Kansas, Nick Kristof, President Trump discussed on The Axe Files with David Axelrod
The status quo is what led us down. There is definitely that attitude. I mean for instance. They'll say you say. President trump is corrupt. I mean he's actually monetize the president. Oh they all do that. They do feel that but then when it is such a large problem then they start to focus on issues that they care very much about so for instance will one person. I like my guns. I don't want I don't want anybody who really wants to take away my guns and another one said know. I don't like immigrants and so that's really contain issue that they can deal with and it's it's the issue they'll vote on and the other woman who it's very hard to explain. But she is a pastor. She's really a very down to Earth. Person upstanding person in her community but she said. I vote for trump because I think he represents family values because he he he. He's up on. Tv's got his beautiful family there. And so I think that you know He. Projects varies accessible. What projecting this image. And it's something that really strikes and he's been embraced around issues like judges abortion by evangelical community. Which is his strongest core of support? I said that you wrote also a hopeful book. Talk about the things that gave you. Hope one is that we know what works partly because these issues are ones that Germany dealt with Canada dealt with life expectancy is not falling in those countries. Portugal decriminalized drug possession including heroin cocaine and mounted a public health effort. Then you write a lot about this. About how pervasive. The drug problem is and how drug diversion programs that decriminalize drugs and use the resources to move. People into treatment programs have been very affect so much more successful. You know we get. We still deal with drugs. Basically a law enforcement toolbox when it is cheaper and infinitely more humane and successful to deal with with with the public health and the treatment toolbox. And so we've seen programs that work and we we write about in Tulsa Oklahoma a incredibly successful program that deals with women who had addictions for fifteen years on average facing prison. Instead they go into a program that provides counselling provides treatment and gives them jobs. And we've also seen that we can address some social problems when we put our mind to it. The Obama Administration in Two Thousand Ten address veteran homelessness. And this was. The country was embarrassed that there were so many veterans on the street and we put our minds to it. It became a priority and over six years veteran homelessness was reduced by have if we were similarly embarrassed by child homelessness then we could reduce child homelessness by half as well. You know. This is the age of innovation in these in these areas. I mean it's incredible. How much research has done all universities across the country trying to prove what works? And what doesn't work in terms of dressing these social problems so we? We have a plethora of examples of randomized control trials that I could show what works what doesn't work. We are funding some of them. But they're all done on sort of piecemeal basis would really need is a systematic approach. That allows you need government intervention. You just can't you know cure all of society's ills with these patchwork of philanthropic endeavors. We need much more systemic. Let's return to economics for a second. We've got historic levels of inequality you write about this. I think you wrote that. The annual bonus pool for Wall Street exceeded this popular around town exceeded the income of minimum wage. Workers in this country collectively. That's a stark statistic. Can you solve these problems without solving that problem? I Say I think you definitely can solve these problems. And it doesn't necessarily mean taking away from other people that means lifting the bottom half we need to focus on addressing the lack of opportunity and the lack of investment in human capital at the level of the fifty percent of people at the lower income level. Those people we need to lift them up. But but I mean doesn't it also require those people who've done very very well to recognize their responsibility to make those investments. And how do you we are so silo? D- I mean the the thing about this book and why so recommend everyone read? It is that there is a crisis in this country that we can't see from the apartment towers of in Chicago and San Francisco and New York a mile or two from here. We see all of these problems that you're writing about in communities in Chicago and yet they seem distant. If you live downtown how we create a national sense of interconnectedness and a national conversation about these to the point where it becomes politically tenable to do big things. I mean that's terrific and I really do think a lot of it has to do with improving. Empathy is really recognizing that we sort of lost empathy because because we live in bubbles and we don't see people outside of the bubble was very interesting is that you know people in the top twenty percent. They contribute in terms of charity less as a percentage of income than people at the bottom twenty percent. And you're thinking how could all these people who are so poor? How can they contribute? Moore's percentage of their income and it's partly because they live in neighborhoods where they see need and people who and the top twenty percent. They don't see the need so much and so when people in poor neighborhoods confront the need they give they respond and I think that if we saw that also with the top twenty percent if they saw the need they would also respond. Nick as I said you've written about some extraordinarily difficult challenges all over the world that people are facing. You've shown a light on these kinds of challenges and yet often you write that. You're optimistic in fact you wrote about what's happened around the world in your urine column. Are you optimistic right now? Yeah I and don't feel pressured I know I am. I mean for a couple of reasons one is that I think the. Us really took some fundamental missteps fifty years and that involved cutting taxes and cutting investments in human capital in safety nets as they look at the that trajectory. I wonder if Kansas under Sam Brownback mark kind of the governor who cut taxes dramatically and was ultimately ultimately. Kansas voters rebelled. And because there are schools were doing too poorly and when Kansas voters rebel and want to raise taxes that strikes me as a really interesting moment. Likewise you have red states like Idaho Utah that are expanding Medicaid so. I wonder if there isn't something of a of a mental switch. You Begin to see as a lot of white suffer from drug addiction. A change in the frame of reference is a sad commentary which is normal hypocrisy and double stand but but maybe a step toward a better policy so as Kansas goes so goes the nation. Let's hope I mean. Let's let's hope that that's the case and you do see that. People are reaching four some big ideas and new approaches as an Oregon and Oregon. We were always raise on this and a pioneer mythology. Are these Perot. Eric Ancestors you cross the country and they would never relied on benefit plan. Well it of course the whole reason that the pioneers went to the Willamette valley was because of benefit plan every benefit plan. It was the homesteads at the end. My area was transformed by these big ideas for homesteads rural electrification. Gi Bill of rights. And that is what I think can indeed again transform the opportunities for the kids on the number six bus well Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn thank you so much for shining a light on.