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The Weeds

Vox Media

In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday and Friday, Dylan Matthews, Jerusalem Demsas, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday and Friday, Dylan Matthews, Jerusalem Demsas, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Vox Media

Description:

In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday and Friday, Dylan Matthews, Jerusalem Demsas, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Language:

English


Episodes

How the 1918 flu pandemic ended

1/14/2022
Dylan talks to John M. Barry, distinguished scholar at Tulane University and author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, about the Spanish flu of 1918-1919, its parallels to Covid-19, and what that pandemic’s end tells us about how this one might end. References: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer and engineer Libby Nelson,...

Duration:00:35:36

The case for more babies

1/11/2022
Dylan, Jerusalem, and special guest Bryan Walsh discuss the slowing population growth in America, and what a smaller-than-expected America could mean. They also talk about which immigration and child care policies could speed up population growth. Finally, they discuss a paper on why Europe is so much more equal than America. References: The Great Population Slowdown How immigration could reverse population decline The rise of childlessness The climate case that it’s okay to have kids The...

Duration:00:54:22

The building blocks of radicalization

1/7/2022
How does someone get radicalized? What do political scientists see as the building blocks of political violence? Is there anything we can do to stop radicalization? One year after the insurrection on January 6, 2021, Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas talks with Peter Neumann, a professor of security studies at King’s College in London, to answer these questions. References: Vox’s Zack Beauchamp on where the crisis in American democracy might be headed Peter Neumann’s paper: The trouble...

Duration:00:58:09

Why hasn’t student debt been canceled?

1/4/2022
Dylan and Dara are joined by Vox’s Libby Nelson to talk about the policy merits and political implications of plans to cancel some or all student loans. They also discuss whether President Joe Biden has the power to cancel student debt unilaterally. And, Vox’s Jerusalem Demsas joins Dylan and Dara for a white paper about prisoners of war and genetics. References: Brookings Institution’s Andre Perry on why student loan forgiveness isn't regressive How canceling student debt helps...

Duration:00:55:38

Best Of: The coming climate exodus

12/28/2021
Vox senior reporter Rebecca Leber (@rbleber) joins The Weeds to explain the problem of migration caused by climate change, such as that due to wildfires, rising seas, and crop failures. She explains how a warming planet is forcing people to move both in the US and internationally, and how policymakers are and aren’t adapting. Vox reporters Dylan Matthews and Jerusalem Demsas continue the conversation with ProPublica’s Dara Lind, discussing a new white paper arguing that social mobility in...

Duration:01:00:47

America’s Public Health Experiment: Federal failures

12/21/2021
In the final episode of our series, America’s Public Health Experiment, Dylan, Dara, and Jerusalem discuss how the CDC and the FDA failed the American public in the early months of the pandemic. Plus, a white paper about excess deaths in the first year of Covid-19. References: How the experts botched masking advice Zeynep Tufekci on the case for masks (in March 2020) Inside the Fall of the CDC Can the CDC be fixed? How the CDC failed to detect Covid early Scott Gottlieb on CDC versus FDA...

Duration:00:58:49

America's Public Health Experiment: More checks, less politics

12/17/2021
In the penultimate episode of our series America’s Public Health Experiment, Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas talks to Arnab Datta, senior counsel at Employ America, about automatic stabilizers: what they are and how they could help during a crisis that affects the economy, such as a global pandemic. References: Vox's Emily Stewart on Democrats abandoning automatic stabilizers Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy Structuring Federal Aid To States As An...

Duration:00:54:45

Can school be normal again?

12/14/2021
Dylan and Jerusalem are joined by Vox Policy Editor Libby Nelson to talk about the current state of Covid-19 and schools. They discuss vaccine mandates, rapid testing – or a lack thereof – and teacher burnout. Plus, a white paper about college majors and GPA requirements. References: Why schools weren’t “back to normal” this year The pandemic caused huge levels of learning loss, especially in districts with less in-person schooling, and especially in poor countries Can pandemics affect...

Duration:01:01:44

America’s Public Health Experiment: The agencies Covid broke

12/10/2021
In the second episode of our series, America’s Public Health Experiment, Weeds co-host Dara Lind looks at two government agencies that went from quietly to loudly broken during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dara is joined by the Washington Post’s Jacob Bogage (@jacobbogage) and Jeremy McKinney (@McKJeremy) from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Host: Dara Lind (@dlind), immigration reporter, ProPublica Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer & engineer Libby Nelson, editorial adviser Amber...

Duration:01:05:52

Learning to love rent control

12/7/2021
Dara and Dylan talk to Jerusalem about her new article defending rent control laws. The three discuss the policy impacts of rent limits and the politics driving their adoption in large American cities. Finally, they discuss a new paper on declining fertility in 18th-century France. References: Jerusalem’s case for rent control A poll of leading economists, who almost all oppose rent control Economist Rebecca Diamond on the effects of rent control Manhattan Institute fellow Michael Hendrix’s...

