Episode 9: Irrational Numbers

The Budget, sequestration, and how it all began.

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There's a song used in the first few minutes of this episode that was also used at the *end* episode 8. I see a few people asking for it's name in the previous episode too - any chance you could let us know what it is?

I absolutely love this podcast, by the way. I'm in Dublin, Ireland and really have no benefit in listening to a show about the US political system, but the show is put together in such an informative & entertaining manner that I really enjoy it! It was a referral from Roman Mars of 99% Invisible fame that has me a Decode DC subscriber.

Thanks for all the hard work!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeán Foley

I second that. You usually use some great music and it would be awesome to know who writes it. Thanks for the great podcast!

March 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

This was a very disappointed episode. You placed the blame squarely on the Tea Party for the current budget mess but failed to somehow mention that the Democratically-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget since 2009.

It's difficult to argue that it is merely Tea Party Senators that have kept the Senate from passing a budget. In fact, your interviewee's example of the type of bad Senator that has broken the budget process if Sen. Ted Cruz. But the obvious problem with blaming Ted Cruz for anything related to the budget is that he was elected for the first time to the Senate last November.

I was hoping for a lot more from Decode DC.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

The American Enterprise Institute....conservative? HA!

I'm not a conservative but I recognize that AEI is one of those institutions that liberals point to as "conservative." Yea, like they think Jennifer Rubin, Michael Gerson, Joe Scarborough, George Bush and John Boehner are conservatives. When it comes to conservatism, AEI is worse and almost more establishment than the Heritage Foundation. At least Heritage pretends to respect "free markets."

AEI, like Rubin of the Washington Post, are the "house conservatives," the ones liberals go to and often feature on their websites to give the "conservative point of view" to their readers -- even as their point of view is only a slight difference from the existing liberal orthodoxy on the website. Of course, you will find striking instances of disagreement between the "house conservative" and the main publication. That is the point. That keeps the illusion going. But on issues like war, good heavens, they become almost identical. Look at the Romney-Obama foreign policy debate. Romney's only complaint was that he would have done what Obama did, only sooner.

On the flip side, I think Fox News has "house liberals," like Bob Beckel. But they're not true progressives, who of course loathe the Obama presidency ("mandating private citizens to pay for health insurance and create profits for the private health industry? What's "progressive" about that? Sending U.S. troops and drones over African countries? What's "progressive" about that?). True progressives understand George W. Bush just won his 4th election back in November 2012--so do "true conservatives"; AEI are not "conservatives" in the sense of the pre-1948 anti-imperial, truly limited government sense. And if I understand Russell Kirk right, most conservatives aren't "conservative" in his sense either.

So anyway, from the selection of sources in this disappointing piece I take it that some of the big-government liberalism that you must have been inevitably surrounded around in your years at NPR has rubbed of.

As a long-term project, spend some time reading the works of the Austrian School of Economics. Since you are interested in "Decoding DC" it doesn't make much sense to do it from the standpoint of someone who still, unfortunately, in some ways still thinks like someone in NPR and Washington. Do it from the perspective of someone who predicted the economic crisis years in advance.

However, I'm still very much a fan of your work. To be great a something one must take criticism.

My other suggestion is, because your sources seem so one-sided, to talk to someone like a Ted Cruz--who I absolutely do not support and who I think is a neo-McCarthyite--and have him explain his position. Have one of them explain that the budget will still get to 100% of GDP in the long-term anyway, only a few years later than without the sequester. Or even talk to the CATO Institute economists who, I think, take the position in the previous sentence. I'm not a huge fan of CATO, but they do shine here and there.

Do a follow-up on the number of bacteria-related sicknesses in fast-food restaurants since the sequester will obviously cripple the FDA so badly that I will be forced to resort to freeze-dried food until government spending is spending my money slightly faster than what it is currently spending under the sequester to restore those vital federal services.

And have more of a conversation.

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