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The billionaire backlash


Jane, Dara, and Matt on Michael Bloomberg’s presidential aspirations and the case against billionaires.

What to read:

"Bashing Bill Gates lets the rest of the billionaire class off the hook" by Dylan Matthews, Vox

"AOC’s policy adviser makes the case for abolishing billionaires" by Dylan Matthews, Vox

"Anand Giridharadas on the elite charade of changing the world" by Ezra Klein, Vox

"A Michael Bloomberg presidential run is unlikely to help moderate Democrats’ cause" by Matthew Yglesias, Vox

White paper


Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Jane Coaston (@cjane87), Senior politics reporter, Vox

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration reporter, ProPublica

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this episode, country Clicker lose an average of three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with click on a flexible platform that brings all your central tools at one place: legal prioritize tasks, collaborate on dogs, chat with your team and track coms, It's why companies like Hoover and website used click up is that Mission Control Centre, placing every other aptly we're using before up, even guarantees to help you save one day a week and get more done. It's completely customizable and it's free forever to dry click up today. It click up that calm, slash, weeds. Yeah this is Marquez, Brownie, acre em could be hd, and this is Andrew Bengali. We want introduce you to our podcast way, form the new sedition to the Vocs media epoch ass network, so I've spent ten years reviewing tech products and consumer electronics for millions of people on the empty Youtube channel and now on the way forward.
Cast Andrew and I use that experience to dig even deeper into latest tech for smartphones too. I max to electric cars. So if you're gadget, lover or attack head or if you just want to figure out whether the latest gadget is worth your harder and cash give us a lesson say, can find way form the empty beefy pie cast on your favorite Pakistan every Friday see over their greek rich Rich PETE, booty judge. That is a very challenging sense. To say out loud hello, welcome to another, so the weeds on the box media Pike, s network, a metric laziest joined today as usual by Jane Coastline and proper because dare wind- and we have been thinking about billionaires, billionaires on the mind as Michael Bloomberg, has been indicating that he wants to happen to the twenty twenty democratic presidential field,
A much poorer billionaire Tom Steyer has already done this in a seriously aaa quote on Quote billionaire Donald Trump is currently in the White House in the White House, and it's a it's an interesting an interesting time. You know Bloomberg I mean you can say, bombers defends, he's not just a billion he Bush also the mayor of New York City, so you know it's not in fact the second mayor of the city to take a stand that running. For president in twenty twenty, let you know it's to me- frustrating to see people who have a lot of money. And are interested in spending that money on political causes to decide that the best way to do that is to spend the money on them. So elves. There is very little indication that the voters are looking for extra options. In this field. To the extended They are it's not that they need, like other,
sexual generic ends right. Like you know, I mean, if you look at it, you look it Joe Biden, and you know some people just disagree, but with his politics there more left wing, but like that's, not my cabin bearing and they sent me those sympathise more with his politics, like this guy's gonna up there in years, the bulwarks the same age as he is has none of the law even notional, like Pennsylvania, gritty, working class, credit of Joe Biden, and it's like you just don't get it, and then it makes me to people who will die. Hard tests is almost like. This is amazing because they ve now get to complain about Michael Bloomberg Alot, but, like I kind of like Michael Bloomberg, I think he you know so mixed as mayor, but like you did some good things there. I think his ideas in national politics are like mostly good, but like don't like throw money down. The toilet, anything that there's it's like worth, noting that it's not leg, absolutely nobody calling for more democrats to jump into this race. It's just that there is no end
The democratic voters are really hungary right for new candidates, much less particular kind of me candidate, but democratical leads appear to be in a state of panic like there's noise about Eric holder, like questioning whether he should jump in developed Patrick before, governor of Massachusetts is apparently considered whether it's time for him to jump in and during what appears to be an open in Rome at phase for new democratic candidates like it makes a little bit more sense that somebody like Bloomberg, who could be self funding and wouldn't inner in kind of early stages and wouldn't require a big investment of infrastructure that could elsewhere in order to set up like ok. Maybe you can understand the point of that. But there is definitely is the question of like what kind of candidate would Bloomberg, represent this race, not just as he has septuagenarian but lake in a mad fee. The politics that he has been associate with are a prince. killer, Lee paternalistic strain of liberalism right, he is the candidate who would probably with ie. You know it is
as much as that overall appears to have been chased out of the race or like the narrative, is that he was traced out of the waste because he took to harshest and on Gun Control Lake Bloomberg is but lot of money into Anti gun, proliferation, staff and, of course, is as mayor of New York. I mean big deal out of step in France for the perfect purposes, ostensibly of getting guns off the street He is associated with that kind of like quality of life. First public safety first, rather than kind of reducing incarceration focused criminal justice policies. He was a big proponent of things like soda tax and other his stuff that you know, isn't necessarily what Democrats think of when they think of centrist candidates, but he's also, of course, seated with as a business man in a billionaire the kind of anti Anti Wall Street politics that I think a lot of democratic elites are hoping to see. Even if we're headed voters may not be. The concern appears to be that of Joe Biden. Isn't a strong candidate, you don't have anyone presenting the idea that it may not be a terrible thing to.
