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Politically Incorrect Economics

Sunday, October 21, 2012
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
Radio Broadcast
steve lerman
Location Details:
Stream or download at Broadcast at Access Sacramento at

Five prominent economists from across the political spectrum identify major economic policies they could all stand behind. They agreed on five tax proposals and one change to the criminal code.

One: Eliminate the mortgage tax deduction, which lets homeowners deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages. When big houses get bigger tax breaks, it drives up prices for everyone. Why distort the housing market and subsidize people buying expensive houses?

Two: End the tax deduction companies get for providing health-care to employees. Neither employees nor employers pay taxes on workplace health insurance benefits. That encourages fancier insurance coverage, driving up usage and, therefore, health costs overall. Eliminating the deduction will drive up costs for people with workplace healthcare, but makes the health-care market fairer.

Three: Eliminate the corporate income tax. If companies reinvest the money into their businesses, that's good. Don't tax companies in an effort to tax rich people.

Four: Replace all income and payroll taxes with a progressive consumption tax. Taxes discourage whatever you're taxing, but we like income, so why tax it? Payroll taxes discourage creating jobs. Instead, impose a consumption tax, designed to be progressive to protect lower-income households.

Five: Tax carbon emissions. Yes, that means higher gasoline prices. It's a kind of consumption tax, and can be structured to make sure it doesn't disproportionately harm lower-income Americans. More, it's taxing something that's bad, which gives people an incentive to stop polluting.

Six: Legalize marijuana. Stop spending so much trying to put pot users and dealers in jail — it costs a lot of money to catch them, prosecute them, and then put them up in jail. Criminalizing drugs also drives drug prices up, making gang leaders rich.

Dean Baker
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and widely published. "You could probably describe me as left of center. It'd be fair."

Russ Roberts
Russ Roberts, George Mason University economics professor. "In the grand spectrum of economic policy, I'm a pretty hard core free market guy. I'm probably called a libertarian."

Katherine Baicker
Katherine Baicker, professor of health economics at Harvard University's Department of Health Policy and Management. We simply called her a centrist on the show.

Luigi Zingales
Luigi Zingales, professor of entrepreneurship and finance and the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. "What I like to say is that I'm pro-market, but not necessarily pro-business."

Robert Frank
Robert Frank, professor of management and economics at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management. "I'm a registered Democrat. I think of myself as a radical pragmatist."
Source: Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)

Steve Keen
Steve Keen on why economics is bunk

Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason interviews the controversial economist Steve Keen. Keen was one of the few who predicted the 2008 crash.
Source: Steve Keen: Why Economics Is Bunk
William J. Astore
William J. Astore, a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and history professor, discusses who he believes will be the true victor in the 2012 election: the U.S. military and the national security state.
Source: Defense 2012!

Laura Turner Seydel
Ban Toxic Chemicals

When environmental advocate Laura Turner Seydel found out that her family’s blood was full of toxic chemicals, she decided to take action. Turner Seydel tells Steve Curwood about her participation in the first intergenerational toxic body burden test and the changes she made to lessen her family’s exposure to chemicals.
Source: Call to Ban Toxic Chemicals

Gavin McIntyre
Mushroom Packaging

Americans throw out 19 billion pounds of Styrofoam packing peanuts each year, which sit in landfills for half a millennium. One company is producing alternative packing material out of sustainable ingredients. Host Bruce Gellerman talks to Gavin McIntyre, chief scientist at Ecovative Design, about how to turn mushrooms and agricultural waste into earth-friendly packaging material.
Source: Mushroom Packaging

Laura Vandenberg
Toxic Household Products

Many common household products contain chemicals that could be hazardous to human health. A new report finds that for some chemicals, a very small dose can have a very large health effect. Host Bruce Gellerman talks to Laura Vandenberg, a researcher at Tufts University Center about how exposure to small amounts of chemicals can act like hormones and have adverse health effects on humans.
Source: The Dose Doesn’t Always Make the Poison

Download or Play Part 1
Download or Play Part 2
Download or Play Economics & US Military
Download or Play US Military & Environment

Music includes Pink Floyd - Money, Roy Zimmerman - Socialist!, Dave Lippman - Geithner, Roy Zimmerman - Vote Republican 2.0, The John Kasper Band - Conspiracy of Silence, The Cowardly Lion On Courage

Added to the calendar on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 3:22PM
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