Lever Reruns is a series of one-off interviews and live chats recorded during the old Daily Poster days. We probably won't add any new episodes, but please enjoy these in perpetuity.
The Lever is reader-supported investigative news outlet that holds accountable the people and corporations manipulating the levers of power.
The Secret Wealth Transfer
The Daily Poster recently published a deep-dive report on Wall Street executives skimming billions of dollars of fees off the retirement savings of teachers, firefighters and other government workers. The relationship between public pensions and alternative investment firms has become one of the biggest upward transfers of wealth in America - and much of it is happening in secret. That's because pension officials and the firms collude to keep the investment contracts secret, even to the workers and retirees whose money they are managing. On this episode, Sirota talks to former SEC attorney Ted Siedle, whose forensic investigations of major pension funds are exposing this enormous scandal. Siedle is the author of the books Who Stole My Pension? and How To Steal A Lot Of Money, Legally.
The Billionaire Tax Scam
Sirota talks to ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger about the recent leak of IRS data showing how billionaires are able to accumulate vast wealth while paying so little in taxes. Recent analyses have estimated that every year, the richest 1 percent are not paying between $174 billion and $250 billion of taxes they owe. The documents leaked to ProPublica illustrate how tax loopholes, preferences and shelters allow moguls such as Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett to pay a lower effective tax rate than everyone else. Eisinger also reviews the story of how right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel used stock valuations and a Roth IRA - which was designed for middle-class Americans - to tax shelter roughly $5 billion of wealth. The discussion concludes with a review of new legislative proposals to rebuild the IRS so that the agency can better police billionaire tax avoidance.
Inside The UFO Mystery
With the government recently issuing a new report on UFOs, Sirota talks to journalist Laura Krantz, whose new podcast series is called "Wild Thing: Space Invaders." It looks at our culture's obsession with the idea of extraterrestrial life. They discuss the government's renewed interest in UFOs, and what science suggests is the most likely explanation for the unidentified phenomena. They also discuss whether or not the recent UFO mania is being driven by a military-industrial complex looking for more justification for even larger Pentagon budgets.
The Whistleblower Who Exposed An FDA Scandal
Sirota talks with Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, the Harvard researcher who last month touched off national headlines when he resigned from a panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration on drug approvals. Kesselheim resigned because the agency approved a pharmaceutical company's unproven Alzheimer's treatment, even though the panel of overseers was nearly unanimous in finding that the therapy had not displayed compelling evidence that it worked. In a co-authored New York Times oped, Kesselheim warned that "in recent years, under steady pressure from the pharmaceutical industry and the patient groups it funds, the F.D.A. has progressively lowered its standards of effectiveness and safety required for drug approvals."
Elite Groupthink And The Lab-Leak Theory
Sirota and Tom Frank begin by discussing some of the Daily Poster's financial reporting on the housing market this week. Then, they move into a larger discussion of Frank's controversial Guardian oped about the power of elite groupthink and the pushback against even scientifically reviewing the theory that the coronavirus leaked from an American-funded lab in China.
Biden's First 100 Days
Photo credit: Getty Images
This week is President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office, and so The Daily Poster’s latest podcast takes a look at Biden’s personnel appointments to see whether or not his administration has been captured by corporate interests.
On the podcast, Sirota talked with Max Moran of the Revolving Door Project and David Segal of Demand Progress, two groups that have been pressuring Biden to stock his administration with progressive appointees, rather than corporate cronies. The Revolving Door Project recently issued a report card on Biden’s first 100 days, which you can find here.
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For some reason your podcast does not update in my apple podcast?? Iv tried and am disappointed
All of my many podcast are here. I would imagine the problem is with Apple as it always is. Dealing with Apple to fix these issues is not all that easy anymore. And I’m not willing to deal with them. just thought you should know that you’re losing some subscribers.