a lot of money, and so that appeal is to be the role that he's filling. It's just is that the role that his bow Europeans need to be filling right now. Here's the thing! I really don't think we can overstate how much democratic voters are not calling for their falling shows that Democrats are happy with as happy with the field of candidates of that they ve been or more so since ninety. Ninety to this, the happiest democratic voters have both a slate of candidates in more than twenty five years, and yet I think that you do see this concern from corner quote democratic, higher ups or elites that, especially if our objective is to beat Donald Trump, seems to be a couple of conceits here and we can get it more into the billion thing in a little bit, because I'm interested in what role that is playing and our idea of what a billion there really is, but we have now had you. If we include involvement, of Rudy Giuliani at our lives. We
have now had three New York City, mares believe firmly that they can be presently I'd states- and this is a historical tradition- something that has got the idea that New York, New York City specifically, is somehow representative of the challenges of running Country and if you can run York City, you can run the country the issue being. That is not true. That is not at all true. That has perhaps never been true. It's no south band right, it's no south band and it's not young stoutness, also not Chicago or LOS Angeles, as anyone, who's ever read the New York Times. Food section can tell you, but I think that there seems to be this idea, that running New York and especially because there is an idea that somehow people outside of New York no. What happens inside of Europe, which I thought was one of the funniest parts of build the blinds years tenure which, which was that people really didn't like him?
sighed the city of New York were not fans. They may have voted for him, but we're not like super big fans of him, not like hey everybody. But Com in Illinois? Hey all my friends in Montana. You should definitely vote for this guy, but somehow both to blossom, and now Bloomberg seem to think that, like no one knows what we did hear, no one knows about the soda tax. No one knows about stopping frisk. No one knows about all these things. We did all once it is New York City Mare and were all cast members from Annie or something like. I think that there is really something to be said about how this seems to me that there are a couple of conceit here, one that democratic voters want someone more like Joe Biden or like Rich PETE Buddha Judge, or that democratic voters want, One who has a big sitting mare because being a big city mare prove something except that yet we ve had. We have other candidates have been members of other cities, and that doesn't seem to be the appeal that Democrats are looking for. Democratic voters have said throughout this campaign at their concern
bout, wealth inequality and there can very concerned about the role that money players in our politics and the response from Michael Bloomberg is hey. Yes, I just donated lay two point: four million dollars to help turn Virginia Blue, but if you like that, so much, why don't I? just throw myself into the race, because what you really wanted was a rich billionaire who is like Trump, but nice and liberal. I dont know that the miscalculation is the democratic voters are calling for a make bloom I think that this is actually something interest. Insofar as it shows Bloomberg, is, I think, a microcosm of a certain slice of the super rich. You consider themselves to be fairly socially progressive in their politics, who do not like Donald Trump Bloomberg Italy is a former republic in ran for New York mayor initially, as a Republican, then an independent is now firmly identified as a dumb Trot identifies himself a democratic causes like helped spend money too. Virginia blue he's now in at least two
extent, the mainstream of the party infrastructure at this time, though, the party large has moved away from some of the things that he was well. to you, no compromise. Where did not consider to be lake key priorities, for him as mayor its moved left on things like criminal justice and its sceptical of the you know it is more sceptical of the accumulation of capital. Then I think a blue then Bloomberg might want, but the theory of the case appears, you hear that it is extremely important that someone beat Donald Trump and the people who the Democratic Party currently or the demo. The primary voters are currently supporting, may not be equipped to beat Donald Trump that there is some degree to which the main stream of America is out of sync, with democratic primary. The voters and the way in which they are out of sync is that the american mainstream thinks that capitalism is a yoke
We here, I think we need to go through like that. The whole list of surface rights have like this is the the warriors viewpoint right that, on the one hand, there are a bunch of sure, gravitating toward Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warrenton Right and then One is that they are two left wing right. Maybe two left wing to beat Trump of, maybe just two left wing on the merits right then you have as the alternative to them and like in first place to be clear in the polls, Joe Biden very popular among Democrats, doing really how he keeps being robust to naysayers about his campaign, but one difficulty. It is a strong correlation between education levels and attention to politics right. So a lot of people who have followed the campaign closely. Look at Joe Biden, actual performance, and it seems week to the right, not just Biden Haters, not just a dialogue
the left wingers, but like people who would like to see a mainstream Democrat beat Bernie Sanders knows with Warren. See him looking tired at the end of debates, see him being unimpressive in sort of cure sessions with voters, see him doing events at a slower pace than the other candidates out there, and they are concerned about this. This doesn't hurt Biden with the electorate because he has this very working class base which, among other things, doesn't pay that close it into the campaign and rights of the concern among people who have concerns. Is it there's a whistling pass the graveyard happening here that the idea of Joe Biden is very popular with working class Democrats, but that the reality of Joe Biden is going to underwhelmed after he loses Iowa and potentially loses New Hampshire, which are not great states for him. It is then gonna be an elevated Biden, scrutiny cycle and which, when he will collapse
in favour of wine. That's one concern the other is that he may be able to sort of sleep block his way through the primary and then will face a very tough general election campaign against Trump, which is not can be sort of up to the temper right. Then so far back the candidate who is done. The best with like the donors and bungler is, is Peabody, judge right who is an appealing character in a lot of ways, but to people who, like no the game. The fact that he's. Really unpopular with african american voters makes it appear impossible is black others are usually the constituency that White moderates need in order to win right and Buddha seems like a poor choice to execute that goal, and the concern of Where is not that black voters would would turn out to vote for Donald Trump against Feed Buddha judge? The concern is that, if you look at the relative performances of
