« The Weeds

One Billion Americans


In this crossover episode from the Ezra Klein Show - Ezra and Matt discuss the early days of blogging, Twitter, climate change, and Matt's case for having 1 billion Americans.

Buy Matt's book!


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox


Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Editor and Producer

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this episode comes from one plea: gig, worker or self employed. If so, this is, for you miss of self employed workers may qualify for up to fifty thousand dollars in one hundred percent. Forgivable ppp loans and wobbly can help you access that support, while please over three hundred thousand small businesses. Get a ppp alone and proudly serves more than six hundred thousand small businesses across Amerika funds are to apply now at Womply COM box and see if you qualify for a PPP alone- that's w, oh p l y dot com, VOX Womply, is not allowed, their terms and programme rules apply. Support for this episode comes from clicker illusion. Which three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with click up a flexible platform. The brings
Your essential tools into one place where you can prioritize tasks, collaborate in Docs chat with your team and track goals, so companies like uber and web flow use click up. Is their mission control Center, replacing every other app that we're using before click up even guarantee is to help you save one day a week and get more done. It's completely customizable, it's free forever, so try click up today at click up dot, com, slash the weeds ebooks, as I think you may have heard. I have been working on a book for a while, as the book is this week? It is called one billion Americans the case for thinking bigger the thesis of the book as you maybe can tell from the title is that we should think about making the country bigger like about having one billion Americans. So this is an episode I did with as recline a longtime friend of mine, a longtime collaborator of mine, cofounder of VOX Com, cofounder of the weeds podcast. I was really excited to just sort of explain what the book's about I've been doing. A lot of podcasts to promote the book, but
in my favour, one of them all blow and welcome today's concho on the box media Pike S network. You may be familiar with my guest today, Mattie glaciers of vocs go founding fame weeds host. My caused over there on unafraid, as somebody who is work, is a blog got me into blogging. Who gave me some of my earliest links? I worked with him at the american prospect. A million of night said the boy with him. When I lived in DC, we co founded Box, along with Melissa altogether. Somebody's been a huge influence on my career and, of course, I had a dear friend on a map is out with a new book called one billion Americans about the need to radically increase the american population through both having more children, but also importing or allowing where people to come here and it's a kind of workable book of policy synthesis and in
sort of framing at around this idea that the core driver, but national prosperity growth is actually people and if we want to see a mockery the permanent nation with the rising China and India in the future, we're going to have to have more people, then it can help us. About how to order a policy agenda behind that everything from how do you think about climate? such as adding more people is not a disaster for the globe to what is needed, so people can actually buy a house afford school. Have health insurance have preschool, have lots Is this a lot of really really interesting and really challenging policy thinking in here, but also be I believe that a long time in a weird way, it's hard to ask your friends summit. Should you want to know about them and their backgrounds cause? You got to act like you know, people not entail It then, when you see them for a drink, and so I get to do better that this podcast, which has a lot of fun as well as my email is as her concho a box to come here is Matt Iglesias, Matthew vases hawk into the bug. Guest scrape
here at long last. Finally, we get to do a podcast together, it's a different podcast, though it's got his whole own vibe, I'm excited about this, because when the things things found fund about punk guessing people, I know well, as I get to ask all kinds of questions that are weird to ask, even like, in a normal social setting, Khazar supposed to talk to your friends, like gum thereof, on interviewing you ve never met before, but soon I gotta get her like job on my magic laces preconceptions and ask a bunch of where questions of you are you ready. Ambrady am excited, I'm nervous, I'd. You should be no. This is gonna, be tough worshippers, blogger, it I dont remember if it with cows files, talking points Mama or and yourselves daily dish. It was roughly all three of those that
at the same time. How did you get into that? Were you where you come in for for an issuer? What we, what was happening, that as a college duty, began reading all these weird blogs of lots of people got cranky, so I wasn't in turn in Chuck, shimmers office in the summer of two thousand one since it before before nine eleven before the whole war, blog thing happened, and so I was working for worse, humours communications director and my responsibility as was assembling the daily clips packet. And that mostly meant I mean this you're really dates. Me really makes it sound like an old man, The main job was to take this big stack of print newspapers, cut out any articles that mention Chuck humor, copy them on the Xerox machine and like put them together into a bundle that would then be faxed to the DC off
Yes, and to their regional offices like there was one in Rochester one in Buffalo. You know like tat I was in. I was in New York City, so that was the the mainstay of the clip job, but I also was supposed to like, search for him online or track his online mentions, and I came across a couple times he wound up being mentioned in slate, which, at that time, you remember, slate used to have like today's papers do feature yeah. So this was like a big, a big like slate content thing. At that point, it was like every day they had an article that was summarizing stuff. That was, Newspaper is then, every week they had an article that was summarizing stuff. That was in like news weekly skies like those where thing at that time, and then they briefly had this feature, and it was like a blogs round up and humor. I think over the course of the summer got mentioned in that slate blogs round up a few different times. I don't
all remember why? But that was how I first got to those early blogs that we're done by Mickey caused by just marshal and by Inter Sullivan Those three I always think of as the sort of the founding fathers of the blogosphere die. I like their sites, and so I started reading them regularly, not just as a kind of catches can catch clips thing, and that's my that's my blog argent. What what was your take away from workin? Send it in turn? It was it in usual thinkers. So I was in New York right, not in DC, so that the New York City Office was relatively small, but tumors communications director. One of those real New York snobs who just hated DC, and so he would spend like one night a week in D C, when the Senate was in session of the rest of the time and in New York. So I so I worked, but very closely, very directly with her
and then Schumer part of his stick is that every weekend he does a press conference for local and so we would sort of alternate between upstate out state offices and every other week in New York City. So I would sort of personally staff, a lot New York City. We weekend press conferences, so I got a sort of a fair amount of like face time with, with the senator like gonna, be in him, and some near Nypd cop who was his are in the city like we drove up to Yankee Stadium, and we did some press event about blood donations with Joe Tory up there, which is really cool. I think
You know at the biggest thing that I learned in that time. That rarely task was that the communication stricter he's like a tech guy now as a start up guy. He didn't really like politics, and this is part of what made him such a great communications director, because his whole thing was that the marginal voters right the voters, you're actually trying to persuade of things. They also don't like politics and they don't care. Like sin. Political didn't exist at that time, but like what's in roll call right. What's a nice people to know better than to see an end inside politics, the two p M show like play that role where and it was weird types and so Angel Bradley would always say. Look I've got all these staffers. Unlike they live in DC, and their obsessed with politics their friends are obsessed with politics, and they want to see their bosses on inside politics. They want to see
ass is quoted in the hot. Why? Right and like my job is to keep this team focused. On local television news stations in Bingham, ten and buffalo, and newspapers in Syracuse and you know. Can we get mention somehow in the sports pages. You know I talked about this stunt with with Joe Tory Right, but like that was the whole point was like that got Chuck Sumer doing something, help fall in front of an audience that was not obsessed with politics, the biggest thing we did that summer. This is again it's not that long ago, but its ancient technology, the usually this thing where you could press star, six, nine or star six six special fund features right, so the phone company would charters example, call somebody back for you exam. So that's what I remember I would like again. If you heard it rang and you missed it, you could start six nine and sometimes ring the person back, not in time press star. Six, nine
and it would automatically redial whoever had last called you if you didn't have caller id. So the phone company would charge you for STAR sixty nine, but they wouldn't tell you that they were going to charge you. It would just show up on your phone bill, so we just like we killed it, the press event like denouncing this and saying it was a scam and we'd like the senator would be up there with some primitive, I think, was a Motorola STAR tack in primitive mobile phone and he would dialect and like show it to two, then the cameras that no warning was given about this charge, and he would tell this sob story about some friend of his, whose daughter had wrapped up hundreds of them and it was like a big hit when we did in the city. And so then we went on the road tour right. He did it. I think in all his different. You know upstate media markets, and we had to calculate the
how much money was gonna be saved by Albany family. Is I in this thing- and you know he had got the FCC to promulgate a new rule about this eventually, so it you worked in terms of helping people but also to some extent his political talents wasted on New York state which he had won a tough race in ninety ninety eight. But that was like the last time there was a remotely competitive statewide election in New York State, as I could do anything and would just get elected, but he had this incredible hustle and this incredible instinct for the fact that, like the way you convince people who are persecuted people aren't aren't persuadable, but the people are persuadable. They want want to see that you are impacting their lives, tangible ways ways.
