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*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. *** 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 jus ...
 
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Since 2021, Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency, and they’ve used that power to pass consequential legislation, from the American Rescue Plan to the Inflation Reduction Act. That state of affairs was exceptional: In the 50 years between 1970 and 2020, the U.S. House, Senate and presidency were only under unified party…
 
Republicans already hold tremendous power in America. They have appointed six of the nine current Supreme Court justices. They have more state trifectas (control of both legislative houses, as well as the governor’s seat) than Democrats. And come 2023, they will also control the House of Representatives. But there’s a hollowness at the core of the …
 
About 50 years ago, beef cost more than $7 a pound in today’s dollars. Today, despite high inflation, beef is down to about $4.80 a pound, and chicken is just around $1.80 a pound. But those low prices hide the true costs of the meat we consume — costs that the meat and poultry industries have quietly offloaded onto not only the animals we consume …
 
Every day, we consume a mind-boggling amount of information. We scan online news articles, sift through text messages and emails, scroll through our social-media feeds — and that’s usually before we even get out of bed in the morning. In 2009, a team of researchers found that the average American consumed about 34 gigabytes of information a day. Un…
 
The fight against climate change is at a crossroads. This past year, the climate movement in the United States achieved significant success. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. More than a dozen states have taken some form of climate action in 2022 alone. Earli…
 
The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections are still trickling in, but the broader story is clear: The red wave that many anticipated never materialized. Republicans gained 54 House seats against Bill Clinton in 1994 and 63 seats against Barack Obama in 2010. It doesn’t look as though the G.O.P. will secure anything close to that in 2022, and Democ…
 
George Saunders is regarded as one of our greatest living fiction writers. He won the Booker Prize in 2017 for his novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” and has published numerous short-story collections to wide acclaim, including his most recent book, “Liberation Day.” He also happens to be one of my favorite people to read and to talk to. Saunders is an i…
 
“One can usually pretend that there is a logic to the distribution of wealth — that behind a person’s prosperity lies some rational basis, whether it is that person’s hard work, skill and farsightedness or some ancestor’s,” writes J. Bradford DeLong. “Inflation — even moderate inflation — strips the mask.” DeLong is an economic historian at the Uni…
 
As we approach the 2022 midterms, the outlook for American democracy doesn’t appear promising. An increasingly Trumpist, anti-democratic Republican Party is poised to take over at least one chamber of Congress. And the Democratic Party, facing an inflationary economy and with an unpopular president in office, looks helpless to stop them. But the Un…
 
How does the popularity of a president’s policies impact his or her party’s electoral chances? Why have Latinos — and other voters of color — swung toward the Republican Party in recent years? How does the state of the economy influence how people vote, and which economic metrics in particular matter most? We can’t answer those questions yet for 20…
 
​​“What would you do for your relevance?” the political journalist Mark Leibovich asks in his new book, “Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission.” “How badly did you want into the clubhouse, no matter how wretched it became inside?” For Leibovich, you can’t truly understand the current Republican Party wi…
 
According to the conventional rules of politics, Democrats should be on track for electoral disaster this November. Joe Biden’s approval rating is stuck around 42 percent, inflation is still sky-high and midterms usually swing against the incumbent president’s party — a recipe for the kind of political wipeouts we saw in 2018, 2010 and 1994. But th…
 
N.K. Jemisin is a fantasy and science-fiction writer who won three consecutive Hugo Awards — considered the highest honor in science-fiction writing — for her “Broken Earth” trilogy; she has since won two more Hugos, as well as other awards. But in imagining wild fictional narratives, the beloved sci-fi and fantasy writer has also cultivated a rema…
 
“The Rachel Maddow Show” debuted in the interregnum between political eras. Before it lay the 9/11 era and the George W. Bush presidency. Days after the show launched in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and a few weeks later Barack Obama was elected president. And then history just kept speeding up. The Tea Party. The debt ceiling debacles. Donald …
 
Today we’re bringing you an episode from the recently launched New York Times podcast, Hard Fork. Hosted by veteran tech journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton, Hard Fork is a rigorous and fun exploration of Silicon Valley’s already-emerging future — and its evolving imprint on the rest of the world. In this episode, Kevin and Casey discuss Elon …
 
“There are moments when history making creeps up on you,” writes the economic historian Adam Tooze. “This is one of those moments.” Countries across the world are raising interest rates at unprecedented speeds. That global monetary tightening is colliding with spiking food and energy prices, financial market instability, high levels of emerging mar…
 
