Background Briefing: April 29, 2021


Biden Lays Out A Social Democratic Manifesto That Harkens to LBJ’s “Great Society” and FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”

We begin with an assessment of President Biden’s speech last night before a joint session of Congress in which he laid out a bold and ambitious agenda which is aimed at reversing America’s drift towards plutocracy as he promised to restore opportunity to working and middle class Americans. Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large for The American Prospect where his latest article is “Bidenism’s One-Two Punch“, joins us to discuss how Biden laid out what amounts to a social democratic manifesto which harkens back to LBJ’s “Great Society” and FDR’s 1944 address to congress in which he outlined a second Bill of Rights. We examine how successful Biden could be working around the obstruction of House and Senate Republicans as he reached out to Republican voters last night, many of whom would benefit greatly from the programs he is proposing. We also discuss the importance of getting HR 1 passed because with gerrymandering and voter suppression underway, the Republicans are already rigging the next election.


Only the American People, Not Politicians, Can End Partisanship

Then we speak with John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center who worked in the House for 38 years and was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff. The author of The Class of ’74: Congress after Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship, he joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times, “You Don’t Actually Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. Biden.”


While Billionaires Are Richer Than Ever, Average Americans Dream of Winning the Lottery

Then finally we speak with Michael Mechanic, a senior editor at Mother Jones and the author of a new book, just out, Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live — and How Their Wealth Harms Us All. He joins us to discuss Biden’s attempt to reverse the new Gilded Age we are living in in which billionaires have made extra trillions during the pandemic while ordinary Americans are suffering, and while many dream of winning the lottery, the lives of the super-rich are not necessarily that enviable.