Want to see you doing it in media outlets that are not geared toward people who are obsessed with politics, and I think about that like The time it doesnt influence. I'd like I've been hearing this more from you actually lately that one of your one of the things they would like the matter. Glacis political world view right now is at the front. Is that democratic? But I mean all policies. Hence, but we talk a lot about the democratic race are complete Lee distorted by paying too much tension, did not just political media but to political activist groups, and so their sense of like who their voters are, has gone completely, the wind and they're, making constant political missteps, because there, the forgetting, like the broadly tusk, lessons about the tax yeah I mean exactly I mean that's been, of my posts? Twenty sixteen kind of theme is that Democrats have, I think, gotten too far away from that
That kind of thing we are. We were just offer for the weeds. We were interviewing ironic Escobar as Texas Member of Congress, and you know she's very she's, a safe blue sea in El Paso and very engaged on border issues on immigration issues, but you know I asked her like what she thought about. Trump's apparent success with it with the latino vote she didn't put it in those exact Bradley TUSK frames, but,
She was saying the exact same thing that look you have you know, but that the average wage earners and loyal democrat husband for years and will continue to be. But then you know you have a lot of people working class people of color as as well as white who, like the very busy work, is really hard to try to put food on the table for their families. They don't like politics that much they just don't think it's interesting and like they don't want to hear from Democrats, abstract ideological appeals to racial solidarity. They were hear something like you know here said we're gonna fix your high school by broken up, we're gonna, get the plumbing better there and, as Democrats have become more and more, the party of highly educated people, which is
been a strength in a lot of ways and his let them incorporate frankly a lot of like cosmopolitan themes that I agree with in a much more robust way. It does tend to encourage them big, because the people who do the politics themselves are obviously college graduates who love politics and the small donor base is college graduates who love politics, but to get like so spun up into these kind of abstraction. Swayed like what you know that up weekly, sound version of this is that its Alec Unpopular, when, when you talk about like the soul of America or this is not who we are as a country but still like that's appealing to a certain level of abstraction verses, a certain level of concreteness. That's like here's, the thing, here's what I'm doing for you here, sir. Wife will improve in a specific way if I won the election and the political
media I mean this is not just like on Democrats subjectively challenging because they politics, focused media, doesn't like to cover. Those store is right like the most boring story in the world, old, would be to say, Democrats support, raising the minimum wage. Where's Republicans oppose it because, like who care spread like it's, not new, it's not sexy. It's not interesting, isn't gonna go viral, but that kind of thing is actually very important to less political voter sprite because, like you, might be making the minimum wage or have somebody in your family. Who is so what? What? What thing that I take as a difference? In sir my view, politics went on yours, it's just like I hate twitter much more than you do, and I think it has had more of a positive effect on politics.
But one of the things that I think is telling about it is that those kinds of issues, not necessarily soul of America things but identity oriented issues is can like a I think. You're referring to is like highly educated political professional issues. They really do there I mean the minimum wage fights just don't absorb twitter for days days and days in the way that, like raced bites, do gender fights, do cancel culture I do like a hundred other things that I think like fall into this box of of things it like Chuck, tumors team did want to be talking about. In the early arts anchors, why? You think that is. Why is it that there is a basket of issues it is so valuable to political junkies of of both professional and amateur persuasions that is not shared, then
by people who are not that interest in politics, I, why doesn't the ladder of engagement go all the way down versus are being this kind of like break at some point red for a kind of issue becomes more engaging that is being neglected, You know I mean, I think, that people who are highly engaged with politics, you know that's an important part of their identity weight and then they form certain kinds of a script IV groups on that basis. Right and I think the content of those identity groups can actually shift around right so like for a while Medicare for all was like a huge classic flashpoint on twitter. So I don't think it's that light race and gender identity issues necessarily always dominate on their wares economics and stop. Doesn't it
a kind of digital tribal is among the people who love politics right and so like there are people who are so be mad at me, like today, their fury ass because years ago, I expressed scepticism that a Medicare for all campaign platform would be a great idea for Democrats to adopt right is like fury and and rage and like it shows how corrupt I am and how corrupt you are too. I mean took to be clear where we were both in it and now we're like nobody. Talks about me, CARE for all right, like it's, got completely vanished from the realm of stuff. People are going about on Twitter for the moment, but for while people were incredibly exercised about it, but what they weren't exercised about was like the boring details of healthcare
policy, where it would be you now we could do price regulations. We could you know by now right here some proposals to peg the subsidies. I think TAT gold raided plans rather than silver, and it's like you cannot people to be interested in that right, the only way you could get people to be interested in that is, if I were to assert that Biden's health care plan was really good. Some left wing people would like dunk on me because I it's like everybody is dying and all anyone wants is free health care and here's. This asshole talking about Joe Biden's complicated plan, but that's like the world of idea and it's a world of people with very firm convictions, which is me too. I don't want to say, like I've, achieved an incredibly enlightened plan of nuance that other people haven't. Is that all of us who care a lot about politics
about the sign posts that demonstrate whether somebody else like cares in the same way as we do or cares about the same things as we do, and then this is, I mean famously right: it's like a huge share of the eligible population, just never votes. That's like a huge bach of people is the people would on vote at all. Then there's like a big a block of people who sometimes and sometimes doubt and then there's a smaller group of people who vote very regular way but switch between the parties all the time and those people. Ride like those of the margins on which elections are one and loss at a different way, the non voters, the sporadic voters and the swing. Voters are just all people who don't care as much as the rest of us and there really interested in random things that impact
in some kind of specific way, or they get fired up about something out of left field that you know we haven't been thinking about where those of us who are like there in the take trenches day in and day out care a lot about these kind of affiliation points. I think it can be bad. I mean I like twitter and I have a lot of fun on there and I and I learned a lot, but definitely if I was but running a political operation, I would be really hard to get people to get to. Way way way way way down and pay a lot more attention to what some local tv news What's it like go and that this reminds me of a question I have on the task you, which could also easily, as you say, apply to make. But what's it like gone from young guy on the new media platform who a noise, the establishment, pundits and yells at them for being too soon. Often incremental list and deal see us to middle aged guy.
