Ben and Joel are joined by The New Republic's Timothy Noah. Prior to his current stint as the TRB columnist and blogger at TNR, Noah wrote for Slate—and that's where he developed the series of articles that formed the basis for his latest book, The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It (Bloomsbury).
Among the questions we discuss:
• What is "the Great Divergence"?
• Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, or is the gulf between rich and poor becoming wider?
• How much does culture contribute to economic inequality?
• Has the growth in single parenthood exacerbated the trend?
• How much does immigration—illegal or otherwise—affect inequality?
• What about globalization?
• Is there a silver bullet reason for this growing inequality? Can we blame this on Republicans and Ronald Reagan?
• Does America need a revitalized labor movement? Should labor be treated as a civil right?
• Is it possible to improve the lot of the poor without diminishing the standard of living of the rich?
• Why not "soak the rich"?
• And much, much more!
Music heard in this podcast:
• "I'm Payin' Taxes, What am I Buyin'?" Fred Wesley and The J.B.s
• "The Mating Game," Bitter:Sweet
• "Wicked World," Black Sabbath
• "Killing Yourself to Live," Black Sabbath
• "Democracy," Leonard Cohen
• "The Working Man," Creedence Clearwater Revival
• "Taxman," Soulive
Please visit and "like" the Ben and Joel page on Facebook for updates about the podcast and our weekly syndicated column with ScrippsHoward News Service.
Programming note: This episode of "The Ben and Joel Podcast" is Vol. 5, No. 7 for 2012. We had a couple of glitches in the audio recording -- Skype is funny that way. In the section on immigration, George Borjas's affiliation was garbled beyond intelligibility. He is currently a professor of economics and social policy at Harvard's Kennedy School.