WXXI AM News

economics

We continue our series of conversations about the recent report released by the RASE Commission. Co-chairs Bill Johnson and Muhammad Shafiq join us to focus on the economic recommendations in the report. They answer your questions as well.

Our guests:

  • Bill Johnson, co-chair of the RASE Commission, and former mayor Rochester
  • Muhammad Shafiq, co-chair of the RASE Commission, executive director of the Brian and Jean Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue, and professor of Islamic and religious studies at Nazareth College

University of Rochester

COVID-19 is having a financial impact on local and state governments. New York state projects a loss of nearly $63 billion through the 2024 fiscal year. The state budget division says that’s a direct consequence of the pandemic.

But while the federal government is allowed to run a budget deficit, states and local jurisdictions can’t. Financial impacts on state and local governments depend on vulnerability factors like where the revenue comes from.

Most police officers do not live in the cities they serve. That's not necessarily the case in smaller towns, but it's true in cities like Rochester and most larger cities. Is there a harm in allowing police officers to live outside the city they serve?

Now, with the national focus on improving policing, there is growing momentum for new requirements on where police live. What are the benefits to this change? Is it fair? Our guests discuss it:

  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Danielle Ponder, diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
  • Kellie McNair, co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project
  • Shane Wiegand, co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project

The New York Times asks a provocative question: why are people so unhappy in some of the most ostensibly booming American places? For example, California has a strong economy and low relative unemployment. But the high cost of housing has increased commute times, and traffic is a nightmare. The state is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. What can be done?

These are complicated questions, but we focus on one particular aspect: housing and commutes. Why is housing so expensive in some places, but not others? What are the lessons for New York State? Our guests sort it out:

  • Matthew Denker, developer with LBLD Living
  • Andrew Brady, co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Conscious Capitalism
  • Robert Frank, author, economics columnist, and professor at Cornell University

Has it gotten too hard to strike it rich in America? Economics writer and professor Noah Smith says it has. Writing for Bloomberg, Smith writes that many of the traditional ways of accumulating wealth are out of reach for modern Americans. Start a business? Invest in someone else's business? Flip houses? Work hard for long hours? Smith writes that these paths have significantly narrowed, if not disappeared entirely.

What does it mean for our economy and society? Our guests discuss it. In studio:

We sit down with Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at MIT who says Rochester is set to become one of America's growth engines. He’s in Rochester to discuss his book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.” We talk to him about the promise he sees in Rochester.

Gruber is also one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act and the 2006 Massachusetts healthcare reform – Romneycare. We discuss healthcare and healthcare policy in the U.S. In studio:

  • Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at MIT
  • Jim Senall, president of NextCorps, Inc., and managing director of the Rochester Angel Network

President Trump promised tariffs when he was a candidate. Now that he's delivering, some business leaders are expressing shock and concern.

But why is this president being treated differently than previous presidents who also deployed tariffs? And what, exactly, would a trade war look like? Our guests discuss it.

  • Kent Gardner, chief economist with the Center for Governmental Research
  • Rob Shum, professor in the Department of Political Science at the College at Brockport
  • Amit Batabyal, professor of economics at RIT

When you see a label that says, "Made in America," it may not mean what you think it does. A recent piece in the conservative publication, the National Review, argued that "buying American" has little meaning in today's global supply chain and we should scrap the phrase, or stop giving it such romantic idealism. Writer Kevin Williamson says if everything you bought were truly local, our economy would be similar to that of North Korea or Venezuela. 

Is that statement accurate? We discuss what "Made in America" really means with our guests:

What has the narrative been about wage growth and the wage gap in this country? The narrative has reflected the reality, which is that for decades now, we've seen wage stagnation and money concentrated much more toward the top, with a big gap in the so-called middle. Yet, the numbers are starting to change.

Investigative journalist David Cay Johnston says we've been living with an outdated narrative and wage growth is happening. He's asking us to look at new data that indicates wage growth is starting to move in a direction more positive for the country. So what is the evidence and how does it impact you? We discuss it. 

Glass Steagall has become a hot button election issue. What is it? We explore the history of the legislation that changed banking rules. How does it impact us? What are the campaigns saying? Our guests:

  • Amit Batabyal, professor of economics at RIT
  • Joe Boyd, vice president and financial advisor for Brighton Securities

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