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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Our American Discourse, Ep. 33: How to Take Risks, Make the World a Better Place, and Get Paid

Think of all the public policy problems that the government hasn’t been able to solve. Now imagine that you had a solution for one of them. The government should be interested, right? If your solution really works, they should want to invest in it. They should want to encourage you to make it happen, perhaps monetarily if possible. Well, until recently, they didn’t have many avenues to do so. Enter…“social impact bonds,” and the new system of “payment by results.”

In this episode, Gary Painter walks us through some examples of these new “outcome-based” payment systems to encourage innovative risk-taking to solve wicked problems in public policy.

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 11: Transit-Oriented Development

Time and time again, we hear that we’re living in an “urban renaissance.” People are moving back into the cities, and cities are once again building the things that people want. But where should they go? In an age of congested freeways and greenhouse gas emissions, gentrification and concentrated poverty, suburban sprawl and all sorts of inequality, where is the best place to build, to live, to walk, and to shop? One answer has been touted to address all those problems: near public transit.

In this episode, we define, describe, and debate “transit-oriented development” with Seva Rodnyansky.

Mr. Rodnyansky is a Ph.D. candidate in urban planning and development at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining USC, he served as a senior consultant for Booz & Company. He holds a Bachelor’s in economics, urban studies, and mathematical methods in the social sciences from Northwestern University.

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 and Ryan Hedden.

Our American Discourse, Ep. 5: The Art of Leadership in Precarious Times

The great leadership gurus usually tell a story of virtue rising to the top. They advise us to think positive, treat everyone with respect, and follow our moral compass. But we don’t have to look far to see leaders who turn this wisdom on its head. Negativity, disrespect, and divisiveness seem to be the order of the day. Were the experts wrong? Is good leadership dead? Surely there must be a more realistic way to understand the whims of the masses — and make straight their path once more. 

In this episode, we get a more realistic take on leadership from the contrarian guru Rob Asghar.

Mr. Asghar is a special advisor to the president of the University of Southern California, a University Fellow at USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy, and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. He is the author, most recently, of the book USC: A Transformation, 2010-2015, and before that, he authored the book Leadership Is Hell: How to Manage Well and Escape with Your Soul.

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.