Who is seen as he establishment by young people coming up on on the new platforms like what is it? What is it? Teach you gone through the circle of Pandit life, like that, Oh it's so weird. You know I mean you know. One thing is just the kind of basic cycle of disillusionment right where, because by the nominee, the sort of younger, more left when people are not gonna, get to Some day, you know what you want. Bernie Sanders, but will be somebody ride like a sea or on Omar. Somebody like dad is gonna become president People are going to learn the lesson that I think you and I learned about Barack Obama's presidency, which is just like matter as much as you would think to have sound I want to say that in before Obama was president, I did in american Prospect Cover story called the president. Does it matter as much as you think and thank the America prospect
or got mad at us for that, but I was I was on that Tipp of your Buddy Buddy Buddy, buddy mattered less than that even like. I just don't know, read like it's like that it was their brother bomb, a red he's like he was a writer. I really like TAT. I like to talk to him several times like before he was a presidential candidate. I felt like. I knew him much better than I know Joe Biden and at the time I was like really gratified to have. Somebody who I felt like was like a really good guy, like a smart, thoughtful person in all the right kind of ways in the White House, and I just came by the end of it- to think that that was just not that important. You know I liked it I like him as a personality better than I like Joe Biden, and I liked number of candidates in the twenty twenty field, as personalities better than I like Biden, but I also by the time twenty twenty came around. I like. I really thought it did
man, who was the nominee, was except you know it mattered. A little bit. Relax ability it matter some on on foreign policy, but like it's just the less important, and people want to make it out to be which which now learn. The other thing, though, is that, like the overture window, an american politics has shifted really far to the left wing I was a like left wing or phone blue. I had opinions like we shouldn't cut social security and we should let gay and lesbian couples get married if they want to and those are now like such banal sell out establishment views, but if just weren't in two thousand five thousand six right, so you know I'd- be yelling at peace, it would be about ideas that, like nobody, would express today right there like, so you train and weird or even Donald Trump, doesn't want to cut social security anymore. So, like that's gone,
or it used to be. The Democrats wouldn't want to talk about climate change. They would say that we need to get energy into and so then I as like a doctrinaire leftist, would say like no like we shall have to cut carbon dioxide emissions to address climate change and again now, like that's like nobody would think that was an interesting thing too, right and the whole deal to be on the cutting edge laugh dislike. Like I a green new deal, I guess this is. More complicated ideological constructs that we didn't used to have so that's been Interesting to me, but, like that's, always been my dream right, like some people, I think in left of center. Punditry are like obsess best with China on the space as being the true progressive and like beat down anybody who's to their left, and I'm not like that. I always like I want to be in the Evan by position in politics or Europe,
he is actually get to carry the day. Means that you need a robust ecosystem of people who are much more left wing than me, which I think we are starting to have, and those people annoy me all the time, sometimes because their objectively, doing so I'm just cause it's annoying to be criticised even when you deserve it, but I think it's good to sort of have that ecosystem built right that the olden days when, like you and I like fire and away at tapped, There- was the american pressure bog like that, like what we want. We weren't gonna get me think done that way. If you don't want to be like the left, most people in the discourse you wanna, you wanna, be the estate, ten, so I guess, if all a great victory victory AUS. Remember that I rode some. I think it was it tat that I did this. I wrote some blog post yelling at NEO, liberals and I got ass. I, the washing of monthly, like why do you keep attacking the liberals and they sent you know like we?
credit. The liberals would like one. He come. Do an interview, Charlie Peters, about what NEO liberalism really is inside. I, when it did that in those likeness, comes between me and the passion about they found a truly Peters on and on the web somewhere, but then later career, I'd, say, bite, opinions only moved left during this period of time. But I became like seen as the new, liberal, which also reflects the idea of NEO liberalism changing a little bit. But its very funny thing to watch politics rotate around you and I think a healthy thing I agreed at I dont think I told the Baltic should remain should remain that stable. But it brings me to talk to my next question for you, which is how to pics of twenty twenty medical esias differ from the politics of two thousand and one medical esias. What one of the biggest You really moved on or change your mind on, so I become like a more pessimistic about
use of military force. I was you going back like pre nine eleven. I was definitely from the good to have this. Kosovo war frustrated that the Clinton administration wasn't doing more in Bosnia. Looking back saying, it was a big mistake: intervene in Rwanda and oversee nine eleven happened. There were wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, but you know dictating before that right up the reason I was on board for supposed nine eleven huh his turn and you, as foreign policy, is that I was somebody who wanted a turn like that before we were, we were attacked by terrorists, and I just I really think. That's like incredibly misguided. I mean not just the specifics of the war in Iraq which everybody now thinks, but the general idea that the United aid should maintain a large military establishment. Fortune
a sickly non defensive purposes and then use it alot as a constructive way of engaging with the world. Like I think, that's, I think that's really really really wrong and, I think, probably the biggest place in which I have changed didn't beyond that. I've been on a sine curve about sort of how people should think about race issues who is in terms of this sort of political ability of like directly calling out and confirm racism. I think it used to be the overwhelming conventional wisdom. That, like you, should never talk about race from a centre left perspective that all that, like race did in politics, was it was away. Four conservatives to win elections by making economic redistribution politically toxic. I was like a little sceptical of that conventional wisdom. I was
eager to see a sort of more robust anti racist dialogue coming out after Brok, Obama became president if it was good that we were confronting some of these topics, and now I think I think that that's overshot you know- and I think that there is a need to bring back some of the old thought that its politically and socially constructive to like talking about what what brings people together and to do a little bit less sort of searing inquiry into everything. So that's one where I feel like I've changed a little and I feel like the world has really like pivoted around me in slightly easy ways. I also think I've changed my mind like seven times about that. This is like endless Debbie eight about whether you should have universal programmes or whether they should be means tested, and I forget it- I like many many many times about that- I'm
Only on universal is good, but I I I feel I've gotta going get a flop again, A bunch of things in there strike me, and particularly the race question, strike me as relating to what what are the roles of different players and policies, and something I've thought a lot about over the past couple of years is. I think that people tend to send everybody or assume everybody is supposed to be like a communications actor actor in electoral politics. When you have ecosystem folks- and some people are like, try to say what they think is true. You know, academics are, hopefully journalists and some people are activists trying to push the window and savings. It aren't even always one hundred percent true, but are mean to make their issues either get more centrality or make them more popular and other people are Joe Biden trying to win elections, and you know you've got this sort of whole world of people and one of the things that strikes me as being
the part of the political conclusions at the moment is social media, in particular Klopstock boundaries between these people as an without always in a way that wasn't true. When I was yep, unlike the american prospect, you does, it do have in an ongoing public way, political consultants, political activists, political journals and power, all yelling at each other in the same conversation in public always, but now you do, and so one thing that it seems to me to constantly be happening. Is people accusing other folks of wrongdoing because they're not playing like the role in politics? They want to see them playing, but that's also not their exact role in politics. I didn't used to like the sort of fake boundaries in politics, but I wouldn't miss some of their capacity to say you like, like these people, were here doing opinion and these people over here like reporting. The news in these people over here are political consultants like they don't I'll have to follow the same, rules. It was useful for people to understand different actors have had as having different
James and I've got a confusion as its functions of all converged, inter like one insanely loud hard to follow online conversations way, I mean the problem is that on some level were just all out here, slinging content tried, so it's like everybody produces tweets and everybody produces podcast. And everybody produces bucks and it's hard to like assess sometimes like. What's why? and you have more and more nonprofit journalism happening. You have you know, did you just have like a lot of different things going on and agree a lot of the time? If you read a statement and you like? Ok, if I read this, as a political document tried like, I am trying to get people to vote for me, you say like
okay, fair enough right. That is great. On the other hand, if you say like no okay, this is supposed to be something to educate people you're, like that's, really not so great right, because when you're trying to inform people, you want to underscore the complexity of an issue, because that's how people learn right. So it's like I'm going to really highlight what's hard about this. I'm gonna really highlight the dissonant information and give rigorous arguments about it. I've been explained trade offs, in particular in a clear way right. That's the educational function of scholarship or or journalism, and activism is antithetical to that. Right, like you would be doing, activists problem if you admitted that there were trade offs to your policy preferences like that's, just not like how you do it, but it's not just like
rules are unclear. I think that people themselves have become unclear, like I read journalism, output that feels to me like it would be fine if it was activism, but it really seems like this is supposed to be journalism. You know, and that kind of flattening where it's hard for people to say. Okay. My role here is not just to sort of be flattering toward the candidate who I prefer, but is to actually