Barack Obama in two thousand and eight two thousand and twelve and Hillary Clinton. Two thousand and sixteen, the relative lack of enthusiasm of black voters in like rust belt. It was a big profit, but also that in the primary booty judge, just can't centres and worn if you just places binding synergy, ok, we need. We need somebody else right and then you might say I like Corey Bucker right. That seems like a candidate who could appeal to both donors and african american voters. but Booker positioned himself like way it to the left at the start of the campaign Harry, already had her moment in the sun and kind of like flamed out. So I think that both the case for like Eric Holder and develop Patrick, is that day could be successors to the Obama, mean ok listen inside the the primaries, but The problem is this: like doesn't like Bloomberg, answer this dilemma and it seems like he doesn't that, like the blue
work situation and now I'm sure, having been mayor of New York City for twelve years. Michael Bloomberg thinks the mayor of South Benda Deanna is a joke right leg, just like on the merits, but in terms of political positioning. It's the exact same thing, which is that like? How are you going to have a moderate who has no support with african markets right, and I think that if my Bloomberg could like go back in time, I'm an change is politics in New York City. He, like might well have done that there are some very weird stuff going on in boomers early years in New York, where he depended on a political coalition between sort of moderate white Democrats and, like actual honest to God, Republic, spread that, like
look at the parts of New York City, that Trump one, those were overwhelming Bloomberg precincts, and that was because of a very trump ask. Like pro police identity, politics thing there boomer was doing that's not really reflective of Bloomberg like current political priorities at all, but is like deeply his legacy New York City and his image in the black community. And this no way to undo the zoo. You not the devil. Patrick thing seems kind of Lupi, but it at least does like answered. The question where is boom Burg does nothing right and what you could do constructively with your money is either like put all that money behind Joe Biden to make his campaign be better or put all that money behind, like enclosure receive Bullock like candidates who sort of look good on paper, but there flailing, but like with a billion dollars in the bank like anybody's name, recognition would go indoors where the tonnes dire comparison is relevant rate because dire, who was
big deal in democratic party donor circles before this cycle has spent the last year and change. First, spending Julian's of bucks on tv adds urging Democrats to impeach Donald Trump, which you know has happened, but not because sire about but a bunch of tv ads and then decided to use that to become a campaign for the presidency, where impeachment was a very strong marker of his early candidacy and that again has happened, but not in a way that Ex Tom style. Look like you know, he pushed for it and the opportunity cost go he's tyres pouring so much money into his own, I'm paying that there really does special among Democrats. You are turned about party building in a in a post, Barack Obama Democratic Party, where state and local democratic parties feel a little bit holiday out and Republicans have control of so many state legislatures. The concern that
if you really are dug in on the future of the Democratic Party as an entity. If you see the party as an entry is the way to stop trump and drop is politics rather than, as the only you know the only else in the room, but people who still have to be led in a particular direction. Then you need to be investing in the democratic, party per se and necessarily in your own personality, but it appears that both styrene Bloomberg feel that they as individuals as politicians. Potential origins have something unique to contribute that simply their money would not right and it seems to be you're going back to DORA your point about the Obama years. One of the challenges of the Democratic Party has faced is that Obama put much of his fundraising mechanism outside of the Democratic Party through organizing for America, and
So one of the big points that's been made repeatedly is that, while the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have billions of dollars, suspend the Democratic party does not. That does not mean that the democratic do not have more. It is just not within the Democratic Party or within democratic party coffers, and what gets me- and I just keep talking about- is you won this idea and I think it goes back to trumps original campaign in some senses, is that it seems to me that spoke style and Bloomberg are buying into the idea that it takes a billionaire businessmen and with trumpets but billion errand, So we got is because we don't actually know if he was one or is one that takes a billionaire businessmen to challenge a billionaire this man, because we live in Gotham now, and so this idea that that is what is needed and that the Tom Style Constituency, which I do not know what it is and the Bloomberg constituent,
say which again appears to be people on morning. Joe is that you will need, one with money to challenge someone else with money, and you can just kind of project upon these entities with money. Whatever you like bloomer will say whatever he needs to say kind of in the idea that Europe, Trump eventually in office, basically became kind of like whatever much Mcconnell needed him to do plus immigration restriction, ism, plus crazy, tweets plus racism. That Bloomberg will just pick. Ok, he will be this person with money. He can self fund quota quote his own campaign and he will basically do whatever we need him to do. He will be a kind of the before the perfect for two trump based in an idea of trump that I dont think as at all accurate. The idea of this I alone can fix it candidate that didn't turn out to be at all, and it just is like it seems to be reaching for a constituency that doesn't exist, except for
like six very nervous democratic party staffers. Let's lets you break your though, because I do think that, like a cultural war has broken out like inside democratic circles, about the idea of billion years, we live with a lot of noise. the pings dings. The emails labelled urgent. That aren't really that urgent, it's hard to cut through the static zero on the things that really matter just like. We can train our bodies to be better running faster, lifting heavier. We could train our minds to stay focused to all the noise. We live with step. One download had space its basis and have loaded with guide you meditations designed to offer a daily dose of mindfulness concessions for every situation like three minute s, away meditation when you're overwhelmed by the day and even meditations. You could do it. You, kids, when you're all of run by the day had space has been like a really cool to have during these sort of difficult pandemic in quarantine. Kind of times has been hard, sometimes till I get a little time for yourself a little space for yourself and as you, a great way to create some just like a little like isolation around
