The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

New York Times Opinion

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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

Recent Episodes

An Unusually Wonky Conversation With Elizabeth Warren
MAY 7, 2021
An Unusually Wonky Conversation With Elizabeth Warren
One lesson of covering policy over the past 20 years is that whatever Elizabeth Warren is thinking about now is what Washington is going to be talking about next. So when I read Senator Warren’s new book, “Persist,” I read it with an eye toward that question: Where is Warren trying to drive the policy debate next? And two answers emerged. First, toward a truly pro-family progressivism, one that puts children’s well-being and care at the center of the agenda. And second, toward a view of inequality that puts wealth, not income, first, and builds a whole different set of economic priorities atop that analysis. Warren was a policy wonk before she was a politician, and that’s the kind of conversation we had here. We discuss the drivers of the rising costs of child care, the stagnation in women’s labor force participation, whether universal day care discriminates against stay-at-home parents, Warren’s plan for fixing America’s housing crisis, whether billionaires are a policy failure, the distributional effects of canceling $50,000 in student debt, the social philosophy behind Warren’s tax proposals, how markets can be channeled toward progressive ends, the coming technologies that excite Warren, and much more. Book recommendations: Heart of Fire by Mazie Hirono Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi John Rain Book Series by Barry Eisler Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma, Jeff Geld and Annie Galvin; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.
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55 MIN
How to Have Better Conversations About Hard Things
MAY 4, 2021
How to Have Better Conversations About Hard Things
Anna Sale is one of my favorite interviewers. As the host of WNYC Studios’ “Death, Sex and Money,” she has an uncanny ability to get her guests to open up about the most personal, tragic, beautiful and embarrassing parts of their lives, whether it’s childhood trauma, the death of a partner or losing control of one’s limbs. The kinds of conversations Sale has on her show are hard to have in real life. So we rarely have them, even though our relationships and our society and even our politics desperately need them. Thankfully, Sale has written a new book, “Let’s Talk About Hard Things,” which distills the lessons she has learned over the years for the rest of us and offers wisdom for navigating the topics we too often shy away from: death, sex, money, family, identity. We discuss how society has increasingly pushed the responsibility for having these hard conversations onto individuals, what it takes to be a good listener, the common mistakes people make when supporting grieving friends and family members, why it’s especially hard to communicate with our family members, whether it’s necessary to give up our righteousness to preserve our relationships, the social stigma against talking about money, how to navigate tricky discussions about race and gender, and the art of asking open questions. Book recommendations: Death in Mud Lick by Eric Eyre Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Rogé Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.
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63 MIN
How Chuck Schumer Plans to Win Over Trump Voters
APR 30, 2021
How Chuck Schumer Plans to Win Over Trump Voters
In his 100 days address this week, Joe Biden outlined his plans for a big, bold legislative agenda to come. He previewed a two-pronged economic package: the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. He spoke about the need to pass universal background checks for firearms, comprehensive immigration reform, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The success of that agenda hinges on whether 50 Senate Democrats — ranging from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin — can come together and pass legislation. They don’t have a single vote to spare. And the person responsible for making that happens is the New York senator and Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer. Schumer has a theory of politics that he believes can hold or even win Democrats seats in 2022. It’s not a complicated theory: For Democrats to win over middle-of-the-road voters — including those who voted for Donald Trump — they need to prove that government is actually helping them. But to do that, the government needs to actually help those voters, in clear and visible ways. That means passing big, bold legislation. And the institution Schumer leads — the Senate — is the primary obstacle to that happening. So I invited Schumer on the show to talk about how exactly he plans on doing that. How do you win over Trump voters? What kinds of economic policies can help deliver Democrats victory in 2022? How should the party approach topics like race and gender? How will he pass bills, like the For The People Act, that can’t go through budget reconciliation? And, of course, what do you do about the filibuster? Book recommendations: Grant by Ron Chernow Freedom by William Safire The Power Broker by Robert Caro Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.
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45 MIN
Shame, Safety and Moving Beyond Cancel Culture
APR 27, 2021
Shame, Safety and Moving Beyond Cancel Culture
I’ve been thinking lately about how to move beyond the binary debate over cancel culture. And a good place to start is with the deeper question we’re all trying to ask: What is the kind of politics — the kind of society — we’re trying to achieve in our fights over acceptable speech? To talk through this question, I wanted to bring on two guests, both of whom have been canceled — one by the left and one by the right — and have since dedicated parts of their work to grappling with both the good and the bad of the phenomenon. When is cancellation merited or useful? When is it insufficient or harmful? And what other tools are available in those cases? Natalie Wynn runs the YouTube channel ContraPoints. Her videos, on topics ranging from cancel culture to J.K. Rowling, are not only intellectually stimulating and aesthetically rich but also deeply humanizing. What sets Wynn apart is a unique capacity to live inside the heads of those she disagrees with vehemently and bring them into a dialogue with her. Will Wilkinson was the vice president for research at the Niskanen Center. He was fired after a right-wing online mob attacked a clearly satirical tweet he’d sent. Since being canceled, Wilkinson has, surprisingly, become one of the most outspoken critics of the anti-cancel-culture discourse. He now writes the great newsletter Model Citizen, hosts a podcast of the same name and contributes to Times Opinion. The result is a very different kind of cancel culture conversation. We discuss the universal yearning for safe spaces, the psychology of the social media pile-on, the political limits of social shame, the pathways to persuasion and humanization, theories of social change, the virtues of an effective political communicator, how social media shapes the way we act and think online and much, much more. References: "A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture" by Ezra Klein “Canceling” by ContraPoints “J.K. Rowling” by ContraPoints “Undefined Cancel Game” by Will Wilkinson “The Boring Truth vs ‘Cancel Culture’ Panic” by Will Wilkinson Recommendations: Conflict is Not Abuse by Sarah Schulman The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan If you enjoyed this show, you should check out The Argument's recent episode: "Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?" Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; edited by Jeff Geld.
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61 MIN
Noam Chomsky’s Theory of the Good Life
APR 23, 2021
Noam Chomsky’s Theory of the Good Life
How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — writing books, giving interviews, changing minds. There are different sides to Chomsky. He’s a world-renowned linguist who revolutionized his field. He’s a political theorist who’s been a sharp critic of American foreign policy for decades. He’s an anarchist who believes in a radically different way of ordering society. He’s a pragmatist who pushed leftists to vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and has described himself as having a “rather conservative attitude towards social change.” He is, very much, himself. The problem in planning a conversation with Chomsky is how to get at all these different sides. So this one covers a lot of ground. We discuss: Why Chomsky is an anarchist, and how he defines anarchism How his work on language informs his idea of what human beings want The role of advertising in capitalism Whether we should understand job contracts as the free market at work or a form of constant coercion How Chomsky’s ideal vision of society differs from Nordic social democracy How Chomsky’s class-based theory of politics holds up in an era where college-educated suburbanites are moving left on economics Chomsky’s view of the climate crisis and why he thinks the “degrowth” movement is misguided Whether job automation could actually be a good thing for human flourishing Chomsky’s views on US-China policy, and why he doesn’t think China is a major geopolitical threat The likelihood of nuclear war in the next decade And much more. References: On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal by Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin “Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance” by Erik Loomis “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” by Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards “This is What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with Productivity” by Dean Baker “There is no Plan B for dealing with the climate crisis” by Raymond Pierrehumbert Book recommendations: The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten Selected essays by Ahad Ha'am Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; edited by Jeff Geld.
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72 MIN