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In this hour, austerity budgets are all the rage, from State Capitols to the Halls of Congress. But austerity is a choice, and some question if it's a good one. Mark Blyth, a political economist at Brown University, is the author of a forthcoming book called Austerity – the History of a Dangerous Idea. He tells Jim Fleming that austerity's appeal is superficial. Around the country Governors of both parties are balancing their state budgets by making public sector employees pay more. Why?
Next, that's the question Steve Paulson asks of Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institue and the autyhor of Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer.
Then, the rich are getting rich and the gap between the rich and poor in America is getting wider. Fifty years ago the gap wasn't all that big, but in the 1970s it began to grown. There's a new documentary film about the origins of today's budget crisis called The Flaw. One of it's backers is economic historian Louis Hyman, also the author of a book called Debtor Nation. He tells Anne Strainchamps that inequality is the driving force behind the change in America's economic structure.
After that, Diane Ravitch was Assistant Secretary of Education under George Bush Sr. And a strong proponent of charter schools and the No Child Left Behind program. She has a new book called The Death and Life of the Great American School System which reflects a change of mind. She tells Steve Paulson there's a political agenda behind all the recent school cuts.
And finally, NY Times commentator David Brooks has a particular interest in education reform, which he's been following for decades. He tells Steve Paulson the old ways of schools need to change. [Broadcast Date: March 23, 2011]