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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

The Ezra Klein Sho‪w‬ The New York Times

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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

    The Best Explanation of Biden's Thinking I’ve Heard

    The Best Explanation of Biden's Thinking I’ve Heard

    With the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, the economic theory that is Bidenomics is taking shape. It’s big. It puts climate at the center of everything. It is more worried about political risks — losing the House, giving Donald Trump a path back to power — than some traditional economic risks, like wasting money and bumping up inflation. It prefers to err on the side of spending more and making sure people know they got a bridge or a job than doing less and having people question whether government is working for them. But I still have a lot of questions about Bidenomics, in terms of both its economic theories and its political ones.

    Brian Deese is the director of the National Economic Council, the nerve center that coordinates economic policy across the executive branch. He led the auto bailout in the Obama administration and then turned to climate, first in the Obama White House and then at BlackRock. When President Biden brought him on to run the N.E.C., it was a message: In the Biden administration, all economics was going to be climate economics.

    I asked Deese to join me on the podcast to talk about how his economic policymaking and thinking have changed since 2009, what the Biden administration learned from the successes and failures of the Obama era, why so much of the White House’s economic policy is framed in terms of competition with China, why he doesn’t think a carbon tax is the right answer for climate, how the Biden administration will invest in the care economy and more.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 56 min
    Did the Boomers Ruin America? A Debate.

    Did the Boomers Ruin America? A Debate.

    Donald Trump was the fourth member of the baby boomer generation to be elected president, after Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is a boomer. Chief Justice John Roberts is a boomer. The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, is a boomer. President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, were born a few years too early to officially qualify as boomers, but they’re close. We’re living in the world the boomers and nearly boomers built, and are still building.

    This is not, to younger Americans, a comfort. One 2018 poll found that just over half of millennials said that boomers made things worse for their generation; only 13 percent said they made things better. Then there was the rise of the “OK Boomer” meme in 2019, an all-purpose dismissal of boomer politics and rhetoric. But the boomers are a vast group, as are all generations. So is this a useful category for political argument? And even if it is, what, precisely, is it that the boomers did wrong?

    Jill Filipovic is a journalist, former lawyer and the author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind,” a primarily economic critique of the boomer generation from the left. Helen Andrews is a senior editor at The American Conservative and author of “Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster,” a searing cultural critique of the boomers from the right.

    Filipovic and Andrews, both of whom are millennials (as am I), agree that the boomers left our generation worse off; but they disagree on just about everything else, which makes this conversation all the more interesting. We discuss the value of generational analysis, the legacy of the sexual revolution, the impact of boomer economic policies, the decline of the nuclear family, the so-called millennial sex recession, the millennial affordability crisis, the impact of pornography, how much the critique of the boomers is really a critique of technological change and much more.

    References:

    American Compass survey on family preferences

    "The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high" by Christopher Ingraham

    "The Rise of Childless America" by Lyman Stone

    Jill’s recommendations:

    The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch

    Can't Even by Anne Helen Petersen

    Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

    Helen’s recommendations:

    A Tale of Two Utopias by Paul Berman

    Coming of Age on Zoloft by Katherine Sharpe

    A Book of Americans by Stepehen Vincent Benét


    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 1 tim. 10 min
    Should We Edit Our Children's Genes? Would It Be Cruel Not To?

    Should We Edit Our Children's Genes? Would It Be Cruel Not To?

    For years now, I’ve had the same recurring worry: Am I focusing on the trivial? When future generations look back on this moment in history, will they remember the daily political fights — or will everything just look like a sideshow compared to humans being able to edit genetic code?

    The technology I’m referring to, known as CRISPR, could cure genetic diseases like sickle-cell anemia and Huntington’s. It could let us regulate height, hair color, and vulnerabilities in our children. And, one day, it has the potential to imbue human beings with superhuman characteristics — making us stronger, faster, smarter. Nor is it just us. CRISPR lets us edit other animals and plants, with all kinds of beckoning possibilities, some wonderful, some terrible. We cannot do all this yet. But it’s coming, and soon.

    Walter Isaacson is the former editor of Time magazine, the former head of CNN, and author of biographies of everyone from Albert Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs. However, his newest book, “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” is much more than a biography of Jennifer Doudna, a Nobel Prize winning scientist who was essential to developing CRISPR. It’s a biography of the scientific process that led to CRISPR, and the people trying to understand its moral, political and human implications.