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in five adults in America lives with a mental illness. And we have plenty of evidence — from suicide rates to the percentage of Americans on psychopharmaceuticals — that our collective mental health is getting worse. But beyond mental health diagnoses lies a whole, complicated landsc…
 
When most people hear “crypto,” the first thing they think of is “currencies.” Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. And they’ve given rise to an entire ecosystem of financial speculation, get rich quick schemes, and in some cases outright fraud. But there’s another side of crypto that gets less attention: the seg…
 
Why do some countries produce far more science Nobel laureates than others? Why did Silicon Valley happen in California rather than Japan or Boston? Why did the Industrial Revolution happen when it did and where it did? These are just some of the questions that have inspired the formation of a new intellectual movement called “progress studies.” Th…
 
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the question most analysts were asking was not whether Russia would win. It was how fast. On almost every quantifiable metric from military strength to economic size Russia has decisive advantages over Ukraine. A swift Russian victory appeared inevitable. Of course, that swift victory didn’t happen. And in r…
 
In August, Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $392 billion towards a new climate budget — the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. The CHIPS and Science Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act bring that number up to around $450 billion. All of that spending is designed with one majo…
 
In the past few months, Joe Biden’s agenda has gone from a failed promise to real legislation. Taken together, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (along with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act) have the potential to put America on a path to decarbonization, develop some of the most advanced and crucial supply chains in the wor…
 
“We see status virtually everywhere in social life, if we think to look for it,” writes Cecilia Ridgeway. “It suffuses everyday possessions, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the food brands we prefer, and the music we listen to.” And that’s only a partial list. Status influences the neighborhood we live in, the occupation we pursue, the frie…
 
Today we’re bringing you a special episode from New York Times Opinion: a roundtable, hosted by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, about how parents view the role of school. America’s schools have emerged as a battleground for the country’s most fervent cultural disagreements, and in many places, parents are finding themselves on the front lines. Three parents o…
 
When is the last time you paused — truly paused the flow of life — to appreciate something beautiful? For as long as we know, humans have sought out beauty, believing deeply that beautiful things and experiences can enhance our lives. But what does beauty really do to us? How can it fundamentally alter our experience of the world? Beauty is always …
 
Today we're revisiting one of our favorite conversations from 2021 with the novelist Richard Powers. Enjoy! There are certain conversations I fear trying to fit into a description. There’s just more to them than I’m going to be able to convey. This is one of them. Richard Powers is the author of 13 novels, including the 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning …
 
In times of deep sorrow or joy, humans have always turned to music. Archaeologists have found evidence of instruments among very early civilizations. Spiritual communities have centered on music for centuries. We teach our children their ABCs and how to brush their teeth with songs. We dance out our feelings and cry along with sad tunes. What is it…
 
Today we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes from this year, with the prolific writer Margaret Atwood. A good rule of thumb is that whatever Margaret Atwood is worried about now is likely what the rest of us will be worried about a decade from now. The rise of authoritarianism. A backlash against women’s social progress. The seductions and d…
 
With Roe now overturned, the evangelical movement has achieved one of its decades-old political priorities. But for many evangelicals, this isn’t the moment of celebration and unity it may have first appeared to be. In the wake of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Russell Moore — a former president of the Ethics & Religi…
 
Today, we’re re-airing one of my favorite episodes of all time. It was originally recorded in February of 2022, but I've been unable to stop thinking about it ever since. When we play Monopoly or basketball, we know we are playing a game. The stakes are low. The rules are silly. The point system is arbitrary. But what if life is full of games — one…
 
Over the past year, many places have returned to something approximating a prepandemic normal. Restaurants are filling up again. Airports and hotels are packed. Even movie theaters have made a comeback. But that hasn’t been the case for the office. Only about a third of office workers are back in the office full time. And that isn’t likely to chang…
 
In his latest work, “The Last White Man,” the award-winning writer Mohsin Hamid imagines a world that is very like our own, with one major exception: On various days, white people wake up to discover that their skin is no longer white. It’s a heavy premise, but one of Hamid’s unique talents as a novelist is his ability to take on the most difficult…
 
Today’s show is built around three simple sentences: “Future people count. There could be a lot of them. And we can make their lives better.” Those sentences form the foundation of an ethical framework known as “longtermism.” They might sound obvious, but to take them seriously is a truly radical endeavor — one with the power to change the world an…
 