like explore the issue in a real way. I'm or also that like like it can be the opposite. You know so it's like, I would do in article. I think I I I wrote about how Elizabeth warrants like General Election Pauling, was really bad, that her favourable weightings outwit with the general public, who were really bad and people took that as well a hit on her and they wanted to know what was my like ulterior motive motive honestly didn't. Have an ulterior motive like I really like, of whose footwear and I've interviewed her many times, I've written very positively about her book about some of her main policy. Ideas like that was just. My observation, like I was talking,
Election minded people. I was looking at the numbers. There was a lot of curiosity about electability and it just like. It seemed to me that her numbers were bad and that's why I was saying that, but it was hard to it's like hard to pursue wade anyone that anything is done in good faith out there and it's. You know it's become a real issue right. I mean both on the production the audience side like. Does anyone actually care to consume? journalism in its like fast. Journalism with a capital, J condescends or does ever I'm just kind of want to hear you know about how terrible of their opponents are But this is a culture change, so I think we should say, as I understand this part, it's kind of hitting the lineages of
opinion, journalism and magazine journalism. I think still still people read the news pages of the Washington Post and kind of see it something different, but in those worlds, when we came into What what when you in our young men when we're at the american prospect like the dominant form and coal, sure of opinion, journals and was provocation, and the New Republic was the master at this, but slate and slay pitcher part of it to write. The idea was like you wanted to provoke people and get them king and make the mad at you or make a mad and the upside of wanting be provocative counter intuitive was it. It was a nice push, sometimes too question the conventional wisdom and figure out things to say that were maybe new and unusual, and sometimes even true, now the problem, but being provocative a counter to active like as a strand She is you often where one an asshole and to wrong, because we often times like the banal, The conventional wisdom was correct and I ve been that changed and I think that in
opinion journalism in general, now there's very, very little. Tolerance for provocation. People want you to say things that are hopefully true, but much more to the point like position taking in a correct way and again, the upside is. Some of that is, I think, there's more respect for expertise than there was previous previous era think there's more more concerned with moral valence of journalism than there was in the previous era, but is a like got like a lack of taller and after times are concerned about one single wrong thing, but to just like exploring things just to explore them like not a very little journalism, fuels ache, with exception descending podcasting, actually budgets, but I think a lot of us have public run over to it there's very little in journalism feels like a truly exploratory space, which felt more common to me at least ten fifteen years ago. Right I mean I should probably mention my
One billion Americans which to me right the book is very much inspired by what I think of is the best of that kind of slate tradition or New Republic before it Michael Kinsley like come up with something weird, there should be a billion Americans and people are gonna, be like what and then try to convince them that it's true right. So it's like you, try to discombobulate people a little bit and then you try to explain stuff to you. You try to be rigorous. You try to be educational. You try to be formative. Other sea. There was a lot of that kind of thing. That was bad, wait, a fair amount of it involved. Straw eying. It involves sort of being willfully obtuse about what was going on in certain areas or positing stuff that just like didn't make sense right. So there was an infamous one.
Great Easterbrook who is like he was a real master of this genre of counter intuitive then, where he was like George W Bush. Is the greatest climate president and like he wasn't right like electing Al Gore, politician of our time, who was most focused on the climate change issue more than Nobody else would have been good for climate change, electing the site. Random oil guy from Texas. That was really bad right and it was, really close election. A lot of people voted Ralph Nadir alot of people. A lot of people did a lot of things right. My think it's like look like if even one person somewhere was convinced by this Gregg Easter Burke take a chemist, really fucked up. You know like on his part and people in that era didn't take. I think they didn't take their role seriously enough
you know what I mean they were they weren't saying there being like wait like what, if somebody decides this is correct and goes and act on that belief and it turns out to be wide. Wrong? Aren't I going to be a little sad that I didn't even even like kick the tires This premise more than just kind of dashed off, because it sounded clever at the bar, and I think it's good, that people now take it seriously right, like sometimes too seriously, but I think it's good to take error to err on the side of taking seriously more seriously than it deserves. You don't make sense to me right. It's like it's. Your own work so, like you, take take it seriously, but I do think that we have lost some sense of the idea that not not air to just tell the audience that all of their ideas are already correct. That doesn't make sense right.
You just say that everybody who's demographically similar to you is already correct about everything, that, if you're not some times at AIDS, it if you're not trying to navigate toward those areas where people's were people in your audiences preconceptions are wrong. It's a! U not accomplishing anything right. You just turning yourself into
a kind of replacement level creator of digital charm, and I think that's bad. I mean it's, it's intellectually unhealthy, but like it's not so bad for people's careers to not be like emotionally robust to getting yelled at online is essential. We back after a short break support, for this episode comes from America's leading beverage companies who are working together to reduce plastic waste in our environment. Not all plastic is the same. America's beverage companies are carefully designing. One hundred percent recyclable plastic bottles, including the cap's their bottles, are made to be remained, and they are investing in community recycling programmes to help get more bottles back, so they can be turned into materials used to make new bottles that completes the circle
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Asked features of one thousand plus integrations became, must have for anyone wanting to track manage to tackle their work in one place and two hours back with click up trade for free today, click up that palm slash, the weeds, fear first book for people, don't know it was a book about foreign Paul heads in the sand and then your second book with a short like an epoch, the rent is too damn high end. You hadn't period, moved away from being a foreign policy writer and, as you know, I would try to make you write foreign policy stuff at VOX you'd be like yeah, I'm focused over here now, and so I was really interested to open this one up and find that it is framed first and foremost as a foreign policy book at his frame, first and foremost as a book driven by a concern about whether America would be able to maintain its influence and sensuality and global system be severe, rising China. Where did that comfort?
Is that a frame that you used to get into the one billion Americans idea or that actually the motivating the turn of the book so can't had this idea of the transcendental deduction right, which was gonna, be like his way out of the incredible what he says that skeptical intellectual puzzles add the David Hume Post, and so I think so much of the stuff you write and say, is sort of demonstrates the impossibility of ever fixing anything or ever improving anything else. That's my sceptical as recline two due to the sceptical reading of of Hume, and so then the question is equal, but what are we doing here? Right, like? what are the circumstances under which it could be possible to do anything. Given the sort of daunting obstacles there and to me, international crisis is sort of the answer to that question.
Where did? These are the moments that the pressure of America's national identity. Global identity and global role is the thing that frequently moves the political system of this sort of narrow butter. My individual incentives as a particular mystic political actor, and so that got me thinking more about American, the world right and in China, which is absolutely out there. And you know what is this amount two, when it's got a coincidence that, like the small levers of bi partisanship that we see in the Trump era, are about China, you know Chuck humor praised the decision to go after Tik Tok. This is like the area in which people see Americans as a common
entity, and not like two warring tribes contesting for political power? And so you know I was thinking about like what can we do with that idea like what can come out of it? And you know this is not a book about foreign policy right I mean, I think, a real foreign policy book about China. You would want to talk about like how do we make an alliance with Vietnam are like? Should we have submarines in the Philippines? Are you know something else like that? But you don't have to intercede. Look if we see America in decline in relative decline. How does that make us feel and MIKE? I think it makes us feel bad. I think the idea that America should be great or great again has very broad purchase an american politics. I think it's wrapped. I think the idea that we have a lot of political and moral values in common that we really dont have with piracy. Leadership is correct and you can see
like will? What are the sinews of national strength right like it's? It's the people and the prosperity of the people, and ultimately it feels to me that we we uphold our international role by sort of tending our own garden, effectively, not by bragging about how much money were throwing at military equipment answer the book is, is really about that. I want to do that. First thing that struck me as an interesting move. Your making, you don't spend a ton of time on it conceptually, but you were saying earlier with the way you've changed since the early odds he's become a sport. Pacifistic but you haven't become, and it's clear from disillusioned with the idea that Americans try to play a central role in the world, and so it does seem to me that one thing you're doing here- and please just tell me if this is an incorrect reading- is that you are looking for an alternative grounding for american foreign policy strength and there's always been a progressive like line of rhetoric. The sort of John Kerry like we should be building
fire houses in Baghdad while we're letting them crumble here at home. That says like it, american striped comes from from from investing here, but you to be framing a progressive, idea of NATO Ism as both a like a generator of progressive values? Right you should have people and you know, give them a good life but also generator of a different and of american strength, because it would give us more innovation and economic power and do so without forcing us into out war or sabre rattling as a recourse as we find ourselves in decline. So we will have the same triptych to China. Right, yes, so over there when we were over there, one of the chinese guys who you know the years and years and GAD they trotted all these people out at the different interminable meetings and like really long meals, but like one of the guys over there, he said some like smug thing about, like China won the war in Afghanistan.
