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Episode 887

Zeit Heist

Feb 13 2016

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Nancy Altman

The problem with Social Security isn't Social Security. It's privatization.

Pension expert Nancy Altman explains why bipartisan claims that Social Security is going broke just don't add up, how the decades-forward-thinking design of the system accommodates changes in demographics (but is being tested by middle class wage stagnation and the high cost of healthcare,) and warns that the greatest threat facing social security is a financial sector that wants access to its money.

Nancy is author of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All from the New Press.

Nancyaltmanbio

 

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David Skalinder

Authentic by being inauthentic: An alien's guide to the 2016 election.

Our Man in London, David Skalinder analyzes the US presidential election from his spot on Mars, and explains why this election is about authenticity and inequality, what the candidates can learn from David Bowie, and how the specter of Occupy is still haunting both sides of American politics.

Davidskalinderbio

 

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Brian Mier

Live from Brazil, a rationalist's guide to the Zika virus.

Live from São Paulo, Brian Mier reports on the multiple dimensions of the Zika virus - as a challenge to Brazil's public health system, a test for abortion restrictions in the country, a readymade apocalyptic narrative for the Western media, and the start of a new breed of GMO mosquitoes.

Brian just returned from Recife where he covered the story with a major European TV network we can't name yet. NDA!

Brianmierbio

 

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Tom Slee

Every person a market: The case against the sharing economy.

Writer Tom Slee explores the harsh new frontier on the edge of the sharing economy, where companies like Uber and Airbnb build themselves up on relationships between people, eroding both consumer and worker protections while allowing the financial class to shape the economies and infrastructure of cities, outside legal and democratic controls.

Tom wrote the book What's Mine is Yours: Against the Sharing Economy from OR Books.

 

Tomsleebio

 

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Lily Geismer

When the Democrats moved to the suburbs, they took their politics with them.

Historian Lily Geismer explores the long transformation of the Democratic party from post-New Deal base of the working class to New Democrat client of the upper middle class, and explains how a generation of Democratic leaders abandoned regulation and redistribution for free market growth as an answer to all economic problems.

Lily is author of the article Atari Democrats in the newest Jacobin.

Lilygeismerbio

 

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Jeff Dorchen

America Christ Superstar: The problem with figureheads.

History's lack of Harry S Truman impersonations triggers something deeply anarchic in Jeff Dorchen, and he starts wondering why we even have figureheads in the first place, how leaders are able to remain somehow ultimately (and not at all) responsible for the nation during their rule, and what's so great about making our next National Superstar do an American voter impression.

Dorchen