July 4 - The Founder's Rhetoric and Today's Results; Pursuing Happiness and Popping Pills

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Today on the fourth of July we examine the enduring gulf between the lofty rhetoric of the founding father Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and the reality of today where our American democracy is looking more and more like a plutocracy controlled by venal and selfish oligarchs. Allan Lichtman, a professor of History at American University and author of “White Protestant Nation” joins us to analyze how much the founders were committed to participatory democracy and how much they wanted to protect property rights of the elite and deliberately make a system less responsive to the have-nots.

 

 

allan lichtman

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Part 2

Then we look further into the not-so-evident truth that all men are created equal, and explore the notion of the pursuit of happiness. Stephan Schwartz, a Senior Fellow at the Samueli Institute and editor of the daily web publication Schwartzreport.net joins us to discuss the extent to which we have successfully pursued happiness given our growing inequality and disparity in wealth, our global record of having the most people incarcerated, the developed world’s most expensive healthcare system that produces the worst results, an epidemic of obesity and a frayed social safety net under attack from billionaires and their political hirelings, who along with the media, are managing to persuade a lot of Americans that their happiness and well-being will be improved if they get less government services for their taxes, while giving the billionaire job creators more tax breaks.  

stephan shwartz
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