myself do something that is cool that helps get me a little more grounded will more centred a little more ready to face the rest of the day, so it is truly a cut above other meditation haps, because it relies on clinically validated researched help. You feel better improve sleep, boost focus, reduce stress, you deserved, feel happier and had spaces meditation, simple, good ahead space dot com, slash weeds for a free one month. Try this heads based outcome: slash weeds for free month with access to had spaces, full library meditations for every situation. This is the best deal offered right now had to head space dot com such weeds. If you like. Basically anyone listening to this right now, I'm willing to bet that you are you're dealing with stress, maybe there's it of it like an overwhelming amount, or maybe it's more like a low but steady drumbeat background stress, remember how you are experiencing stress. It's likely fucking,
mood you energy in so many other areas of your life. You feel, like stress, is starting to take over straining relationships and shorten your temper. It's probably tend to unload and better help is perfect, for that better help is customized online therapy that offers videophone live chat sessions with your therapists. You don't see any one on camera. If you don't want you it's much more affordable than in person therapy and you could start communicating with a therapist none. Forty. hours on the distress using its unbiased feedback. You be pretty surprise when you can gain for it see if it's for you, the weeds, sponsored by better help and listeners get ten percent off the first month, better help dot com such weeds, that's, B, e, T, T, R, HD, L, a p d come slash, weeds. I want to start out very quickly with our discussion of billionaires, because I didn't, I did a little research on how many billionaires there are in the United States. There are six hundred and seven billionaires United States. There were five her eighty six last year there were four hundred and four and twenty ten
Forty percent live in New York in California and highly Jenner is a billionaire which means that in about fifteen years we would be looking at the Kiley Jenner Presidency says that I think that is worth considering, but I think that the idea of a billion air means and, moreover, why we should list Two billion errs on the issues when I had there been a couple of people pointed out like we need a lot of our colleague, Emily stir. It has been doing a lot of work on how being billionaires feel about was with worn, for example, but we have not heard so much on people who are living on food stamps or working poor and we're not getting like the same kind of ethnography is for crying photographs that now getting of billionaires. Who are sad about wealth taxes. I think the other point billionaires as a class to note as Dylan Matthews wrote in a very like clearly written peace last week, is that
most billionaires, who are active in american politics, are very active and very quiet and donate a lot of money to Republicans right when we're talking about billionaires were using kind of their public platform to speak instead of just fondling money towards their pay party. We're not talking about a very representative slice of the pie because most of the kind of ultra Rich in America our spending their money, trying to make sure that candidates who oppose high taxation, which say Republicans are getting elected the way, but this is where it's. The things have gotten interest. It's like time was: you had a certain number of very rich people in the United States, and most of them seemed not that engaged with civic life and Maybe he gave a lot of money to right wing economic causes, and people on the right would be grateful to those people who help finance their institutions.
and people on the left would complain about them in a sort of uncomplicated way that you know, liberals complain about the cope brothers or or the skiff saw whomever else. But then there was a different group of people. Right of you know, bill Gates is bought the richest and in some ways they most emblematic. Both call them like high minded rich people right who had a public image as people who cared about a lot of stuff and would speak about topics in June, two causes that were a stand simply and in fact, actually many cases not self interested in a global public health. That kind of thing, and because of Gateshead Stature in the technology industry. I think a lot of later rich tech people sort of followed in those footsteps, and none of them become as rich as bill gates, except for Jeff Pieces, and none of them have done much as gates to like genuinely put their money where their mouth is in terms of of high minded stuff. But here this is definitely a trend ripe and the convention
thing for a long time was to praise those people write like the Gates Foundation has done a lot of good work and public health in Africa and also say these are interesting people to listen to. They are smart, broadly individuals, time not only their money but their time, looking into the best ways to help people and therefore their expertise is valid, and then you had due to particular individuals, Thomson Iron, Michael Bloomberg, who both became increasingly interest. In the climate change issue overtime and they became the two leading donors to democratic party campaigns right and then there has been a backlash to that particular set of billionaires, which a little bit confusingly adopts a rhetorical stance of opposition to all billionaires, but the point of that rhetoric is just try to say that, like even the good billionaires are bad right and that sort of the point of an engineer it ass. His book called winners. Take all the elite charade,
of saving the world apes become talking point associated with Alexandria, Cassio Cortez. It's something that Bernie Sanders has embraced explicitly Elizabeth Warren with her wealth tax to an extent like it is walking a middle ground here, but it is clear that the billion years themselves see Warren as part of this backlash against them. As part of a world view. Which is saying not that, like we want you to pay somewhat higher taxes as part of an overall progressive tax scheme, but the We think you are bad people in no moral economy. Could you have accumulated the wealth that you have, which goes against very strongly, not only obviously what people who are likely to go into business, rise in themselves, but also what they received wisdom of late the american dream. You know the kind of the cold war idea that a lot of what makes Amerika great is that you can try.
