127 episódios

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

The Argumen‪t‬ The New York Times

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Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

    Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

    Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

    The Supreme Court — and its post-Trump conservative majority — is currently deciding whether to take up a case that could be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe, the 48-year-old decision protecting the right to an abortion in America, would leave abortion regulation up to the states. But some abortion opponents think that’s not far enough and are pushing the movement to change its focus to securing a 14th Amendment declaration of fetal personhood.

    Ross Douthat wrote about the diverging anti-abortion movement and why both factions are doomed to fail as long as the movement is shackled to a Republican Party that refuses to enact public policy to help struggling families. Michelle Goldberg wrote a response column to Ross’s, claiming his argument was a fallacy. To bring their dueling columns to life, Jane Coaston brought the two writers together to debate the future of abortion protection and restriction in America.

    • 35 min
    The Reality of Vaccine Passports

    The Reality of Vaccine Passports

    More than 19 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and upward of 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. As these numbers continue to rise, countries have begun issuing or considering “vaccine passports.”

    Vaccine passports — proof through a phone app or on a piece of paper that you’ve had your shots — are a potential ticket to freedom for millions of vaccinated people around the world. Israel already has them. The European Union and China have also announced a version of them. In the United States, there’s talk about what such a certification might look like.

    But vaccine passports also raise huge ethical questions, with 85 percent of shots worldwide having been administered in wealthier countries. And with private tech companies working on creating these passports in the United States, there’s worry about the risks of sharing health records with third-party apps. Both Texas and Florida have prohibited government-mandated vaccine passports.

    On today’s episode, our guests debate the concept of a vaccine passport and discuss the ethical and privacy considerations that come along with them. Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School. Ramin Bastani is the founder and chief executive of Healthvana, a patient platform that delivers test results and is supplying vaccine passports. He says we should think of them more like an everyday health record. Then, we turn to listener voice mail messages as they share their thoughts on the reopening of schools.

    Referenced in this episode:

    “Vaccine Passports Won’t Get us Out of the Pandemic,” in The Times.
    “Vaccinated Workers Are Getting Benefits That Those Without Covid Shots Won’t,” in Bloomberg, about vaccine passports in Israel.
    WBUR’s episode on the pros and cons of vaccine passports.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    • 30 min
    What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

    What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

    This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides.

    It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League.

    Referenced in this episode:

    Anti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws”
    N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime laws
    Sarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    • 36 min
    Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?

    Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?

    Whether it’s Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss or Roseanne, allegations of cancel culture seem to have a regular spot among the trending topics of the internet. Almost every other week, someone’s cancellation becomes the subject of prominent discussion on Twitter, Substack and cable news. Yet its exact meaning is up for debate. What counts as a cancellation? Who gets to decide?

    On today’s episode, we argue over what being canceled means and if it’s time to get rid of the idea entirely. Robby Soave, a senior editor for Reason, has been sounding the alarm about cancel culture. And he wrote a piece about our other guest, Will Wilkinson, titled “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson.” Wilkinson was arguably canceled after he wrote a tweet that led to his firing from the Niskanen Center, where he was the vice president for research. But he thinks the label of cancel culture is misleading, even when it’s used in his defense.

    Referenced in this episode:

    Read Will Wilkinson’s “Undefined Cancel Game” at his Substack.
    Robby Soave in Reason: “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    • 40 min
    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage or Abolish It?

    Raise the Federal Minimum Wage or Abolish It?

    The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009. Workers in 21 states make the federal floor, which can be even lower for people who make tips. And at $7.25 an hour, a person working full time with a dependent is making below the federal poverty line.

    States such as California, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have approved gradual minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour — so is it time to do it at the federal level?

    On Wednesday 20 senators from both parties are set to meet to discuss whether to use their influence on minimum wage legislation.

    Economists have argued for years about the consequences of the hike, saying employers who bear the costs would be forced to lay off some of the very employees the minimum wage was intended to support. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to see $15 by 2025 estimates the increase would move 900,000 people out of poverty — and at the same time cut 1.4 million jobs.

    On today’s episode, we debate the fight for $15 with two people who see things very differently. Saru Jayaraman is the president of One Fair Wage and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jeffrey Miron is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Harvard University and the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute.

    Referenced in this episode:

    The Congressional Budget Office’s February 2021 report on the budgetary effects of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.
    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2020 report “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    • 33 min
    Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

    Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

    The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?

    Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.

    Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

    Referenced in this episode:

    Astra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”
    Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”
    Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”
    Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”
    Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    • 46 min

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