Like ten years later, we are still fighting this war in Afghanistan, and I think it's really true right that, like America, has been sort of squandering resources on these military adventures in places that are not that important and you know you can look at the money that was spent there, and you can say how like, wouldn't it be great if we have like really cool trains instead of like a war in Afghanistan, and it would be great because, like the train should be cool, but it's not just that it would be nice to have the trains like our actual national security position would be much stronger today if we had spent the past twenty years addressing infrastructure needs. Another version of this argument right that that comes to mind is Jerry Taylor, whose now become this intellectually interesting. This cannon centre guy, but I first met him. He was like a kind
banal Cato Institute Energy Guy, but even so what he was saying there was that, like the amount of money we were spending on trying to maintain the security of middle eastern oil supplies with wildly out of proportion to the actual economic value of the oil, and we could just be spending that money on like building windmills. I got for climate change reasons, but just like in dollars and cents terms it didn't. It didn't make any sense as an investment, so you know those lines of, but I don't think either of those people are quoted directly in the book, but they are very much sort of inspired me there right that it's like the real future of the United States and international, Competition is just it's gonna be about like what do we have here are like. Are we a rich and prosperous and dynamic society because
In a pinch I mean, if you look at America's involvement in the world wars right like, in nineteen. Thirty, nine, like the american military, was total garbage, but America wasn't garbage. America was the richest country on the planet, and so when we had to throw a military together boom like we did it no problem now, God hopes we're not gonna have a war like that. But the point is that even in that, except ST it's. The fundamentals that went out so before we get into the question of why rapidly increasing population would make us stronger. I want it to go through with what will be the objection people have hearing this or reading the book, which is climate change, so on a per capita basis, Americans use more or a bit more greenhouse gases in any one else. Some, but the exception is a very, very small country players and then, if you people here, if you emigrate from or emigrate, I'm sorry from you
Brazil or Mexico our guy you're, going Europe carbon mission uses and intensity is going to go up so climate change. How does it interact with the one billion Americans theory might show. If the two issues he one is the biggest driver of increased emissions, if like foreigners move here, is just that they become more prosper swayed. So you know few movies from Haiti. Your income goes up probably five or six fold, and so yeah, like your your emissions go away on, but this solution to the climate change problem can't just be, will look everyone who's poor is going to stay poor forever. The one hand like I think that would be
oral, but if you look it wouldn't work like the United States does not have the capacity to stop India and Vietnam and Agility and Kenya from trying to industrialize and become more prosperous, they're. Just they're not gonna. Do it, then, conversely, of the United States is on a per capita basis, the biggest amateur, where I think, I'm a historical basis, deal the biggest amateur, but on a current basis, yes, we're not even close to being the number one matter. Our missions are trending downward. China's India's trending up, I must have got fifteen percent of the global pie, so even if somehow like made american co2 emissions vanish or something that doesn't solve the problem right, so curbing economic development can be part of the solution. Constraining? U S, emissions cannot solve the problem,
fundamentally, you do have a political challenge to deploy existing clean technology jeez that work and then you have a technical challenge to like develop other technologies that will work to solve other aspects of the problem, and you know what I say in the book is like: we should do what we can to solve those hard technical problems. It's like not what the biggest out. But, like you, you gotta do something right like we need a way to make steel and concrete that don't use carbon emissions. We need like some stuff about agriculture, and then you know on the deployment side the things that you need to do to sort of get the billion Americans the infrastructure the housing stock renewal. Those are also the things that you need to do to have clean energy right that if you look in a brass tacks way, it's Why don't we all have solar panels on roofs? Why don't we have?
an emissions grid. They can balance renewables and switch them on smartly, on and off like. Why? Don't we explore nuclear micro reactors like a million other things, it's because we have these political structures that lend themselves to not building anything and really not doing anything at all and so I think, there's like an incredible short of thematic and intellectual resonance between a bill. Americans and the idea of like a green new deal right. The idea that climate change is not going to be addressed through, like pastor pastoralism, we're not gonna all go live in countryside somewhere and like do more composting? How we need to work I want to. I want to hold you on that. I want to hold you on that point per second. You know I do so miss, but, but I do want to I do want to give you objective in its current there, a lot of people who do say that for human life to remain sustainable within a reasonable climate band. We will
have to move into some kind of de Growth MO in particular, rich countries like the. U s I mean this is a is part of gretta bergs rhetoric is something that you hear a lot in the argument there now like IQ, Squared debate, kind of things on this, a pop up at my feet all the time- and there is some sometimes almost moralistic idea, but it does have some truth to it that the climate disaster is a price we are paying. For growth, and the only way out of it is is less growth. So when you say that's not true like give me the actual like, you ve done work on these economic issues for a long time. Why are the DE growth is wrong, because climate change is not as bad as they say. It's like I hesitate to say this because I dont want to be. A person who's like climate change is no problem. We shouldn't do anything about it. It's that the
who say? Okay, this will lead to the extinction of humanity right, they're, making a very extreme claim that would warrant really extreme solutions like if you had to impoverish half the globe to prevent human extinction like you'd go. Do it right, if you had to log pre emptive air strikes on coal plants of the developed world, you would go do their right like it would be a total no brain like we should to Morrow fire up the drag and drop bombs. Every coal power plant all around the world, no brain or if you believe, like we're, teetering on the brink of that kind of apocalypse, but we just aren't what you're instead looking at is, like quote unquote only lay the deaths of hundreds of millions of people through flooding and aid like horrible things. That, like me, me feel horrible to be anyone downplaying like you could be
king at the worst catastrophe ever and like we should be doing really earned, should things to avert that, but what we shouldn't be doing is giving up on human life or the idea of prosperity, because the status quo is like really, bad, for people in poor countries like being someplace where there's all kinds of subsistence, farming and people have no electricity, like that's terrible, like we need to have solutions at both politically is like it just won't work like you can sit around talk about, oh well, we should have g growth, but guess what like we want. We won't have to growth and other countries want have de growth and unilateral de growth wooden accomplish anything so like wheat, we need to work on things that create the energy that people need and it make it and sustainable ways, and we ve had an incredible amount of good news on that front. Right, I mean solar technology like really work
well electric cars now really worthwhile and it is like a scandal that we are not just throwing money at tossing up solar facilities, win facilities, batteries and electric vehicles like we should just do that that doesn't eliminate the whole climate problem, but like really big trunk of the climate problem can be taken care of with technologies that we have now, then we've had like tons of progress on sort of Fox meat type stuff. You know Obviously, people can live without eating meat entirely. So you know that yeah. So the agriculture is hard but doable right. But then there's all this the stuff. You know, air travel, transoceanic, shipping, concrete, concrete and steel will really shouldn't know where, technically, at this point and like we need too, we need to put resources into solving
problems, because the idea of like a world in which people aren't going to want to like go travel to see their family like it. It doesn't work, it doesn't make sense to me. This is something that I thought was like an interesting meta framing of your book that you didn't exactly apply to class. But I thought actually did apply. So what else is going on in the book- and you can tell me this- is due cynical? Isn't it you ve sort of come up with a national goal, a national goal goal that fits the long history of american politics attaching itself too complex, ambitious, difficult missions in or to maintain a international national security or did pre eminence and that within that, a lot of like ass, a medically serious concerns and obsessions begin tat begin to merge into one programme so dealing with housing costs and the rent a student I deal with.
