Russ Roberts

Government Budgets and Taxation Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 30 podcast episodes and extras
 

In this week's episode, Roberts talks with political scientist Steven Teles about his recent National Affairs piece, Kludeocracy in America.

In the spirit of continuing our conversation, we'd love to hear from you on the questions below.

Questions below the fold:

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Steven Teles on Kludgeocracy

EconTalk Episode with Steven Teles
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about kludgeocracy, a term Teles coined in a National Affairs article to describe what Teles sees as the complex and unproductive state of political governance in the United States, particularly at the federal level. Teles argues that various rules and procedures in the Senate and the House allow politicians to slow down legislation in return for favors. Teles argues that both liberals and conservatives have an incentive to favor more transparency and a more streamlined governing process that would get things done.

Size:28.6 MB
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Laurence Kotlikoff on Debt, Default, and the Federal Government's Finances

EconTalk Episode with Laurence Kotlikoff
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fiscal health of the federal government of the United States. Kotlikoff argues that the U.S. government is essentially bankrupt because future taxes will fall hundreds of trillions of dollars short of expected expenditures. Kotlikoff argues this problem can be solved by redesigning our tax code, but without changes such as this, large reductions in spending or large increases in tax rates will be necessary.

Size:27.8 MB
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Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society

EconTalk Episode with Videos, Multiple Guests
Hosted by Russ Roberts

On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium, "Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society." The evening began with solo presentations by the three participants--Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the University of Warwick, and Richard Epstein of New York University. (Travel complications forced the fourth invited participant, James Galbraith of the University of Texas, to cancel.) Each speaker gave his own interpretation of the appropriate role for government in the economy and in our lives. This was followed by a lively conversation on the topic moderated by Russ Roberts of Stanford University, host of the weekly podcast, EconTalk.

We are also pleased to include the video of the symposium, available on youtube at EconStories.

Audio only:

Size:54.4 MB
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Joshua Rauh on Public Pensions

EconTalk Episode with Joshua Rauh
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Joshua Rauh, Professor of Finance at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unfunded liabilities from state employee pensions. The publicly stated shortfall in revenue relative to promised pensions is about $1 trillion. Rauh estimates the number to be over $4 trillion. Rauh explains why that number is more realistic, how the problem grew in recent years, and how the fiscal situation might be fixed moving forward. He also discusses some of the political and legal choices that we are likely to face going forward as states face strained budgets from promises made in the past to retired workers.

Size: 31.4 MB
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Hanke on Hyperinflation, Monetary Policy, and Debt

EconTalk Episode with Steve Hanke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins and the Cato Institute talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about hyperinflation and the U.S. fiscal situation. Hanke argues that despite the seemingly aggressive policies of the Federal Reserve over the last four years, there is currently little or no risk of serious inflation in the United States. His argument is that broad measures of the money supply lag well below their trend level. While high-powered reserves have indeed expanded dramatically, they have not increased sufficiently to offset reductions in bank money, in part because of requirements imposed by Basel III. So, the overall money supply, broadly defined, has fallen. Hanke does argue that the current fiscal path of the United States poses a serious threat to economic stability. The conversation closes with a discussion of hyperinflation in Iran--its causes and what might eventually happen as a result.

Size: 30.6 MB
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Garett Jones on Fisher, Debt, and Deflation

EconTalk Episode with Garett Jones
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Irving Fisher on debt and deflation. In a book, Booms and Depressions and in a 1933 Econometrica article, Fisher argued that debt-fueled investment booms lead to liquidation of assets at unexpectedly low prices followed by a contraction in the money supply which leads to deflation and a contraction in the real side of the economy--a recession or a depression. Jones then discusses the relevance of Fisher's theory for the current state of the economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Size: 28.2 MB
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Frank and Roberts on Infrastructure

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts debate the merits of a large increase of infrastructure spending. In the summer of 2012, Frank and Roberts were interviewed by Alex Blumberg of NPR's Planet Money. That interview was trimmed to ten minutes for a Planet Money podcast. This is the entire conversation. Frank argues that a trillion increase in infrastructure spending, where the projects are decided by a bipartisan commission, would put people back to work and repair a near-failing system at a time when it is cheap to repair it and cheap to fund those repairs. Roberts disagrees with virtually every piece of Frank's argument. This lively conversation covers fundamental disagreements over fiscal policy, the proper role for government, and the political process.

Size: 25.6 MB
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Frisby on Tax Reform

EconTalk Episode with Tammy Frisby
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tammy Frisby of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the likelihood of U.S. tax reform in the near future. Frisby reviews the changes in tax policy over the last 30 years focusing on the changes of the 1980s, looking at both the economics and politics of past changes. The conversation then turns to the present and the possible changes that might be coming as the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1, 2013.