Yourself into a very rich and powerful person by virtue of your hard work, but not just that way, but but part of the new critique of billionaires is that these stuff? That billionaires would like to be applauded for like giving money to charity and stuff like that is in fact part of the problem right. This is an undemocratic steering resources that it's a mask for billionaires, true power, that you know that Some things that are ostensibly just about helping people are really bad. Manipulating the political process- and they around zero, for this actually think was went Mark Zuckerberg decided that he wanted to put a lot of money into Newark education reform. When Corey Booker was mayor- and I think it's pretty clear that like Zuckerberg thought, this was something that would just get everybody to say what a good person mark Zuckerberg was, but in fact it turned out to be like a fool
not contested political topic that you know like brought him into a like hornets nest of like people disagreeing about politics, and you know it exemplifies the fact that it's really not possible to just like do good things without being intervening in the political process, and you know whether you think those criticisms like it seems to me that was echoed was trying to do in Europe was actually unobjectionable, but like people objec to everything that touches on the public interest and even in, although you don't get, you know, you don't get credit for doing things without forth
and then relying on good intentions which are or will end- and I mean you know a number of things right like there's a very little actual personal financial sacrifice involved in these charitable contributions. Right, even though that the money is large, it's like not at all the same as a person actually restraining their personal consumption for the sake of others right. It's just like a huge bag any money, and it is true that, like the billionaires who are doing the stuff, I think the critics frankly go over the top with us. but like they are amassing a kind of political and cultural capital. That is then really exemplified by style Bloomberg like sort of turning the page from I want to help you guys when elections to actually, I should be President Most recent incident to spark this even before Michael Bloomberg, Drink jumped into the race was a public appearance that bill Gates had a couple of weeks ago, where
A and unfortunately, edited clip appeared to make it seem that he was opposed to Elizabeth warring because he didn't want to be taxed more the actual clip. He makes it clear that he's joking, it appears very obvious Bill Gates Fuse Foundation does a lot of work with a very Ngos in the american government abroad might not what You say who he is voting for in general, which you know any in the leftist critique is itself a day thing, because it indicates that he has a class interests. That's beyond just kind of what is obvious to the left. That Donald Trump must be stopped at all costs, but other kind of reason that really sparked. It was the idea that even bill gates, the good billionaire, would bulk so much at the prospect of a wealth tax that he would be willing to support Donald Trump, who so obviously goes against many of the things that Bill Gates appears to believe or good in society, which reason some questions of a v critique of what Bill Gates says. He
we do or who he says, he would vote for. Gives into the idea that bill Gates is a uniquely powerful voice that unit regardless, what bill gates of spending money on the fact that he personally might not vote for Elizabeth WAR and makes him morally suspect, which is a very interesting idea of power from a left critique that eyes to say the billionaires art that special? But it does also raised the question of is better for buildings. To be determining how we spend the money, then, for that money to be conscious, you. Didn't taxation and redirected, easy, conversely, better because less tainted by politics for bill gates to be determining what the optimal way to spend his money is why I'm get em and, in addition to being an obvious plug for future perfect, both the pod cast and be content vertical at vocs dot com, which is really deeply engaged. With a lot of these questions, I think that this isn't a demonstration that
the idea that maximal input and maximum buying from all sectors of society, that kind of democracy is the highest good, has become very widespread among the left, even people who don't necessarily mean associate themselves with outright communists, socialism. The fact that there is something top down and therefore undemocratic about philanthropy really does appear to be gaining a little bit of purchase in a way. that I did isn't necessarily something would have seen ten years. Yes, although I dont know how many of you know, bullets people are really willing to bite there right leg You see, George Soros, who is not running for president and who is putting a lot of money behind these. Like left wing de eight candidates every place, I dont actually see a lot of people on the left, saying. Oh no, it's really bad that we have this like billion
air coming in and like doing it and what we should really do it just let everybody's knee jerk pro police, democratic, instinct sort of rule the day. So it's like this there's a rhetoric of grassy right but like I would be interested in how much people really truly mean because, like I would say that, like democracy is very important, right. It's important. We have accountable for extra weight, but also it is inevitable right that a democratically governed society is going to put the interests of its voting citizens way ahead of other people right and that one of the nice things about philanthropy is that philanthropists. Have the opportunity to do things that accountable politicians wouldn't do, which is like care about tropical diseases or do care about inequities in the criminal justice system
like a lot of the most important things that have been done in society. I mean again, I will plug future perfect, as this is out there, there kinds of issues, but like animal welfare development in the third world fright like in ten suffering in the criminal justice system. International mobility- rightly these are things that, like a purely democratic society, I think, would not actually do that well on right. Probably people would to deny that and say that ono like deep down like in their hearts. Oliver dickens want like open borders in prison. Abolition, but, like that's, not really true, you know him. and like it has been a useful thing that some wealthy philanthropists have done to focus attention on this, and I do think like the most important ones that like most
people are not doing that. I made stuff and like you, should criticise them. But then there is the question of like the actual justice of the economic system that has led to the accumulation of these fortunes, which is not addressed that well by the wealth tax concept, because that's entirely post hock right but like their reasonable questions to ask about like how is it that in the nineteen fifty six years and Seventys, when we had more rapid economic growth at, we certainly had rich people back then. But we did not have fortunes on the scale of contemporary fortunes, which I think is because we had a more competitive economy right. So it's like somebody invented televisions, but they did not achieve like Margarita Coburg level of wealth by inventing innovating in the entertainment space, but somehow innovative
in Facebook. Making has made you much much richer than than previous things that, and that seems to me to be like boring, but like substantial economic policy problem. So why thing I want to get into very quickly is, I think the other thing that's happening. here is we keep using the term wealth. There's some interesting pulling on an individual's like one Americans think you have reached the point of being rich and redeploy notion that that is around a hundred fifty thousand dollars, and I think that you learn earn in assets in income at nice, and so I think that for a lot of people, it's not so much that billionaires are rich. It is that billion errors have reached a level of all imaginable wealth like. I think that there is an idyllic, ok, rich people. It's like an episode of my super
