on Twitter, and quietly—so quietly that almost no one noticed—the Department of Health and Human Services pulled another Jenga block out of the teetering tower that is the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately, it did not fall.

But it did become more expensive. And in that understated tragedy, we find our mystery: Was that HHS’s intent all along?

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 6: Federalism and the Battle for Partisan Power

We think we know how federalism works. Republicans believe in states’ rights, and Democrats want a strong federal government, right? Not so fast. New research reveals a whole different tug of war playing out on Capitol Hill. Our legislators don’t always do what they say, but they do have a strategy to design and implement our laws. It turns out that federalism is ground zero in their battle for partisan power — and now we finally know how the game is being played.

In this episode, we go behind-the-scenes with the researcher who uncovered these terms of engagement, Pamela Clouser McCann.

Prof. McCann is an assistant professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Her new book, The Federal Design Dilemma: Congress and Intergovernmental Delegation, was published by Cambridge University Press in September.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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“Our American Discourse” is produced by Aubrey HicksJonathan Schwartz, and myself, and mixed by Corey Hedden.