    In this conversation, I get to ask Isaacson the questions I’ve wanted to focus on myself: Is it wrong to edit your kid’s genes? Is it cruel not to? What happens when CRISPR and capitalism collide? Will we witness the rise of a superhuman genetic elite? And what kind of political and economic systems do we need to start building to ensure this technology is used in just ways?

    Recommendations:

    The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

    The Eighth Day of Creation by Horace Freeland Judson

    Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 55 min
    Why Sci-Fi Legend Ted Chiang Fears Capitalism, Not A.I.

    Why Sci-Fi Legend Ted Chiang Fears Capitalism, Not A.I.

    For years, I’ve kept a list of dream guests for this show. And as long as that list has existed, Ted Chiang has been atop it.

    Chiang is a science fiction writer. But that undersells him. He has released two short story collections over 20 years — 2002’s “Stories of Your Life and Others” and 2019’s “Exhalation.” Those stories have won more awards than I can list, and one of them was turned into the film “Arrival.” They are remarkable pieces of work: Each is built around a profound scientific, philosophical or religious idea, and then the story or the story structure is shaped to represent that idea. They are wonders of precision and craft. But unlike a lot of science fiction, they are never cold. Chiang’s work is deeply, irrepressibly humane.

    I’ve always wondered about the mind that would create Chiang’s stories. And in this conversation I got to watch it in action. Chiang doesn’t like to talk about himself. But he does like to talk about ideas. And so we do: We discuss the difference between magic and technology, why superheroes fight crime but ignore injustice, what it would do to the human psyche if we knew the future is fixed, whether free will exists, whether we’d want to know the exact date of our deaths, why Chiang fears what humans will do to artificial intelligence more than what A.I. will do to humans, the way capitalism turns people against technology, and much more.

    The ideas Chiang offered in this conversation are still ringing in my head, and changing the way I see the world. It’s worth taking your time with this one.

    Recommendations:

    Creation by Steve Grand

    "On the Measure of Intelligence" by Francois Chollet

    CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders

    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

    On Fragile Waves by Lily Yu

    Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

    Control (video game)

    Return of the Obra Dinn (video game)

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 50 min
    A Top G.O.P. Pollster on Trump 2024, QAnon and What Republicans Really Want

    A Top G.O.P. Pollster on Trump 2024, QAnon and What Republicans Really Want

    In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, the polling firm Echelon Insights decided to ask voters a simple question: Do they think the goal of politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the country’s survival as we know it?”

    Only 25 percent of Republicans said politics is about policy; nearly half said it’s about survival. That’s today’s Republican Party in a nutshell.

    I’ve had some recent conversations with Republicans who are trying to reform their party, to push it back toward policy and, in some cases, reality. But, for now, we’re governing with the Republican Party we have, not the Republican Party many want. So what does that Republican Party, the real Republican Party, believe?

    Kristen Soltis Anderson is a Republican pollster, host of Sirius XM’s “The Trendline,” and co-founder of Echelon Insights. She has done some of the most in-depth surveys of Republican voters to date: the issues that animate them, the traits they look for in presidential candidates, how they consume information, their faith in Donald Trump and much more. So I asked her about what today’s Republicans believe, and what that reveals about where the party is going next.

    Recommendations:

    Grand New Party by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam

    Resonate by Nancy Duarte

    “Generations Status and Party Identification, A Theory of Operant Conditioning” by Keith Billingsley and Clyde Tucker

    Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin


    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing for this episode by Isaac Jones.

    • 1 tim.
    An Unusually Optimistic Conversation With Bernie Sanders

    An Unusually Optimistic Conversation With Bernie Sanders

    Bernie Sanders didn’t win the 2020 election. But he may have won its aftermath.

    If you look back at Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’s careers, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, looks a lot like the proposals Sanders has fought for forever, without much of the compromise or concerns that you used to see from Senator Joe Biden. That’s not to take anything away from Biden. He’s the president. This is his plan. And it is to his credit that he saw what the country needed, what the politics of the moment would support and where his party had moved, and met it with full force.

    But Sanders’s two presidential campaigns are part of the reason that the Democratic Party had moved, and the politics of the moment had changed. And so I’ve wondered what Sanders makes of this moment. Is it a triumph? A disappointment? A beginning?

    And I’ve wondered about his take on some of the other questions swirling around the Democratic Party: Are liberals alienating people who agree with them on economics by being too censorious on culture? Is there room to work with populist Republicans who might be open to new economic ideas even as they turn against liberal democracy itself?


    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 28 min

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