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March 6, 2018

March 6, 2018

The Banking Lobby’s Successful Rollback of Reforms That Followed the 2008 Crash
West Virginia’s Teachers Take on a Corrupt and Indifferent State Government
Fighting Back Against the Global War on Democracy
Program Notes

We begin with the Senate rolling back banking reforms instituted after the 2008 Wall Street crash in what Senator Elizabeth Warren called “a dangerous, wrong bill” which the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put forward as a way to distract from the Senate’s total lack of activity on dealing meaningfully with the pressing issue of gun violence. Mike Konczal, a Fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times“Why Are Democrats Helping Trump Dismantle Dodd-Frank?” and assess whether the moderate Democrats who voted with the Republicans on a bill dubbed “The Bank Lobbyist Act” which claims to be helping small banks while removing restrictions on the big banks, will be rewarded by their constituents for doing the bidding of Wall Street and not standing up for Main Street. In spite of Senator Warren’s efforts, the vote today to deregulate banks passed 67 to 32, ignoring her warning that the bill will make the American taxpayer take all the risk if banks fail again while all the profits will be going to giant banks.

Then we look into the wildcat strike by low-paid teachers in West Virginia who are deeply distrustful of the governor and the legislature after a deal offering a 4% raise went nowhere and a new deal offering 5% is in the offering although it is supposed to be offset by other budget cuts yet to be announced. Anne Marie Lofaso, a Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law who spent 10 years as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board’s Appellate and Supreme Court Branches, joins us to discuss the low priority given to public employees in a state that has a budget shortfall because it lavishes tax cuts on the wealthy while giving big breaks to coal and oil industries.

Then finally we speak with Yascha Mounk, a Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department who is the author of a new book, just out, “The People Versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It”. He joins us to discuss the latest in the global retreat of democratic values, this time in Italy where far-right anti-immigrant parties made gains. We will examine the growth of illiberal regimes around the world and what steps can be taken to reverse this alarming trend which the head of the world’s most powerful democracy is encouraging rather that reversing, as Trump congratulates China’s leader for declaring himself dictator for life.

Mike Konczal | Anne Marie Lofaso | Yascha Mounk