April 6 - The Aspirations of the Afghan People Versus Their Government; An Assessment of the Affordable Care Act's Successful Sign-Up of 7.1 Million Americans; The Reality of the American Dream Today

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Full Program



Part 1

We begin with the just-completed elections in Afghanistan that are being hailed as a success by Afghan and Western leaders. We look into the apparent gulf between the people’s aspirations for governance and the realities of a government beset by systemic corruption, crippled by capital flight from the elite, and a countryside controlled by either the Taliban or fiefdoms runs by warlords. A decades-long researcher of Afghanistan’s culture and politics,Thomas Barfield, the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, professor of Anthropology at Boston University and author of  “Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History”, joins us to discuss whether democracy is taking root in this war-torn, economically dependent country that has been the battleground for America’s longest war.  

thomas barfield


Part 2

Then we get an assessment of the “success” of the Affordable Care Act’s sign-up of 7.1 million Americans that the White House is celebrating, and examine its effect on the upcoming election which so far is muted with the Republicans who have been ritually denouncing Obamacare being curiously silent, and Democrats who have tepidly supported it, apparently ambivalent. Gerald Kominski, a Professor of Health Policy and Management and Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, joins us to evaluate the ACA’s impact on health care reform.

gerald kominski


Part 3

Then finally, Thomas Hirschl, the Director of the Population and Development Program at Cornell University joins us to discuss his much-anticipated new book just out, “Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes”, which looks into the darker side of the land of opportunity, analyzing 41 years of data that finds a majority of Americans will experience poverty despite the American Dream’s promise of a good life that is attainable through hard work and perseverance. 

thomas hirschl