its extent and having a lumber guinea, whereas billionaires leg, Jeff business are like we should colonized the moon rate. We should colonized them and because literally I dont know what else to do with my money, which is one that is one of the more blinkered statements ever made, especially when your Jeff basis and your employees are working like eighty, our shifts in warehouses and Yo Yo centered in multiple cities with massive homelessness issues, and I think that that plays a part in it where it seems as if being rich, isn't. Who is one thing being it is something that I think many Americans were like. Ok, that is something one I understand and to I hypothetically believe that I can attain. There has been some were pulling on. How millennials, apparently still believe that there is, and I did look they could become if not billion airs, but at some point rich in some senses. But the idea and whether or not that's true
rule as well as those of us who were in me early job market. During the great recession lake, we ve done what papers on their sleep for anyone colored should equip ourselves of that delusion right, quick. It seems that we are dealing with one we're talking about billionaires weirdo people who keep using the rhetoric of the american dream, our colleague Emily stir it did it terrific peace in interviewing Leon, Superman who told politicos Ben. Why you, this is the fucking american dream that was with worn a shooting on, but the american Dream one it's kind of a thing we made up and what the american dream was supposed to mean has changed dramatically since its color encapsulation in the early twentieth century, but also the America dream is not about becoming a billionaire yourself. There is a separate and between what individuals think that rich looks like or wealth looks like or even financially successful looks like, and vendors bill
in airs and need to dust off my eleventh grade term paper, the great Gatsby in the american dream, a family, and that we can understand that data on. I think that the this brings us back to Donald Trump, because dulled is, as Mackay coffins memorably side back when he was inadvertently going down. To run for president, a poor persons idea of what a rich person looks like rightly it's. An Donald Trump represents a particular kind of unification of the billion Armeth me american dream in a way that is exactly What styrene Bloomberg are trying to recapture when they say you know when they imply that only a billionaire can be two billion there, but Donald Trump Cultural politics are exactly the opposite of those right. It's the when you think about the kind of traditional american dream. Anyone can make it its grounded in a, and nobody can tell you what to do a sort of no small l libertarianism, that's associated with you, can be presented to the United States and Lake Eat, Mcdonald's and drink all the diet, coke you want, because
that's what you know of, because America's based on freedom, where is the particular policy that's dire and especially Bloomberg have gotten involved when our things, where everybody doing they want me not lead to the population level, best outcomes, lake nutrition and go to consumption or gun control or climate change, their these sorts of things, those that are that are not ideally suited for philanthropy, because they require government action, but there also not ideally suited for democracy, whereas the cultural tourism Donald Trump, the billionaire who is just like, you may actually be able you play into the idea that anybody, and be a millionaire in. It may be a more potent why I also feel again in some ways Bloomberg has always suffered in the public image from the fact that it, it seems so odd that he's so rich its, I think, a difficult integrity blame to people. Why it is that? Having invented this like obscure Bloomberg machine which nobody has ever like. The vast majority of people have
First seen one probably have never even heard of but you're like trying to describe it to them like it's like a little terminal and it has data on a jig, so it is a computer is in nobody's especially computer like why they see dogma, then why does he have fifty seven billion dollars right words, like Trump, has a delightfully tangible? You know, like kind of business enterprise well very well ended. Business into pity to eat is composed of like physical. You know, entities, library, buildings and golf courses and hotels and things that reckon you can see and they like have customers or or they don't, and it is something like that. You know. I think a lot of these like
I need skies I this was my thing like when Blend Coppermine gotten the news for winning a bottle of wine. I was like damning. Emily was like who is this guy and she's a while he's ahead? Fungi and now he runs a family office and its like in a way that was three people under rate, a tough cell to any re normal person when you have this vast fortune and it's not based on like a product or it based on like a story that you can tell like, ah he made money doing ex thing like he in a bill gates at least has got a big. He is behind Microsoft like there's something that you can there's a story you can tell, but with I think, of the world of hedge funds, I've learned through the fifteen minutes of succession. I watched it is far more confusing and involved and
to involve being really mean to each other and also some matters that I am not sure we'd go. That's not what you know. It's interesting as I think it is a conflict of prisoners that, like Wall Street rich, particularly people who are more progressive and some of their their social and cultural issues, commitments they one thing that they think is good about themselves. Is that, unlike the founders of Walmart or Mozilla, and or something like that, they don't have all these like labour rights issue is because they don't have a lot of employees are like big, tangible businesses, so legal. I should be the good guy right, but why in some ways like running Walmart, opens out of criticisms. It's also a very easy to say like what let what did the wanton family do right like they started this store and they open more stores,
how did we wanted to shop at the stores they open? More and more and more and like many people enjoy Amazon Relic as a company they get very high ratings is a successful business because people like their product it also because it's big, it's like people, can worry about the conditions in the factories and that the factories, the warehouses, are all this other stuff. But it's a group actually present in people's lives in a way that Tom's Dire, Michael Bloomberg, really not somebody play this episode firm. It go bloomer again. You know that. Then we can see if he decides to officially jump into the race. But we should take a break and talk about an experiment in applying college. It feels like Ie Donovan avow the day to get everything done might because you're missing out on three. Where does to me? I was up how he fell into a deep dark abyss that opens up amongst which, between working at those
we hours to all the productive time we miss out on thanks to at home distractions, disorganization fatigue. It's no wonder the days future work should work with clear up. It does look up as a flexible productivity platform, the wings or you work at one place. That's all you chats apps docks and ass. One centralized place like Michigan from companies like Goober Google use click up to make the days more camp, managed projects, people and calls more effectively, but for teams of all sizes industries cook up to pleasingly features of one thousand plus integrations, must have for anyone wanting to track, manage and tackle their work in one place. You're always back with clear up. Try free today, click up a dot com, slash weeds! This episode is brought to you by Fender Football is back, and the best bet you can make is downloading the fan, dual sports bookshop. It doesn't matter if new to gambling or an old pro fan. Dual has something for everyone and, as an official
