Uncommon Knowledge — audio edition
About This Show
Updated every two weeks, the Uncommon Knowledge podcast brings you fascinating discussions with today's biggest thinkers. View full episodes at http://www.hoover.org/uk Also check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UncKnowledge.
Most Recent Episode
The High Cost of Good Intentions Featuring John Cogan
7 days ago
Recorded on October 24, 2017
How old are entitlement programs in the United States? Entitlement programs are as old as the Republic, according to John Cogan, former deputy director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a Hoover Institution senior fellow. Cogan joins Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, The High Cost of Good Intentions,on the necessity for entitlement reform in the United States.
Currently there are a bevy of entitlement programs in the United States, each costing a large percentage of the federal budget each year. These programs are open-ended and hard to estimate into the budget because people with the average number of benefits vary greatly from year to year. These programs have become complex and bloated over the many years since they’ve been instated and are in dire need of reform.
According to John Cogan, entitlement programs such as pensions, Medicaid, and Social Security have been a part of US history since the Revolutionary War when Congress first created pensions for all the soldiers who had served the Republic during the war. Congress then went on to expand entitlement programs after the Civil War to include soldiers who had fought in the war. Entitlements remained restricted to only those who had served the Republic until the New Deal when entitlements were extended to all citizens above a certain age (Social Security). This was the first time that entitlements were given to citizens who had not served. This was also the first time that entitlements were granted to everyone until the end of time. Lyndon Johnson in 1972 with the Great Society expanded entitlement programs to include Medicare and the provision of welfare for the poor.
• Blueprint for America: Entitlements and the Budget
• Pension Pursuit
• The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of US Federal Entitlement Programs
• America the Fixer Upper
• Finding the Money for America the Fixer Upper
About John Cogan
John Cogan is the Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a faculty member in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University.
Cogan is an expert in domestic policy. His current research is focused on US budget and fiscal policy, federal entitlement programs, and health care. He has published widely in professional journals in both economics and political science. His latest book, The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of US Federal Entitlement
Rated 5 out of
Peter Robinson does a great job as an interviewer. He's always done his homework and you can always know he'll help you learn about the subject. He seeks truth, not gotcha moments.
Date published: 2014-02-04
Rated 5 out of
Best production podcasts ever
Informative, accurate, and thoughtful comments on current events. Nice to hear a carefully considered point of view.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 4 out of
Reliably Informative and Engaging
Peter Robinson and his trademarked "Last Question" always make for interesting interviews. He knows how to stay out of responses, letting guests make answer questions at length, but he also knows when to steer guests back to the original topic for discussion. His best interviews are normally with Thomas Sowell, though I loved the one he did with Harvey Mansfield. For the unaware, Sowell and Mansfield are famous conservative academics. The show features a strongly conservative focus, normally featuring the best the American right has to offer.
Perhaps one issue with Robinson, however, is that he is a bit too deferential with his guests. While I certainly would not enjoy him tearing into guests--there's enough of that on the 24 Hour Cable News networks--I would like him to press harder when a guest makes a questionable assumption. Also, the variety of guests could be wider. Robinson too often pulls out of the Hoover Institute, where he and the show are located. The effect is something of a public relations wing for the HI, though you have to follow the show closely to notice.
For those who do not know, Robinson is somewhat infamous for posing his "last question" five or six times before he is really finished. By this, I do not mean he poses the same question so many times but that he discovers his last question opened up a new question he simply has to ask. If you aren't keeping track of the time passing while listening to the podcast, you know you have about ten or twenty minutes left (out of forty to fifty) when Robinson first says he's asking his "last question."
Date published: 2013-12-10