Gratian budgeted for things, but this is also true climate. I that it actually works what the same way that if you believe it's important for are going to be a strong nation in the future. If you believe, if you, if you bought in Telematic laces one billion Americans like met a framework, then there is this added urgency to figure our climate. And because you need to be able to do that to make the sustainable, and so, like my view, on climate change and people can go, listen tests to sell Griffith on the show unto episodes together about how you would actually do this, but we're not really dealing with primarily a technological problem? More technology would be useful. Don't get me wrong, but pretty from the american perspective. You're dealing with a political and social will problem like it's. Current social technology, solidarity, working systems of government that we don't have and whether you think, like one thing, people what I'm saying to fix that is like we need to get moving on climate change, and I almost feel like you're, throwing the ball or trying to throw it like further down the field, and it's like we need
get moving on making sure America maintains, maintains its position in the S, and I guess ultimately like twenty two centuries and that's not going to work. If we can't do something on climate change, I. This keeps getting worse in California. People are not gonna move here, because it's all gonna be on fire. So it's also a part of the same agenda. Yeah I mean that's definitely true. I mean. I also just think that the climate issue is inherently international in a way that's inconvenient for a lot of people. It makes it really challenging to solve, and it also means that if you want to think about climate in a real way, you do have to think about how the international relations element of it is supposed to work, which is hard really challenging problem, and I think that if you envision a world,
which the? U S in China are near peers and we are sort of competing with one another in a GEO political basis. The idea of us forming a international climate compact seems really difficult me right, like it's just like it. It's not gonna work as it can be a ladder. Suspicion and kind of things like that, I'm so by a counter proposal. Is that, like a man, should stay number one forever and we should say to the Chinese, the Indians, whoever owls like good for you like go, be rich, be prosperous countries like gonna leave you in the dust anyway, because we're rich already and our population is growing fast separately from that we have to talk about climate change right, because it's only one global atmosphere and we need some kind of deal on this and it's not that, like America, dictating will necessarily be better than somebody else.
I probably the Germans got to dictate on climate would be even better off they. I think, a more I got a huge band. Avow Germans dictating well, it's gone bad in the past, but it means currently. I think they have to have some good some good ideas on uncommon, but that it it will be constructive, ultimately, for the United States to have a clear strategy for you, know itself and its own global role. To then clarify that, like our climate negotiations are not about training, kneecap economic growth in the door world, and there are also not about environmentalists, giving away the store right. The way sort of conservatives make it out to be an Tito. Fundamentally, though, I think that american pre eminence is more compelling national project. Then climate ay.
Will be happy to be proven wrong? You know if the people trying to be partners around the idea that, like climate, should be the guiding principle that we all do everything around like. That would be great. I like most of the stuff they want to do. I agree that climate is very important. But tat you can see. Rhetoric is an incredibly polarizing topic in The more you get into it, the more polarizing it becomes where as American standing in the world is, I think something that actually does bring people together. It does it mean that everyone agrees on everything, but it because it's a high level objective that I think there's a lot of by in a round and the becomes the basis for some more constructive conversation,
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as we can make more Americans emilius, we can let more people come into country, become Americans and we're gonna talk about these in turn. But I want to talk about the birthrate path and we'll talk about it in a very particular context. So It's been a an idea in progressive politics and in the national democratic politics for a long time that, the next progressive agenda, and so is kind of the next one should be like the pro family gender family structures have changed dramatically since the new deal and the great society on birth rate, the fall in all kinds of things have become more expensive, the kids need and theirs. Interesting moment, two thousand and eight when I probably two thousand and six when Barack Obama came into the Senate, O four He named as his policy director, Karen Corn Blue who'd, been at the new market foundation and was no sort of like the progressive policy entrepreneur on like pro family policy, and then she was like significant camp.
And it did not, as she took a job as ambassador to the OECD in the administration, did come up a major part of his administration and so like seem for a minute like the vehicle that would push this intellect. Actually, the democratic gender and then wasn't really and nobody out leaving like it. Nobody really has, since you argue in the book, the Democrats do not take the policies you would need to be truly pro family seriously. So what are they getting wrong? what is the delta between where they are and where they need to be. You know why it's it's a question of for one thing, just prioritization right: it's like Democrats, keep talking about the staff and then not really doing up, and then the other thing is thinking, though, like left wing Democrats, when they,
that health care when they think about higher education. The very intellect universalism there like this is important like we need to give it to people and on child care everything or like family related things. Everything currently is being put forward in a cannon narrowly circumscribed anti pop.
Woody Free right, which is good. I mean it's good to have less poverty, so that an important goal, but it isn't actually pro family policy in the same, went away like middle class people struggle with the costs of this parenting stuff- and you know I think indeed, some kind of help to so. I think, like those of the to kind of biggest things right. So in the book I talk about a universal child allowance which most Democrats are sort of four, but dont really emphasise a lot of talk about universal preschool, which again deference are four, but they can. I dont really emphasise aloud, and it took about trying to address the gaps in the existing public education system were doing nothing after school. Do nothing in the summer time I see, you know it adds up to a pretty big agenda
but I think it amounts to asking just like common sense. What do kids actually need it and then saying look the public sector has to be involved in providing it. So there's a national level democratic agenda that you're talking about here, which is a social services and transverse agenda, which I think Democrats are pretty comfortable with in general. Even if they don't emphasize these pieces of it, There is a reality that in a lot of boosting and blue cities, and like the places that have the highest level of concentrated democratic governance, the reality is incredibly on Only two children really are to have a family and San Francisco hard. Often, one in allay in New York. I mean families eating driven out of these places on, if nobody inter redder states, which is partially White Texas, is becoming a little purple, are in an aeroplane. It might be one by Biden, although it does not, of course, only reasons, but why
higher. Why have progressive in the places where they ve had maximal power failed so dramatically to make it possible for people to have the families they want to. Have I mean so much of it comes down to causing right, I mean The house building situation in the big coastal natural areas has become incredibly constrained. And so you have a situation in which it just costs type of money to you now get a place to live in these cities and ended their suburbs- and then things become very bulk Ized around where the good public schools and if you want to get into the neighborhoods that have the good public schools, the houses are incredibly expensive. If you want to go to the places where the houses are a little bit more within reach, like those schools are bad, so you know really rich people send their kids to private schools, and you have this kind
of you know in New York, where I grew up. I think it really comes to the fore. This sort of like upstairs downstairs city in which it such a great place to be, out of this world wealthy right because, like so much cool stuff to do in new york- and you have this like fuck, you money and so like you just like you have a house, you send your kids to private school, nothing matters and then because Democrats care, out the poor in a way that Republicans don't like they do. Medicate expansion, they have public transit. You know so it's like a aids is really tough to be like truly poor in Texas ACT as a government doesn't provide any services for you, but if you achieve a certain level of middle class in as to the point where, in a blue state social programmes, don't do a lot for you by you, you d like buy stuff on the market, just the fact that the market prices are very high in the cold,
It becomes a real problem, especially especially for for people with kids. You know if you're, like young and single you know like you, live with room, aids and the most important thing to you is that there's like. Place to see, shows and like fun bars to go to, and you don't really care. But you know you have kids like you, do less of that fund city staff and you want more space, and it really pushes people out blue areas- and you know I M invisible, my obsession forever and whether you, whether you have a billion Americans, are not gonna. We ought to do something about this, but especially if you care about children and families, just like making market rate house more abundant more affordable is absolutely critical. What is your and we talked about the spit on the weeds, but like the it's been years since rent is too damn high What is your judgment on
Why Democrats have failed so badly and housing? What is it that they believe or what have they set up? the construction of how powers wielded in democratic places that has led to this love of failure. So it's not actually that different between the democratic places and the republican place, is it said: the control over land use decisions is hyper, localised, and so everyone areas on the side of building too little within differentiates democratic and republican places is that Democrats have just become the party of big city is an and dense area is so kind of polarized to the fact that, like the places where it's not easy to just sort of sprawl further are the democratic places. But the solution which now fortunately has been picked up at the highest levels, is that you need to talk
better road transportation. Money too making changes to your housing production. This is like in the Joe Biden Campaign Platform- I think I got laughed out of the room at some point in the Obama administration when I suggested this, but you know the wheel of three has come around. Donald Trump is now against. It says that bind is gonna put Corey Booker in charge of destroying the suburbs, but it's not true comes only been distraction thought this was a good idea like nine months ago a it is a good idea, probably won't pass Congress for all the normal reasons that thinks of Pets Congress, but like it that the right people have the right idea. As we did, a weeds episode of others are specific failure of some initiatives in California, and you know I was saying optimistically about that. Just like the issue was absent.
