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American Wonk


American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.

American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.
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American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.






Ep. 32: Scott Winship on the Social Capital Project

One of the most popular theories about Donald Trump's victory in 2016 is that Trump appealed to an increasing number of Americans--especially white Americans without a college degree--with feelings of alienation and loneliness. In 2015, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton published a landmark paper documenting a "marked increase" in deaths among middle-aged white Americans in the 21st century, at a time when mortality was decreasing for everyone else. Case and Deaton note that...


Ep. 31: Randy Barnett on Justice Kennedy’s Replacement

One of the most widely-made conservative arguments in favor of voting for Donald Trump in 2016 was his ability to nominate constitutionalist justices to the Supreme Court. This year, President Trump will get his chance to name the replacement for Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring. From a conservative point of view, it's an opportunity to replace the Court's swing vote with a more conservative one. To talk about this important development, we're joined by one of America's...


Ep. 30: Senator Marco Rubio

Sponsored by DonorsTrust Senator Marco Rubio (R - FL) joined Avik Roy Thursday morning to kick off the AEI/Ricochet Podcast Summit. Among the topics covered are the future of the economy, the future of the Republican Party, confronting China and the challenges of the 21st Century. More Join the conversation and comment on this podcast episode: Podcast listeners: Now become a Ricochet member for only $2.50 a month! Join...


Pete Hegseth on Veterans Health Reform

Sponsored by Quip One of the core promises that President Trump made on the campaign trail was to fix the broken veterans' health care system. In 2017, he nominated David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, to be his Veterans Affairs Secretary. But Shulkin spent most of his tenure opposing efforts to reform the VA, because reform, in his words, was an effort at "privatization...a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits." Shulkin was let...


Ep. 28: Patrick Ruffini on Facebook, Trump, and the Future of Political Campaigns

Sponsored by Quip When the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama mined users' Facebook feeds for information about how they might vote in 2008, Obama was praised as an innovator. But this spring, a firestorm of controversy enveloped Facebook, after the New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica mined data from Facebook users to help elect Donald Trump. So how should we define right or wrong in political campaigns in the age of social media? Is it our own fault that campaigns can...


Ep. 27: Paul Winfree’s Inside View of the Trump West Wing

Sponsored by Quip Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, left that post in January 2017 to take a senior policy position in the Trump White House. A year later, he's back at Heritage, and--you guessed it--spending more time with his family. On this episode of American Wonk, Paul talks freely about his year in the West Wing--about what the Trump White House is doing right, and where it can improve. He gives us a never-before-revealed account of the...


Ep. 26: Immigration Reform

Sponsored by Quip Today, we're taking about President Trump's new proposal on his signature issue: immigration reform. In January, Trump put forward a surprising new immigration plan, which would some expected things, like build a wall. But it would also provide a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million children brought here illegally by their parents: the so-called DACA children. It would eliminate the phenomenon of "anchor babies"--children born here to gain citizenship for their...


Ep. 25: Net Neutrality with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Sponsored by Away Travel Today, we're taking a deep dive into the biggest policy controversy in the tech community: the impending vote by the Federal Communications Commission to abandon the Obama-era effort to regulate the internet, known as "net neutrality." What is "net neutrality?" Why has this highly technical topic aroused the passions of so many people in Silicon Valley? And can we trust the biggest corporations in America to keep the internet open and free? To answer these...


Ep. 24: Taxing Questions

Sponsored by Away Travel Today, our topic is the most important policy debate in America right now: the Republican effort to overhaul the Internal Revenue Code. The House has passed its version of tax reform, and it's now up to Senate Republicans to finish the job. Do they have the votes? What changes might be made to the bill to gain a majority? And at the end of the day, what will be the impact of all this on the U.S. economy? To answer these questions, we're joined by the most...


Ep. 23: Larry Is Money

Sponsored by Away Travel On this episode of American Wonk, our guest is Larry Kudlow: Contributing Editor at National Review, Senior Contributor at CNBC, and host of the "Larry Kudlow Show" on WABC. Larry joins us to talk about three hot economic topics. First, we discuss President Trump's upcoming appointment of a new chairman for the Federal Reserve. Why is the Federal Reserve important? What has the Fed gotten right or wrong since the financial crisis? And how does it affect your...


Ep. 22: Dr. Senator Bill Cassidy

Today, our topic is the struggling Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. In late September, a handful of Senate Republicans announced that they wouldn't support the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare's expansion of health insurance coverage, and replace it with block grants to the states, using the same pot of money. So where do we stand now? What is the path forward for Republicans on health care? To take stock of where we are, we're joined by the leading health wonk in...


Ep. 21: Tax Reform

Sponsored by SimpliSafe Today, our topic is the Republican plan--or plans plural--to overhaul the Internal Revenue Code. Some people think tax reform is easier than health care reform, but I'm not so sure. Congress hasn't passed meaningful tax reform in more than 30 years. So how should we reform the tax code? Are Congressional Republicans on the right track? And how likely are they to get it done? To help answer these questions, we're fortunate to be joined by Ryan Ellis, Senior Tax...


Ep. 20: The State of The Repeal

Sponsored by Casper, SimpliSafe Today, our topic is the state of the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. We're recording this podcast just after Congress has come back to Washington from the Fourth of July recess. The Senate Republican health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is on thin ice, with about ten Republican Senators expressing reservations about the bill. Can Mitch McConnell get 50 senators to yes? What are the implications for the future of...


Ep. 19: Smoke and Fire with John Yoo

Sponsored by Blue Apron, Blue Apron, SimpliSafe On this month's episode of American Wonk, our topic is: What the heck is going on between Donald Trump, James Comey, and Russia? Is there fire underneath all that smoke? Is the President in any kind of legal jeopardy? To answer these questions, we needed to go to someone who could wonk out with us on both foreign policy and constitutional questions, and so we're very fortunate to have John Yoo join the program. John is the Emanuel S....


Ep. 17: One Podcast, Two Wonks: Dr. Zeke Emanuel

A lot of you have been waiting for us to talk health care at American Wonk. But we wanted to save it for a really special guest. And today, we have him. Zeke Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us. Zeke, as you know, was one of the key […] Ricochet.


Ep. 8: The War On Poverty

Direct link to MP3 file Fifty years ago, in January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared “unconditional war” on poverty. Five decades later, it’s time to take stock. How have Johnson’s policies fared? To what degree ought conservatives focus on the questions of poverty and social mobility? And what would a conservative agenda on these issues look like? Read On The post The War On Poverty appeared first on Ricochet.


Ep. 4: The Obamacare Defund Standoff

The post The Obamacare Defund Standoff appeared first on Ricochet.


Ep. 2: Eli Lake on Salvaging Syria

The post Eli Lake on Salvaging Syria appeared first on Ricochet.