28 episodes

In Washington, DC, the story often ends when Congress passes a law. For us, that’s where the story begins. We examine the consequences of what happens when powerful people act — or fail to act. This season, Jillian Weinberger explores the big ideas from the 2020 presidential candidates: how their ideas worked, or didn’t work, in other places or at other times. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

The Impact Vox

    • Documentary

In Washington, DC, the story often ends when Congress passes a law. For us, that’s where the story begins. We examine the consequences of what happens when powerful people act — or fail to act. This season, Jillian Weinberger explores the big ideas from the 2020 presidential candidates: how their ideas worked, or didn’t work, in other places or at other times. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    Free tuition is not enough

    Free tuition is not enough

    Free college tuition seems like a solution to so many problems. After all, the price of tuition is the No. 1 reason students give for leaving school. And when students don’t finish, they can’t access the many benefits of a college degree. That’s why several presidential candidates have proposed some version of a free college program.
    But in Kalamazoo, Michigan, free college isn’t a proposal, it’s a reality — and it has been for almost 15 years. Students who live in Kalamazoo and attend its public schools K-12 have their in-state college tuition completely covered. It’s called the Kalamazoo Promise. 
    The Promise has had some impressive results, but it's only brought Kalamazoo’s college graduation rates up to the Michigan state average. In this episode, we follow the lives of two Promise recipients, Aaliyah Buchanan and Olivia Terrentine, to find out why free tuition has not been the panacea Kalamazoo had hoped it would be.
    We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to impact@vox.com.
    Further listening and reading: 

    Michelle Miller-Adams’s book about the Kalamazoo Promise, The Power of a Promise: Education and Economic Renewal in Kalamazoo, gives in-depth background on the program

    MLive’s Kayla Miller introduced us to Aaliyah and wrote a great piece about the Promise last year


    The UpJohn Institute has a real trove of data and research about the Promise for anyone who would like to dig further into the numbers


    Vox’s explainer on free college in the 2020 race


    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 26 min
    Family Dollar(s)

    Family Dollar(s)

    Natasha Razouk wants to give her 7-year-old the best possible life. She buys big boxes of fresh tomatoes at Costco, and she gets her daughter warm boots, a good coat, and school supplies each year. 
    But all that is expensive. Natasha’s daughter grows out of clothes quickly, and she needs books and health care and day care. That’s why the Canadian government gives every parent, including Natasha, a little money each month — a few hundred Canadian dollars — to help cover the cost of raising a child. 
    It’s called the “child benefit.” In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised it would lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. Now, a number of US presidential candidates have signed onto a similar proposal.
    In this episode, we see whether the Canadian child benefit delivered on Prime Minister Trudeau’s promise. We find out how that money changed Natasha’s life and her daughter’s. And we look at what US presidential candidates can learn from our neighbors to the north.
    We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to impact@vox.com.
    Further listening and reading: 

    Vox’s Dylan Matthews explains what child benefits are and the plan to introduce one in the US.

    The National Academy of Sciences recently studied child benefits as a tool to cut child poverty in half; here’s what it found.

    In the episode, we talk about a graph Kevin Milligan drew. See it, and an associated tweet thread, here. You can read a paper Kevin wrote with Mark Stabile about previous child benefit increases here.

    Vox’s guide to where 2020 candidates stand on policy. 


    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 20 min
    Saving Private Health Care

    Saving Private Health Care

    Janet Feldman has been paying for private insurance for years. She does so even though Australia has a robust public insurance option. But when she was diagnosed with a serious illness, her doctor told her not to use the private insurance she was paying for. She stuck to public insurance — and she’s very glad she did, because using the private system in Australia can have some serious disadvantages. 
    In fact, so many Australians prefer the public system to the private that it’s become a problem for the stability of the two. 
    Australia’s public-private system looks a lot like proposals from a number of US presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In this episode, Vox health care reporter Dylan Scott continues his international investigation of health care across the world, with a stop in Australia. He meets with doctors, researchers, patients — even a robot — and returns to the US with evidence that could both hearten and concern candidates like public-private boosters like Biden or Buttigieg.   
    We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to impact@vox.com.
    Links:

    Dylan’s deep dive into Australian health care


    Stephen Duckett’s working paper on public and private insurance in Australia


    Dylan’s piece on the three different kinds of health care plan floated by the Democratic candidates

    Vox’s guide to where 2020 candidates stand on policy 


    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
     
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 29 min
    How Taiwan got Medicare-for-All

    How Taiwan got Medicare-for-All

    In the early 1990s, the government of Taiwan decided to try an experiment. In just nine months, they completely revolutionized their health care system, covering every Taiwanese citizen through a single-payer program. It’s a system that looks very similar to the Medicare-for-all proposals from presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. 
    Vox health care reporter Dylan Scott went to Taiwan to investigate how its single-payer system is working and what the United States can learn from it. He interviewed patients, doctors, government officials, and a researcher with a charming love story. Dylan learned that while the people of Taiwan love their version of Medicare-for-all — a program that has significantly improved Taiwan’s health outcomes — the entire system could go bankrupt, soon. 
    We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to impact@vox.com.
    Further listening and reading: 

    Dylan's deep dive on Taiwan's health care system


    Uwe Reinhardt’s last book, Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Healthcare


    Tsung-Mei (May) Cheng wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion piece making the case for a public option


    Dylan’s piece on the three kinds of health care plan floated by the Democratic candidates

    Vox’s guide to where 2020 candidates stand on policy 

     
    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 31 min
    Green New Germany

    Green New Germany

    Two decades ago, Hans-Josef Fell quietly started a revolution in his home country, with a law that looks a lot like part of the Green New Deal endorsed by many Democratic candidates. That law transformed Germany, and that has the potential to change the world.  
    Fell found a way to make renewable energy technology — like solar panels and wind turbines — cheap. His law allowed Germans to sell the renewable energy they create to the grid at a really high fixed price. Germany paid that fixed price through a surcharge on every electricity consumer’s bill.
    Demand for renewables grew so much in Germany that China started to mass produce solar panels and wind turbines, which drove the price down. Now, people all over the world can afford this technology. But the law has also had some unintended consequences. Due to some amendments and market forces, the surcharge on Germany’s electric bills have skyrocketed. Electricity has become a burdensome expense for Germans living on welfare, and the high cost has even left a few spending a lot of time in the dark. 
    Further listening and reading:

    Vox’s David Roberts on how government policy helped make solar technology affordable


    Vox’s Umair Irfan and Tara Golshan on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal


    Vox’s guide to where all the 2020 candidates stand on policy, including climate change issues


    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 24 min
    After conviction, a second chance

    After conviction, a second chance

    President Gerald Ford took office during one of the most difficult times in the country’s history. In August 1974, the US had just lived through Watergate, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and more than a decade of divisive fighting over its involvement in Vietnam. While millions of Americans fought in Southeast Asia, many others protested the war at home — or dodged the draft.
    Ford wanted to find a way to bring the country together. Just a few weeks after assuming the presidency, he created a Clemency Review Board, a bipartisan group that would decide the fate of the young Americans who were convicted of refusing induction, or going AWOL (absent without leave), from Vietnam. Those young men could fill out an application, and the board would decide whether they deserved a pardon — which would erase a felony conviction from their record.
    Many of the Democratic candidates for president want to do the same thing today. They’re proposing a Clemency Review Board to review applications from federal inmates, many of whom are serving long sentences because of harsh penalties enacted during the War on Drugs. 
    In this episode: forgiveness and redress after two long conflicts, the Vietnam War, and the War on Drugs. The Impact looks back at how Ford tried to heal the nation — and how he transformed the lives of two men as a result. We’ll also find out how Ford’s idea might work today, for a new generation of young people behind bars.
    Further listening and reading: 


    The Uncertain Hour’s third season explores the War on Drugs and its aftermath

    Vox’s German Lopez on incarceration in America


    Vox’s guide to where 2020 candidates stand on policy, including criminal justice reform 

    Professor Mark Osler’s law review article on Ford’s Clemency Review Board


    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.
    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 29 min

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