It’s hard to think of anything changing more quickly in our society right now than our understanding of gender. There’s an explosion of young people identifying as gender nonconforming in some way or another, and others are coming out as transgender or nonbinary throughout their lives, from childhood to old age. But this sea change has brought with…
 
Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument, about cultural appropriation in creative work. In recent years, book written by white authors like “American Dirt” and “The Help" have been criticized for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong? To …
 
Today we're taking a short break and re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from 2022, a conversation with the novelist and Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki. We'll be back with new episodes next week! The world has gotten louder, even when we’re alone. A day spent in isolation can still mean a day buffeted by the voices on social media and the news, o…
 
“At the very heart of democracy is a contradiction that cannot be resolved, one that has affected free societies from ancient Greece to contemporary America,” write Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing in their new book, “The Paradox of Democracy.” In order to live up to its name, democracy must be open to free communication and expression; yet that very …
 
There’s a paradox that sits at the center of our mental health conversation in America. On the one hand, our treatments for mental illness have gotten better and better in recent decades. Psychopharmaceuticals have improved considerably; new, more effective methods of psychotherapy have been developed; and we’ve reached a better understanding of wh…
 
America is experiencing a housing crisis — or, more accurately, multiple housing crises. A massive housing shortage in major cities has resulted in skyrocketing rents. Low- and middle-income individuals find themselves priced out of the places with the most opportunity. Homelessness is rampant in cities across the country. Developers often face the…
 
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the great living science fiction writers and one of the most astute observers of how planets look, feel and work. His Mars Trilogy imagined what it might be like for humans to settle on the red planet. His best-selling novel “The Ministry for the Future” is a masterful effort at envisioning what might happen to Earth …
 
Today, we're bringing you an episode from the recently launched New York Times Opinion podcast, “First Person,” hosted by Lulu Garcia-Navarro. In each episode, Lulu sits down with people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world. This particular episode is about one gay U…
 
“It’s true: We’re in trouble,” writes Michelle Goldberg of the modern feminist movement. “One thing backlashes do is transform a culture’s common sense and horizons of possibility. A backlash isn’t just a political formation. It’s also a new structure of feeling that makes utopian social projects seem ridiculous.” It wouldn’t be fair to blame the S…
 
For decades now, the conservative legal movement has been on a mission to remake this nation’s laws from the bench. And it’s working. On Friday we released an episode with the legal scholar Kate Shaw that walked through case after case showing how conservative Supreme Court majorities have lurched this country’s laws to the right on guns, voting, g…
 
In the past few weeks alone, the Supreme Court has delivered a firestorm of conservative legal victories. States now have far less leeway to restrict gun permits. The right to abortion is no longer constitutionally protected. The Environmental Protection Agency has been kneecapped in its ability to regulate carbon emissions, and by extension, all e…
 
On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Sunday, we released an episode with Dahlia Lithwick that goes through the court’s decision in detail, and we will continue to come out with new episodes on the ruling — and its vast implications — in the days and weeks to come. Today, we’re re-airing an episode that we originally…
 
On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Nearly all abortions are already banned in at least nine states, home to 7.2 million women of reproductive age. And it is likely that other bans and restrictions will follow. As the court’s three liberal justices put it in their dissenting opinion, “One result of today’s decision is…
 
The Jan. 6 hearings have made it clear that Donald Trump led a concerted, monthslong effort to overturn a democratic election. The extensive interviews — over 1,000 — that the House select committee conducted prove that Trump was told there was no evidence of election fraud, but he pressed his anti-democratic case regardless. And it appears that th…
 
Depending on the data you look at, between 10 and 40 percent of people who get Covid will still have symptoms months later. For some, those symptoms will be modest. A cough, some fatigue. For others, they’ll be life-altering: Debilitating brain fog. Exhaustion. Cardiovascular problems. Blood clotting. This is what we call long Covid. It’s one term …
 
This week, the S&P 500 entered what analysts refer to as a bear market. The index has plunged around 22 percent from its most recent peak in January. Many growth stocks and crypto assets have crashed double or triple that amount. New home sales declined 17 percent in April, causing some analysts to argue that the housing market has peaked. And, in …
 
It’s that time of year, when we invite listeners to send in questions, and I answer them on the air. And as usual, you delivered. I’m joined by my producer Annie Galvin, who asks me some of the most intriguing questions of the many we received: Is climate change a reason to forgo having kids? What would happen if Trump were allowed to return to Twi…
 
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