sports, betting partner of the NFL. You know, you're, better, safe, there's, also never been a better time to use fan do because right now, you'll get up to one thousand dollars back. If your first bet doesn't when you can even too the small wager into a big payday with the same game, parlay that just sign up with a promo code: spy FI to place your first bad risk free on fan, dual sports book download Vanderpool. Today, twenty one and present in Pennsylvania. First online real money wager only refund who does not withdrawal side credit that expires in fourteen days. Restrictions apply, see terms at sports booked out fan. Dual dotcom. Gambling problem call one eight hundred gambler, so this week's white paper was published in the journal criminology. I it's called criminal records and college admissions and modified experimental audit and its published by Robert Stuart and Chris again out of The University of Minnesota, which is kind of one of the power houses of leading criminology experiments its useful to think of this ass a
version of the experiments in discrimination against people with criminal records and hiring that you ve, probably heard of. If you ve, heard anything about the ban, the box right. There is a body of research that suggests that when employers ask in a job application, do you have a criminal record that varies not only discrimination against equally qualified applicants with criminal records, but that that discrimination particularly pronounced among black and especially blackmail, applicants for jobs and so the logic of banned the box was okay. If you stop asking about that, that's going to take that excuse to discriminate against black went away. There is, of course, now that bandbox policies have begun to limited in the context of hiring some suggestive evidence that what's really happening is that black men with criminal records get discriminated and when they can't be asked, do you have a criminal record because employers make discriminatory assumptions, bed
model of okay. What happens if we put people through a process and see what the effect of having a pass criminal record is on their ability to have upward mobility, hadn't really been applied, to the college admissions contacts in the same way, for the very easy reason that it's easy. to fabricate a resume, and it's not very easy to catch fabricate, an entire college admission process so What these authors did is they be recruited real people who were not Who were you know not planning jewel? the colleges, the were involved in the experiment and they say they paired. Two of them who had run? Have we similar academic records, but one with a slight. We stronger academic record, who had a any on their criminal record with a slightly weaker academic applicant who did not happen, a felony on their record and they had both of those students apply to two hundred and eighty colleges it they had it. Furthermore, colleges but two hundred eighty colleges daylight when all the way through the admissions process, they check the box indicating
were white on a hundred and thirty applications, and they took the box indicating that they are black one hundred and fifty. So you could compare black students without a felony record two blocks with a felony record and white students without a phone number, two instruments with a felony record, and what the paper found is that there was a substantial difference in the admission rate between these didn't who indicated they didn't have a criminal record in the studio indicated did both of those were fairly high. They'd deliberately didn't apply to most selective colleges. Just because the people in there daddy, didn't necessarily have scores that would have qualified them anyway. So we you're talking about a approximately ninety percent second rate for the student without a felony versus the seventy five percent acceptance rate student with a felony which to those of us who are skewed by thinking about really colleges, sounds really really high in both cases, but is a two point. Five time greater difference,
ill and more likelihood of getting rejected if you have a felony record. The interesting thing here is that that combines colleges. The did ask about criminal history with colleges that didn't and when you break that out, when the college didn't ask about no history. These students with the felonies were actually more likely to get admitted because again, they had been paired with students without felonies who weaker records so when they didn't was like a ninety five percent acceptance rate for the students with felonies eighty find percent for the students without but ones, schools did ask criminal histories, the odds that a student with a felony would get accepted, dropped like sixty seven, whereas it was about ninety percent for the students without felony. So there is substantial: evidence here that, in general. There is a We must not to select students who may already have criminal records. But that that is extremely pronounced when you
really ask about criminal records during a point in the admissions process and its worth, noting in the paper that seventy percent of colleges request criminal in your information on their application forms, and I think it's important to point out that we ve been. We use the term like felony, which is this is obviously not misdemeanor offences, but that still is not. I think one of the challenges here is that the response that you see sometimes from kind of the more pro policing statist argument, is that you will they ve done it like this is kind of the ongoing punishment for their crimes. But the point is that those crimes, once you have been punished for them, the punishments not supposed to be ongoing,
and the paper makes the point that your. If education is supposed to be a pathway out of poverty and out of more likelihood of engagement with the criminal justice system, then engagement with a criminal justice system cannot prevent you from entering into that pathway. And you, if institutions are discriminating against people with record, specifically african Americans, who are the proportionate proportion of people being nineteen million Americans with felony level criminal records. If the point here is that you engage with a criminal justice system, so you stop engaging with the criminal justice system, which has actually come to the point. The at the idea here is that you, you commit a crime. You are punished for that crime and then your punishment is supposed, to be ideally over it that's supposed to be it, and then you are supposed to be ideally able to. Your quota quote turn
your life around here? There is kind of a lot of libertarian grouping and coke industries has been behind a lot of efforts to increase the availability of education to people who are either leaving kind of criminal justice facilities or or have had dealings with a criminal justice system, and it seems to me that this paper shows that, when that a simple way of doing that is to stop asking this question, especially when it is that question that is affecting how people are being admitted to colleges and universities. Now Other factors about them raided. The others make the point that there has been research indicating that lake in prison, higher education programmes do have applied they impact on recidivism rates, but that the population of people who are correct the in prison is likely to be their likely to have more serious, birds and more other problems than the broader population to people who have had some level of criminal justice involvement. And so, if in theory you are going,
make someone less likely to come another crime by educating them in prison. But someone who didn't have a full prison stint in his already kind of served. Their punishment is not able to get higher education. That's a very perverse incentive, not that I disagree with any of this, but I do think you know, particularly as criminal justice reform moves forward in the most progressive jurisdictions. I too hope people keep in mind how sensitive the politics of all of this are too. It actually being the case that these various reforms aimed at helping to like connect people with work, and stuff like that, actually are effective at reducing crime levels, because it so easy to imagine a story in which a college student is raped by somebody, and it turns out that person had a record that the school didn't know didn't ask about.