Size: 30.8 MB
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Autor on Disability

EconTalk Episode with David Autor
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Autor of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI has grown dramatically in recent years and now costs about $200 billion a year. Autor explains how the program works, why the growth has been so dramatic, and the consequences for the stability of the program in the future. This is an illuminated look at the interaction between politics and economics and reveals an activity of government that is relatively ignored today but will not be able to be ignored in the future.

Size: 28.4 MB
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Boudreaux on Public Debt

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of public debt. One view is that there is no burden of the public debt as long as the purchasers of U.S. debt are fellow Americans. In that case, the argument goes, we owe it to ourselves. Drawing on the work of James Buchanan, particularly his book Public Principles of Public Debt: A Defense and Restatement, Boudreaux argues that there is a burden of the debt and it is borne by future taxpayers. Boudreaux argues that all public expenditures have a cost--the different financing mechanisms simply determine who bears the burden of that cost. Boudreaux discusses the political attractiveness of debt finance because the taxes lie in the future and those who will pay for them may not be clearly identified. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of expectations in both politics and economics of debt finance.

Size: 38.6 MB
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Dean Baker on the Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Dean Baker
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis. Baker sees the crisis as part of a broader set of phenomena--rising inequality and declining unionization. Baker is highly critical on both economic and political grounds of the policy attempts to stimulate the economy as well as the governance structure of the Federal Reserve. The conversation closes with a discussion of potential innovations to lower the budgetary cost of health care.

Size: 29.3 MB
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Cowen on the European Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the European crisis. Cowen argues that Greece is likely to default either in fact or in spirit but that the key question is which nations might follow--whether Italy and Spain can find a road to economic health and honoring past debts. Cowen gives his best guess as to what is likely to happen to the euro and the European Union and the implications for the rest of the world. He explores some less likely scenarios as well. He is pessimistic about Greece and the short-run prospects for preserving the status quo, but he is optimistic in the long-run about the European Union though it may have a different structure down the road.

Size: 26.7 MB
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Ramey on Stimulus and Multipliers

EconTalk Episode with Valerie Ramey
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Valerie Ramey of the University of California, San Diego talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the effect of government spending on output and employment. Ramey's own work exploits the exogenous nature of wartime spending. She finds a multiplier between .8 and 1.2. (A multiplier of 1 means that GDP goes up by the amount of spending--there is neither stimulus nor crowding out.) She also discusses a survey looking at a wide range of estimates by others and finds that the estimates range from .5 to 2.0. Along the way, she discusses the effects of taxes as well. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the imprecision of multiplier estimates and the contributions of recent Nobel Laureates Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims.

Size: 31.7 MB
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Frank on Competition, Government, and Darwin

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University and author of The Darwin Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about competition, government and the relevance of Darwin for economics. In a lively and spirited discussion, Frank argues that because people care about their relative standing with their neighbors, standard conclusions about the virtues of competition are misleading. He argues that competition is often wasteful and he suggests directions for tax policy and other forms of government intervention to take these effects into accounts.

Size: 29.2 MB
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Hennessey on the Debt Ceiling and the Budget Process

EconTalk Episode with Keith Hennessey
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Keith Hennessey of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the debt ceiling and the budget process. Hennessey, who worked for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on budget issues in the late 1990s, explains the politics of the debt ceiling and the budget process. Using his past experience as a staffer, Hennessey gives those of us on the outside a window into what is actually going on in the hallways, who has power, and how information flows up and down in the chain of constituents, members, party leaders. The conversation closes with Hennessey's best guess of which outcomes of the current negotiations are most likely and why.

Size: 32.7 MB
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Taylor on Fiscal and Monetary Policy

EconTalk Episode with John Taylor
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Taylor of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the economy and the prospects for recovery. Taylor argues that the design of the fiscal stimulus was ineffective and monetary policy, so-called quantitative easing, has also failed to improve matters. He argues for a return to fiscal, monetary, and regulatory normalcy as the best hope for economic improvement. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the impact of the current crisis on economics education.

Size: 27.4 MB
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Papola on the Keynes Hayek Rap Videos

EconTalk Episode with John Papola
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Papola of Emergent Order talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their collaboration creating rap videos based on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek. Their first was "Fear the Boom and Bust" which was released January 25, 2010. This past week they released "Fight of the Century." The latest video discusses the overarching differences between the philosophies of Keynes and Hayek and their views on whether government spending promotes recovery from an economic downturn and whether it leads to prosperity. In this conversation, Papola and Roberts discuss some of the underlying ideas in the video--whether the military spending of World War II ended the Great Depression, the debate between Malthus and Say and their influence on Keynes and Hayek, and the fundamental differences between Keynes and Hayek in how economic prosperity is created.

Size: 37.2 MB
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Robert Frank on Inequality

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Is there a role for public policy in mitigating income inequality? Is such intervention justified or effective? The conversation delves into both the philosophical and empirical evidence behind differing answers to these questions. Ultimately, Frank argues for a steeply rising tax rate on consumption that would reduce disparities in consumption. This is a lively back-and-forth about a very timely topic.

