BTS 12/17/07: Health Care; "Bubblenomics"; Inequality in the US

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Steffi Woolhandler, Professor of Medicine at Harvard and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, says that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all propose Nixon-like health reforms that were passed and then failed in several states over the last two decades. We ask her to explain.

Then we talk to Robert Brenner about the root causes of the economic downturn. The media universally blames the sub-prime mortgage crisis for the problems in the economy, but we’ll ask him if the reverse is the case. Brenner says that cutting interest rates can't help the long-term weaknesses of the advanced economies and that we have been addicted to bubbles. He calls it 'Bubblenomics', it is deflating and the question is what happens when the model implodes? Does the R-word (recession) become the D-word (depression)?

And finally, Michael Yates returns to talk about his new book, More Unequal: Aspects of Class in the United States. The old news is that workers are more exploited and receiving a shrinking share of the wealth we produce. So much for the myth of a ‘just’ capitalist economy – and Michael pinpoints in this collection just how our market-based economic system is in fact a one-sided class war, and what we need to fight it.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Steffi Woolhandler is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard and co-director of the Harvard Medical School General Internal Medicine Fellowship program. She is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), an organization that educates physicians, other health workers, and the general public on the need for a comprehensive, high-quality, publicly-funded health care program, equitably accessible to all residents of the United States.

2. Robert Brenner is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA. In addition to The Economics of Global Turbulence, he is the author of The Boom and the Bubble: The US in the World Economy and Merchants and Revolution.

3. Michael D. Yates is associate editor of Monthly Review. He was professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He is author of Longer Hours, Fewer Jobs: Employment and Unemployment in the United States (1994), Why Unions Matter (1998), and Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global System (2004), all published by Monthly Review Press.