out. Somebody is killed, you know, and then there's like a freak out and everybody's ike Why weren't you doing anything to protect the students here right because, like schools, have an obligation to serve the majority of their clients, you know well right I mean that's how people are going to see it like the customers are going to want quality customer service right and that's going in responsibility for safety on campus along a number of dimensions is clearly better for society if people with criminal records are able to get pirate. Education is clearly better for society if people with criminal records are able to get into employment. But it's like this. A real collective action question around that kind of thing, and it's like it's important to be sustainable, that you were able to like show to people that that you take
seriously the idea that, like crime is bad and that you are trying to include improved public safety. You know, like, I think it's it's it's risky a too just sort of put this all on this sort of individual level and my well, you know aid that the person shouldn't be punished anymore, because it's not just about punishment. From the perspective of current and perspective students at different schools, it's like people care a lot about pure effects and education. along a wide variety of dimensions, but like are the peers violent goals is, I think, like one of the most defensible kind of concerns people can have about their environs. in an educational at situation? I really think that that's that's fair, but risk aversion can become its own logic, even in the absence of any identifiable risking, the others of the say actually go through this right. They say. First of all, Though there have been occasions where a company could open itself up to a nickel
hiring lawsuit, my hiring someone with a criminal record. He then but victimize as another employee. There have not been in any such cases of negligence admission into where you can get sued, so it's your So the legal liability in question has an actually materializing and, furthermore, the authors point out that there does not appear to be significant correlation between having a criminal record. were entering college and being a suspect in crimes when in college, additionally that, because this is a voluntary, because The college emissions context the new no kind of checking the box initially Do you have a criminal record is just student reported that there isn't like a full background check of everyone is applying to acknowledge that the people who might be likely to victimize other students, while on campus, may not answer that question honestly that there's a footnote where they actually point out that the universe
more Carolina did a report in twenty four that found, that of five hundred and thirty two campus crimes reported between twenty one and two. Four, in which a student was named as a suspect. Only twenty one of those five hundred and thirty two had a criminal history, but only eight of those twenty one actually been honest about having a criminal history when they were ass on their application. So, yes, You know, I understand that there are a lot of kind of consumer can. turns and liability concerns. The college administrators might have bite This is a hammer nail problem right if asking about criminal history drunk
applications is the way you're. Solving that problem is not a particularly efficient way to solve it yet, and it also seems as if one of the real challenges that I think folks on the left are going to face and for your folks are both at the aisle one face is that the issue of criminal justice reform is going to have to involve a conversation about the fact that people do indeed commit crimes and that criminal justice reform is going to have to change both how we talk and think about those crimes going into the legal system, but how we talk about and think about those crimes going. Of the legal system, because it is not just going to be a conversation about millions of people who are unfairly locked up for marijuana
possession. Occasionally it will be people who committed crimes that we find enough Emma as a society, which is why we have thus criminalized those crimes. But again, this paper really shows that you, the point again of criminal justice, is that you are supposed to after your engagement with that system, no longer commit those crimes and be able to escape the environment that perhaps lead to committing those crimes and have the same so mobility as other people, so that you will not be tempted to commit those crimes again, and I think that your wits been shown Annexes paper notes that education has classically been viewed as that pathway. In order to do so, and its apparent recognise that, like yes, that will involve people who have committed crimes going to college and going to college for people who have not committed those crimes and going to college with people who have not committed crimes who are like your kids, but those people are also someone's aids or sisters or brothers, or something like that. I think it's important like this is impacting
what millions of Americans and their ability to escape the criminal justice system is as important as anyone else's ability to. You have to engage in the first place, all right, so you know what the real american dream, as we all know, is not going to college or becoming a billionaire, but it's sharing the joy of excellent podcast with your friends and families loved ones. As a please tell tell all the world about the weeds at up in the Facebook group adjoining the and thanks to die and Jane thanks to Mount. I protest. The engineer here and Jackson. Beer found producer from this episode needs will return excessively affordable broadband helps communities.
Toward their american dream for students. Lectures on a Chavez means rising above the poverty line and becoming valedictorian of international High School Langley Park, and thanks to access from eighteen t, it can help these. Dreams must turn into reality. That's my atm tease me two billion dollar three year. Commitment to help close the digital divide to more Americans have a chance to succeed. To learn more is t t dot com, slash connecting communities.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-10.