Duration:01:01:00

America’s Public Health Experiment: The testing failure

12/3/2021
German talks with Dr. Neeraj Sood, director of the Covid Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, about the US’s many failures on Covid-19 testing. They dive into the country’s original mistakes, then go into how lack of testing continues to plague America’s pandemic response. They conclude with what this means not just for the current pandemic but for future public health crises, too. Host: German Lopez (@germanrlopez), senior...

Duration:00:40:56

Defund the police?

11/30/2021
German, Jerusalem, and Dylan talk about an idea that has come to dominate national discussions of policing: defunding the police. They walk through the pros and cons of the idea as a policy proposal, then discuss how it’s affecting the politics of criminal justice. Finally, they discuss new research on discrimination against Black and Latinx renters. References: German’s article on police research German’s article on guns and policing Austin’s defunding journey Study finding more police mean...

Duration:00:59:26

Biden’s $3.40 a gallon problem

11/23/2021
Dylan, Jerusalem, and Dara talk about the specific kind of inflation that’s roiling American politics: the heightened price of gas. They discuss how and why gas prices have shot up in recent months, and what it means for Joe Biden’s popularity and presidency. Plus, a white paper about the most important labor market of all: the global market for soccer (excuse me, football) players. References: Biden’s strongly worded letter on gas prices Biden is tapping the strategic petroleum reserve...

Duration:00:49:46

Taxing Back Better

11/19/2021
Dylan talks to Chye-Ching Huang, the executive director of the Tax Law Center at NYU Law, about the many, many, many tax provisions in Democrats’ Build Back Better package. First they dive into the new tax benefits in the bill, from the expanded child tax credit to the $7,500 credit for electric cars. Then they talk about how the bill raises money through taxes, especially through higher taxes on high-income people and corporations. Then they talk about the future of taxes, like what will...

Duration:00:50:02

How does the pandemic end?

11/16/2021
Now that nearly 60 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated, Dylan, German, and Jerusalem discuss potential exit strategies for policies such as mask mandates and mandatory quarantines. They also talk about what an “endemic” Covid might be like in the US and which aspects of pandemic life might stick around. Finally, they discuss how better access to mental health care could affect crime. References: Mandate the vaccines, not masks The case for ending school mask mandates at the end...

Duration:01:00:44

Reshaping America’s cities

11/12/2021
Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas talks with the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) about how the future of remote work could reshape America’s cities, upend US labor markets, and cause fundamental shifts in where people live. Derek and Jerusalem discuss how it would take only a small percentage of remote workers to impact the urban geography of the US — with complicated implications for electoral politics and the climate. References: Jerusalem's Q&A with housing economist Enrico...

Duration:00:59:02

Pass the SALT?

11/9/2021
Dylan, Jerusalem, and Dara discuss congressional Democrats’ efforts to uncap the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, and how the party found itself proposing a massive tax cut for high-income households. They also dive into the deduction’s stated purpose (encouraging states to spend on social programs) and talk about other programs that could encourage states to invest in health and education. Finally, they examine a white paper showing that domestic violence crimes didn’t increase during...

Duration:01:07:01

The Most Dangerous Branch: Covid-19 v. The Constitution

11/5/2021
Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser talks to law professor Nicholas Bagley about the pandemic — and how the courts are undermining the government's ability to respond to emergencies. They discuss the constitutionality of vaccine mandates, religious exemptions to public health laws, and court decisions undermining the power of public health agencies. References: Delegation at the Founding (Columbia Law Review) The Supreme Court’s coming war with Joe Biden, explained Religious conservatives...

Duration:00:57:16

Is Facebook really that bad?

11/2/2021
Dylan, German, and Dara talk about Facebook and the controversy surrounding it in recent weeks. They cover just how much — and how little — we know about Facebook’s impact on the world and talk about whether there are good policy solutions to Facebook’s problems. For the white paper of the week, they break down a study on free school lunch programs. References: The Wall Street Journal’s reporting on how Facebook’s efforts to improve the platform backfired The Washington Post’s reporting on...

Duration:00:53:46

Housing policy, but make it British

10/29/2021
America’s housing market is failing to meet the needs of most Americans. Rents have skyrocketed, homeownership is slipping out of grasp for young and other first-time homebuyers, and policymakers have struggled to meet the moment. But we’re not alone. The UK is also facing a dire housing shortage, one that is leading to skyrocketing rents and home prices. Usually, the solution to this problem is pushing higher levels of government to step in where local government has failed, but today’s...

Duration:00:42:57