On the state policy agenda in the way that it wasn't ten years ago and sort of the best you can do in circumstances like that try to get on the agenda and then try to win win the argument. So you know that's the area of life that I most optimistic about. A discipline take a moment, a personal privilege here and say, because I have not really had a good place to do this. The way trump keep saying, they're, gonna put Democrats, you gonna, put Corey Booker in large of diversifying the suburbs. There are hundreds. Donald Trump is done that show like the bedrock core of racism It's really one of the ones to me that is unbelievably undeniable because the they that it Booker, be your idea of a scary black eye. He is the nicest member of this house, like the most cuddly, like that,
Is this guy on social media? They gave you that they would choose him issues they like that. That is what I like. They just cannot see other than he's like a tall black eye. It is his messages, love his message. Love like it is such an unbelievable tell of a deep racist to animals, behind that. It just makes me it grosses me out so much like her hear. Booker like has his long career in politics and whatever you want to say about him, tries times harder than the average politician partially, because he's probably afraid of this reaction to be kind to people and like it's just it's so fucking awful. Anyway. I know this is not the point of one billion Americans, but if I were putting somebody in charge of core book is a good
I like, I would I would like him in charge of some of the poorest of the only thing I want to say about. This, though, is that I I I don't want people when they come to court, Booker's defence to lose sight of the fact that, like he does actually have this legislation about housing. That's like it! It's really good bill. I mean Trump junk is yes trying to make Corey Booker the face of housing reform because he wants to scare people that, like a black eyes in charge, but it is also true that Cory Booker is a leader on this issue in Congress and that he does deserve credit for that, and not just like to be turned into people's like weird vegan. Societies like if we're gonna have a billion people can have any more americans like. We need this Booker Housing legislation and the city of New York that he was mayor of if you'd like stands out. Incredibly, in the New York city area is like the only place where any houses get built. So it's like deep roots
To this end, and also you know a profound cynicism. I mean not just like racism, but like the really worst kind of like Senegal Adequate even want to call a dog was about its budgets. Demagoguery because Trump is gone on the warpath, against a policy idea that his administration spent years supporting the Tuesday, in the Trump administration. I always think about him them coming out the current guidelines that he then begins contradicting from from the stage we we could do a lot We have on the weed, so I'm going to cut it there and move and move immigration policy, immigration policy so gettin more Americans, is letting more people come into the country. Obviously, this is also where, where a a lot of political friction and Donald Trump accuses the Democrats being open borders. What should he immigration for be her now. What are the principles, the principles that should sit beneath him? I mean the key thing: is
should have more legal immigrants. And then we should not look at immigration as just existing on spectrum between softy liberals who don't want to be me and to elicit arrive, or hers and tough Republicans You know who want to secure the border, but that we have this important lever, which is legal immigration and there's a political demagoguery to trump on immigration, But this is we real logs right, I'm who are striking to avoid any kind of demographic change, and they are flipping every switch to reduce legal immigration to the United States, and they want big legislative changes that will reduce it even more and that's just like catastrophic to the country and other somewhat inimical to the goal of like security and control. So I took the book about a lot of different sort of potential avenue.
Is to increase legal immigration. I am not incredibly invested in any, but particular ones like I just want to find and the ones that will fly politically people have some like special reason like they only want visas for left handed people. Look I don't know man like that, doesn't make sense to me, but, like images is so good and it is so underwear by most people that we got to find whatever sort of cells we can make on it, and it's been great to see part of the thermostatic reaction to Trump and I think rising education attainment is that a larger and larger minority of the population now says we should have more immigrants which, which we absolutely should we were talking about earlier was the way you, had a kind of sign other you called like assign wave on the politics of race and, it behind. That was his idea that your Democrats talk about popular thanks and images.
Is ass, states become more popular, but it's also, it's think understood, is one of those like the deep hot button issues of american politics Democrats They say a lot of nice things about immigrants, but they do not tend to support or propose higher legal immigration in any sort of big numbers. Clear way there there's a lot of fun about the way we should or should do immigration and for and then what we should do with people who are here without papers. But there is not like you rarely heard in the democratic debates, a call for like embraced is good. More of it would be better. We should construct it to be such and I think there has taken hold I know: there's taken hold in democratic circles like a real belief that, if anything led to Donald Trump, it's a rising level of non native foreign Americans. It is the cultural anxieties induced by rising immigration and Democrats need to tread carefully here.
What what is your view on the politics of increasing legal immigration? I think democratic right to happy beast somewhat leary about this. I mean, as I say, the pulling has shifted. I mean now gallops. As for the first time ever, more people want more immigrants, then want fewer I'm. So you know that's thermostat reaction, trump in part, but it's also also a long range trend. The of people people say say they want immigration has been going up since about one thousand nine hundred and ninety five, or so it used to be seven percent. Now it's thirty four. I have to share her one hundred and sixty five, down to twenty eight. So you know I'm media term optimistic about the politics of increased immigration, evil eye. Agree that for a sort of narrow like when the two thousand and twenty election standpoint. This is not a good thing to talk about. You know we started off like talking about roles and shifts and media.
I like this is one we're like. I really want to be clear, like this book is like not a road map to defeating Donald Trump in twenty twenty. I think some of these ideas are popular ideas. That candidates would do well to run on. But this is really an effort to like persuade the kinds of people who are engaged in up with politics to buy books or listen to pod casts that these are good ideas that they should talk about. Electoral politics would have to be. You know somewhat downstream of that, although I do think I mean I we see like part of the point of this book. It's like red, white and blue on the cover it has other stars is to try to urge people to talk about things, whether its immigration of the welfare state or whatever else in patriotic terms, which I do I guess it's sort of politically use for one of the biggest things with immigration, though, is, as you know, the: U S, Senate does not represent people equally and in particular it.
