#119 A Conservative Cure for Climate Change: Bob Inglis

 

 

Climate scientists warn that Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are examples of extreme weather that will become much more common in the years to come. 

But Trump Administration officials ridicule any link between this month's devastating storms and global warming.

 

 

 

Without a change of heart, most conservatives will continue to resist an overwhelming body of scientific evidence on climate change. Congress will fail to pass needed reforms.

Enter former GOP Congressman Bob Inglis. He argues that while Republicans are part of the problem, they must be part of any solution. This small-government Christian conservative from South Carolina believes in a free-market answer to climate change. He supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax, combined with a cut in FICA - the fee paid by workers to pay for Social Security and Medicare.

"Until we hear the information from somebody we care about, it's hard for us to change our minds," says Inglis, who argues that respect rather than ridicule is the best way to win new converts. "If you get into the discussion and past the shouting we can find solutions," he tells "How Do We Fix It?"
 

#113 America's Male Unemployment Crisis: Ed Glaeser

Here's a paradox. While the U.S. unemployment rate is near a 16-year low, the percentage of all American adults in the workforce remains stuck at well below pre-recession levels.

Men are much more likely than women to drop out of work. In the 1960's 95% of adult men between 25 and 54 were employed. Today, after 7 years of an improving job market, only 80% are in the workforce.

People who don't look for a job are not counted in the official unemployment statistics compiled by the Labor Department. 

Harvard University Professor Edward Glaeser says "there's a war on work." Taxation, housing, regulatory and social policies aimed at improving the lives of low income Americans, he says, often remove incentives for people to get a job. We based our episode on the findings and solutions suggested in Ed's article for City Journal-- "The War on Work and How to End It."

#106 Defusing The Prison Population Bomb: John Pfaff

Today, about 2.2 million Americans are behind bars. "The incarceration rate is about five times the rate of 1970 and our crime rate is the same as in 1970." 

Our guest, John Pfaff of Fordham University is both a law professor and an economist. Author of "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform," he says state and local policies matter far more than changes in the federal system.

At about 700 inmates per 100,000 residents , the U.S. incarceration rate is five times higher than most western nations. Only North Korea and Iran have locked up a larger share of their population.
 
Growing bi-partisan support for criminal justice reform may bring changes. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going in the opposite direction.  He's ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the strictest charges and sentences in criminal cases-- reversing Obama Administration policies.
 
The standard explanation for America's inmate population explosion is "three strikes and you're out" sentencing and other aspects of the federal government's war on drugs.
 
John Pfaff says that argument is far too simplistic. In this episode, we look at the key role played by state and local prosecutors. John argues that one key reform would be to focus on charging policies-- reigning in the almost unchecked power of many district attorneys.

#102 Neil deGrasse Tyson: Space, The Universe and The Case for Science, Part.1

Neil deGrasse Tyson, America’s most prominent spokesman for science and Director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium, talks about the benefits of a cosmic perspective, the case for manned space flight and much more in this first part of our wide-ranging conversation. We also discussed Tyson's new book, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry."

Richard and Jim met Tyson at his offices at The American Museum of Natural History.

While insisting he is not an advocate for manned space flight, Tyson says "history tells us" space exploration "is one of the most potent forces to operate on the scientific ambitions of a citizenry." At the height of the Apollo program in the 1960's, "you didn't need special programs to get people interested in science," Tyson explains. "There were weekly headlines about our journeys into space and you knew you needed the best of the best to breech the frontier of space."