Size: 28.3 MB
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Brady on the State of the Electorate

EconTalk Episode with David Brady
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Brady of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the electorate and what current and past political science have to say about the upcoming midterm elections. Drawing on his own survey work and that of others, Brady uses current opinion polls to predict a range of likely outcomes in the House and Senate in November. He then discusses the role of recent health care legislation in the upcoming election as well as Obama's approval ratings. The conversation concludes with Brady's assessment of how Congress might deal with the demographic challenge facing entitlement programs.

Size: 28.8 MB
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Garett Jones on Macro and Twitter

EconTalk Episode with Garett Jones
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the art of communicating economics via puzzles and short provocative insights. They discuss Jones's Twitter strategy of posting quotes and short puzzles to provoke thinking. Jones, drawing on his experience as a Senate staffer, discusses the interaction between politics and economics in the area of tax cuts and earmarks. For example, are earmarks good or bad? Jones gives an unconventional analysis. He also discusses the economics of the new workplace and why that might mean a different path for productivity over the business cycle than in the past.

Size: 29.2 MB
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Hamilton on Debt, Default, and Oil

EconTalk Episode with James Hamilton
Hosted by Russ Roberts

James Hamilton of the University of California, San Diego, and blogger at EconBrowser talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the rising levels of the national debt and the growing Federal budget deficit. What is the possibility of an actual default, or an implicit default where the government prints money to meet its obligations and causes inflation? What might signal an impending default? And what is the long-range forecast for the U.S. government's obligations? Later in the conversation, the subject turns to oil prices, an area of Hamilton's research. Hamilton explores the causes of the increasing price of oil over the last decade and the implications for the economy.

Size: 30.7 MB
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Cochrane on the Financial Crisis

EconTalk Episode with John Cochrane
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Cochrane, of the University of Chicago, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis. He talks about the origins of the crisis, why the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was flawed from the beginning, why mark-to-market accounting isn't the cause of the problem, argues for letting banks fail, and makes the case against the large increases in government spending.

Size: 33.8 MB
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Bernstein on Inequality

EconTalk Episode with William Bernstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Bernstein, author of A Splendid Exchange, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Bernstein is worried about it; Roberts is not. Bernstein argues that inequality is damaging to the health of low-status people and hurts the health of the economy. Roberts challenges Bernstein's empirical evidence. It's a lively conversation on the economics of status, productivity and the progressivity of taxes.

Size: 25.9 MB
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Barro on Disasters

EconTalk Episode with Robert Barro
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Barro of Harvard University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks about disasters--significant national and international catastrophes such as the Great Depression, war, and the flu epidemic in the early part of the 20th century. What do we know about these disasters? What is the likelihood of a catastrophic financial crisis in the United States? How serious is the current economic situation in the United States? The conversation also includes discussions of economic stimulus, tax policy, and the recent worldwide rise in commodity prices.

Size: 29.6 MB
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Hanushek on Education and School Finance

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the strange evolution of school finance in the last four decades. In particular, the courts have played an important role in recent years in mandating expenditure increases for public school systems. Hanushek talks about why this has come about and the lack of effect these expenditures have had in affecting student achievement.

Size: 30.9 MB
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Gene Epstein on Gold, the Fed, and Money

EconTalk Episode with Gene Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gene Epstein, Barron's economics editor, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues of the gold standard relative to fiat money. Epstein argues that privately issued money, backed by gold, would lead to an economy with much greater price stability and fewer and milder recessions.

Size: 30.9 MB
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Meltzer on the Fed, Money, and Gold

EconTalk Episode with Allan Meltzer
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Allan Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what the Fed really does and the political pressures facing the Chair of the Fed. He describes and analyzes some fascinating episodes in U.S. monetary history, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the gold standard and ends the conversation with some insights into recent Fed moves to intervene with investment banks. This is a wonderful introduction to the political economy of the money supply and central banks.

Size: 36.8 MB
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Rabushka on the Flat Tax

EconTalk Episode with Alvin Rabushka
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Alvin Rabushka of Stanford University's Hoover Institution lays out the case for the flat tax, a reform of the current system that would replace the 66,000 page U.S. tax code with a single rate and no deductions other than personal exemptions. An individual tax return would fit on a simple postcard. Rabushka discusses the economic changes that would come with such a reform and the adoption of the flat tax around the world since Rabushka and Robert Hall proposed the idea in 1981.

Size: 14.8 MB
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Greg Mankiw on Gasoline Taxes, Keynes and Macroeconomics

EconTalk Episode with Greg Mankiw
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Greg Mankiw of Harvard University and Greg Mankiw's Blog talks about the state of modern macroeconomics and Keynes vs. the Chicago School. He defends his proposal to raise gasoline taxes and discusses the politics of tax policy.

Size: 13.9 MB
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