Actively overweight, these very homogeneous world states which are composed of people, because people saw- right like if you loved immigrants and diversity and the vibrancy. Thriving immigrant communities. I bring to life, you would not be living in South Dakota. Most likely, you would be one of the many people who grows up in rural areas and then leaves for larger, more diverse cities, so the politics of immigration in the Senate are particularly toxic. This is a huge. That, like in twenty o, seven and twenty thirteen. In both cases, there were like kind of like elite conspiracy is to put a immigration reform bill through that. You know that the public was supportive of. Immigration reform, but was not like clamouring for the details of this, and you know, demagogues blew it up in both cases back bench,
Republicans and the leaders did not have the steely wisdom to stay the course, and you know I think the reality is that, like a big bipartisan bill had passed most voters when I got must be good, because people like big bipartisan bells, but also when Donald Trump came along and was like. Actually, immigrants are terrible. Europe, Republican based voters just loved that message saying: oh, that's a hard won right. It's like we're, not gonna, go anywhere in the world, if we let opportunistic demagogues carry the day, all the time like, there's, no fundamentally no substitute for some level of responsible elites and like we don't have that now and I don't know that we will, in the future
Doesnt show know that one of my views on the immigration debate is it. Economic concerns are used to sanitize, but our functionally demographic and racial concerns. Turkey really get indulgent, saying we need fewer people shithole countries and then voting and trying to cut legal immigration is part of a dreamers deal, but there Is this at least somewhat relevant debate immigration and native born wages, and as long as I've been writing about politics and economics, you ve had these fights over, though poorhouse findings versus the Giovanni Perry findings. I had no one's hammer this, but you really talk about what is going on in the guts about study, and I had not quite realized. It is ridiculous as it is it can you talk about ferocity? and the seventeen people driving the entire native born immigration debate, so either Sidra tomorrow, as it is the late mark, an economist he's he's the best regarded most famous of the sort of immigration sceptic spent. This
this sort of distorting think right, like a mine, academic, labour market economists, there's overwhelming pro emigrate consensus among the public, for, as you say, like people just don't like right. So the thought of demand for reasons quote unquote that immigration should be bad, so Forhouse has become the guy who fills that he doesn't like sometimes in comical ways like he has this paper, showing that the influx of soviet mathematicians after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I've reduce job operator these four american mathematicians, which some like who cares right, but you know he cares He has this study of the Mario Boat left into Miami liberals, like this old study that David Card did that showed wages didn't go down. Bore house did a kind of renounce Some of the data he says a wages did go down. For me.
Born non cuban hispanic men who are high school dropout. So that's a lot of modifying adjectives and it turns out. In the whole current population survey sample of my Emmi? It's like fourteen people who fit that description. So you don't from an academic point of view. The issue is like. Is this just a total bs statistical artifact? Because if you look at any population- and you crunch sub samples arbitrarily enough, like you will find a result, is called Peter king. So that's scholars debate. I think the policymakers. What they need to know is like ok, native born non cuban hispanic men who have dropped out of school, that's who may be immigration is bad for, like how many people is not not like in the statistics just like very small share of the population, are native.
Or non cuban hispanic male high school dropout rate. There's no issue of economic policy in which we give strict priority to the interests of such a random subset of the relation, particularly because it's not non cuban Hispanics, who are demanding cut immigration anyway, like we all know that, so you know, as you say, like it's, what reproductive too, as I think it important to us
Bush that immigration is economically beneficial, because then we can have a clear debate about the cultural aspects, which is that native arrests are saying that we should bear economic costs, and the immigrants themselves should bear incredibly high costs, but that the rest of us should bear costs too. In order to indulge they should have personal dislike of foreign born people, and then we can interrogate like like. Should we actually, as a society, deferred that I've can we address this concern in some other kind of way, like you know like like? What's what's really going on here, because I agree with you and at an Dara, my
so we always make the point that this isn't really about economics, but I do think that the economic facts are relevant to understanding. What's going on and to understanding how you know the like sizable share of people on any topic, just don't have a strong opinion about it and to try to get them to see like what's really going on here. One of the things see you talk about in the book is the way that we have a lot of places in the country that become deep populated, lotta cities. It were much bigger in absolute terms, thirty forty years ago than they are today, the havoc that is playing in them and the way in which America is in even that densely populated, like full stop. So how does Magritte? and interact with that had it? How do you think about some of the ideas you occasionally here for making it easier to emigrate to say Detroit if you're willing to buy Hauser, because you we have a lotta housing stock, the needs to get bought up there at people who will fix it up and and and bring bring
city Beavis for public services back to Detroit or or should have any these places like that. I find this a somewhat others like a lot of clever ideas, but not that much public discussion of them. How do you think about those two things matching up you I mean, I think its potential a very powerful tool. The? U S, conference, of mayors, sort of put out a call for this. They looked at a specific proposal from the economic immigration grew that that I also like and this is basically to let you know, cities and states that want to sponsor additional visas for people who come in, they should have basic thought here is a like, like if some people dont like emigrants, that's fine, maybe the immigrants could go someplace else, but also that there are positive externalities right that if you can stabilize the population of Cleveland, you create both a tax base that can pay off its pension obligations can keep the lights on, can add schools, but you have to create a customer.
For us just sort of random modern service economy that right now, when you have population losses, they tend to just feed on themselves right and so people don't know. I think exactly. How bad. The situation is in some of these depopulated cities because nobody wants to be seen as like ragging arm ride like I were to write, I take, and I was like fucking Aman and like nobody wants to move to Buffalo, then the Buffalo stands would come out and they'd be like no buffalo is amazing and they tell me seventeen great things about Buffalo and it's true. There are plenty of amazing things about Buffalo. The problem for Buffalo is that Buffalo is cold. Buffalo doesn't have like a go to job opportunity right that like dry, if the regional economy forward, and while there are lots of great things about Buffalo there
also lots of great things about Nashville consecrate things about Austin lots of things about Charlotte, and they are just in competition with these other places that, because they are growing, can offer a sort of clearer tax services, trade off and warmer weather, and it's not that they're doing anything wrong, and it's not that it's unique to Buffalo. It's buffalo, it's Syracuse! It's Rochester, it's Utica! It's Rome! It's what! stir its across its Toledo. It's like a million places and they're all being dragged down by the fact that they just aren't enough people like in the to want to say hey. You know it's great, say Louis right, like let's move it, but you get a great house for little money, there's good stuff to do there Let's just go right and if you bring more immigrants and you can stabilize these places and then the advantages they have like the ruler
law and the housing is affordable, start to really change, through and they can be vibrant amazing places that to me is like the most optimistic thing about the book is to think about. A country that is growing broadly and so, communities are not in this zero sum, competition with each other for jobs and residence, I suppose so to come in for a close So I want to ask him a question or move into the books request, which is let's say enough: Virgil by the winds and Democrats, wind, the Senate, and of course they they listen to me and they come in and they get rid of the filibuster prioritization is important in these things. What is a first building surpass they ordered you like a baby. Democracy or political equality package. Whatever you want to call it, you know tackling Jerry during automatic voter registration DC importer, Riga, statehood, like all the good stuff, they should say like we're, gonna get as close as we constitutionally can to some kind of a fair system.
I think, that's good, I think that's a good recommendation and then finally, one or three bucks you would recommend to the audience that have influenced you, so I think Why should read justice, gender, the family by Susan MAR again it brings to the four a bunch of political philosophy, questions that normally get completely neglected in that kind of like technical type vein, I really liked friends spooky Armas book, order and political decay. I think about that bug all the time today and Gregory Clark spoke a fair world, alms witches out the industrial revolution and like why it is that now People are not poor and you is one billion Americans, medical ISIS. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thinking about for being here to all of you for being here to read karma for research to Jeffrey Gal, for producing can show is a VOX media, podcast production.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-15.