Uncommon Knowledge
Making Congress and America Work Again

Making Congress and America Work Again

June 28, 2017

Recorded on June 10, 2017 Senator Rob Portman sits down with Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson to talk about the threats and problems related to Russia's meddling in democratic elections in the United States and around the world. Portman then discusses the complex process of health care reform, noting that the process has been difficult because health care is a complex issue that needs to be handled correctly. In the conversation about health care reform, Portman says that the number-one cause of death in Ohio is opioid overdose and that Medicaid plays an important role in getting addicts the help they need so they don’t end up in jail or in the emergency room. Along with health care, the Senate will take up tax reform; Portman believes this is the most important reform that the Congress and the president can make to help the economy grow. Portman also touches on wages and jobs and helping those who are struggling to make ends meet. Finally, Portman reflects on the fraying of the American fabric and what can get us back to the concepts, values, ideas, and ideals that made the United States one of the most successful and longest-running democracies and a beacon of hope for the world. (Playing time: 40:44)

The Budget Crisis in the Land of Lincoln

The Budget Crisis in the Land of Lincoln

June 23, 2017

Recorded on June 10, 2017 The forty-second governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, joins Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge to discuss Illinois’s budget crisis. With the end of the fiscal year deadline (June 30) looming ever closer Governor Rauner and House majority Democrats will have to come to an agreement to get the budget passed and prevent Illinois’s bond rating from being downgraded to junk, causing Illinois to lose investment-grade status. Peter Robinson and Governor Rauner discuss this financial crisis and Rauner’s goals for the budget. He insists that no budget will be passed unless it is a balanced budget that includes, but is not limited to, term limits, consolidating the government, and pension reform. Governor Rauner talks about why he chose to enter politics after a successful business career and how he plans on fixing the state that is his home. He details out how Illinois has historically dealt with thirty-five years of deficits and how it ended up in the current financial mess. He also discusses the difficult opposition he's facing with a Democrat-controlled state legislature. The GOP governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature have reached an impasse several times during his tenure as governor, as he refuses to pass a budget that will increase the deficit further than in 2015 and 2016. Background on the Illinois Budget Crisis: Illinois has been operating without a budget for two years now, as the state legislature has been unable to pass a budget up that will not increase the deficit and also satisfy the requirements of Governor Rauner. The Illinois legislature has managed to keep the state running through temporary stopgap measures, but as the state’s debts continue to rise to more than $150 billion, stopgap measures and the lack of budget will no longer be able to keep the state running. Illinois has been plagued with financial issues during the last several years, even being unable to provide lottery winners with their winnings. The state has been running a deficit for thirty-five years now. If a new budget isn’t passed by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, the Illinois bond rating will be downgraded even more than it already has, and Illinois stands to lose millions of dollars in federal funding. To pass a new budget, the plan will have to be passed by a three-fifths majority vote in the Illinois House. As it stands, if Illinois’s bond rating is downgraded, Illinois will be the first state since 1970 to lose investment-grade status. (Playing time: 30:14)

The Vanishing American Adult

The Vanishing American Adult

June 12, 2017

Recorded on June 2, 2017 Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of prolonged adolescence. Senator Sasse argues that children are growing up, entering adolescence, and becoming stuck in the transitional stage to adulthood as they fail to become financially independent from their parents. He argues that because this generation of children is growing up during a time of relative peace and prosperity, it has allowed millennials to grow up without the issues of previous generations that were raised in war time. In this era of consumption and material surplus, he argues that adolescents are leading age-segregated lives and not developing a work ethic and that both their parents have an obligation to teach their children to grow up. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of intergenerational learning by allowing children to be raised around their grandparents and other adults to help them learn that the trivial trials of youth don’t matter in the long run. Senator Sasse believes that there are certain virtues that American children have to learn to become productive and happy adults. Part of that is by teaching children the distinction between production and consumption and how to find happiness and self-worth through jobs that make one feel like a necessary part of the company/society. This, he argues, will help raise peoples’ self-worth and lead them to happiness and fulfillment in their everyday. Senator Sasse finishes by stressing the importance of building children’s identities as readers to help foster the growth of ideas and active learning over the passive activities of sitting in front of screens. He notes that sedentary life is not fulfilling and that by encouraging people to participate in production over consumption will lead to more fulfilling lives. He ends on the optimistic note, that while our youth may still need guidance, overall America’s best days still lie ahead. (Playing time: 38:10)

Area 45: The Art of Presidential Wordsmithery Featuring Peter Robinson

Area 45: The Art of Presidential Wordsmithery Featuring Peter Robinson

June 6, 2017

Today, we’re introducing Area 45, a new political podcast from the team behind Uncommon Knowledge, The Classicist, and the Libertarian. Host Bill Whalen interviews Uncommon Knowledge’s host, Peter Robinson about presidential communication in this age of shock tweets and nonstop news cycles. Presidents are defined by rhetorical moments: Reagan and Kennedy at the Berlin Wall; George W. Bush rallying the nation after the 9/11 attacks. And Donald Trump? So far his presidency hasn’t been one of major addresses. Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, author of Reagan’s famous speech at the Brandenberg Gate, discusses the art of presidential wordsmithery in this age of social media and nonstop news cycles. New episodes of Area 45 are released each week. Subscribe now on iTunes, SoundCloud, or via RSS on your favorite podcast platform. (Playing time: 55:32)

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