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The Impact

Vox Media

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.


United States


Vox Media


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.




40 Acres: Reaching reconciliation

What good are piecemeal reparations? From Georgetown University, where school leadership once sold enslaved people, to Evanston, Illinois, where redlining kept Black residents out of homeownership, institutions and local governments are attempting to take reparations into their own hands. But do these small-scale efforts detract from the broader call for reparations from the federal government? Fabiola talks with Indigenous philanthropist Edgar Villanueva, founder of the Decolonizing Wealth...


40 Acres: The old Jim Crow

Why slavery? Marxist scholar Adolph Reed argues that Jim Crow — not enslavement — is the defining experience for Black Americans today. Reed recounts his childhood in the segregation-era South in his book The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives. Fabiola speaks with Reed about his experience, his argument that reparations aren’t necessarily a healing balm, and what policies and resources are needed to create a more equitable society. This series was made possible with support from the Canopy...


40 Acres: $14 trillion and no mules

Paying the price. One of the typical questions asked during conversations about reparations is how to pay for them. Fabiola talks with economist William “Sandy” Darity and folklorist Kirsten Mullen about how reparations could be executed. The husband-and-wife team lays out a comprehensive framework in their book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, for who would qualify and how the federal government would afford the $14 trillion price tag....


40 Acres: The original promise

Fabiola Cineas talks with Nkechi Taifa, the founder and director of the Reparation Education Project, about the history of the fight for reparations in America. Though they came to the forefront during the 2020 election in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, activists have been fighting for repayment for slavery since the practice was abolished. This is part of 40 Acres, a four-part series examining reparations in the United States. This series was made possible by a grant from the Canopy...


Introducing Land of the Giants: The Netflix Effect

In the new season of Land of the Giants, Recode's Peter Kafka and Rani Molla examine how Netflix has disrupted entertainment and completely changed the way we watch TV. Listen to the first episode and then subscribe to Land of the Giants: The Netflix Effect in your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The Toll

In this bonus, chat episode of The Impact, Jillian is joined by Vox's Matt Yglesias and Course Correction's Nelufar Hedayat to talk about how the data collected on Covid-19 deaths will help shape our world, now and in the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Where the US already has a border wall

Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, are known as “Ambos Nogales” — “both Nogaleses.” The city straddles the border of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. For a long time, a hole-riddled chain-link fence ran along that border. Residents could cross back and forth with ease. But in 1995, the federal government replaced the chain-link fence with a wall. Over time, that wall has been fortified with surveillance towers, more Customs and Border Patrol agents, and drones. President Trump wants to extend...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


How to stop an epidemic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president with a plan to fight the opioid epidemic. Her legislation would dramatically expand access to addiction treatment and overdose prevention, and it would cost $100 billion over 10 years. Addiction experts agree that this is the kind of money the United States needs to fight the opioid crisis. But it’s a really expensive idea, to help a deeply stigmatized population. How would a President Warren get this through Congress? It’s been done before,...


The Impact of 2020

In this season preview, Vox’s Jillian Weinberger calls a fellow native Ohioan to discuss the perils of Swing State pride during presidential elections, and their frustration with the way election coverage casts their home state. Facing yet another presidential election, The Impact is taking a different tack. We're not running around Ohio, asking patrons in diners to name their preferred candidate. We're exploring what all these contenders actually want to do if they're elected. The 2020...


New season, new host

Sarah Kliff returns for a farewell and a handoff to The Impact's new host, Jillian Weinberger, who has a preview of what's to come in our next season. If you're not already, subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Featuring: Sarah Kliff, @sarahkliff Host: Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really...


Denmark’s paternity leave problem

Denmark gives new parents nearly a year off work after they have a baby. Most of that time can be taken by either parent — but dads take barely any time at all. That has consequences for Danish men and women at work and at home. For the final episode of season two, the Impact travels to Denmark to find out why Danish dads are thumbing their nose at paid leave. We also discover a solution in another country, where more dads are enjoying time off with their new babies. We always want to hear...


The incredible shrinking city

For decades, Memphis grew by bringing its suburbs into the city limits. City officials thought this suburb-gobbling policy would be an economic boon-- that it would bring in tax revenue. Instead, the policy was an economic disaster, especially for the majority black neighborhoods in the city's core. In this episode, we’ll tell you about the consequences of Memphis’ sprawl, and the city’s plan to fix its past mistakes. We always want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts and questions at...


Leaving Baltimore behind

Baltimore is running a unique housing experiment that gives longtime residents vouchers to leave the city’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods for new homes in more affluent suburbs nearby. In this episode, we follow a mom named Alethea through this policy experiment. You’ll hear how Baltimore’s segregationist history planted the problems this program is trying to solve, why some participants are really frustrated with the initiative, and how Alethea decides whether to stay — or go. We...


What schools look like when we fund them fairly

All across the country, it seems like a given: places with more expensive houses have nicer schools because they can pay higher taxes. That’s just how education seems to work. Except in Vermont. Two decades ago, the state passed a radical law to equalize education funding. On this episode of the Impact.... we’ll tell you how that law came about. It’s the story of one woman, Carol Brigham, her young daughter, Amanda, and their fight to save the tiny school that is the heart of their small...