12/15 What You Need To Know For Your Future w/ James W. Russell

December 15, 2021

Sam hosts James W. Russell, public policy affiliate scholar at Portland State University, to discuss his recent book The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees, on the importance of fighting for good end-of-life security and how employers and banks have capitalized off of the switch from pensions to 401ks. Russell and Sam begin by working to define and differentiate these two retirement plans, tracing the surge in 401ks back to the 1981 decision from the Reagan Treasury Department to make 401ks a valid substitute for a defined-benefits pension plan, rather than an additional tactic, and exploring why neoliberalism sought the switch, giving flexibility to the employer while shifting all of the risk onto the shoulders of the employee. Next, they dive into the role of labor organizing in the fight for better retirements, exploring instances of solidarity against two-tiered plans for legacy and incoming workers, and how unions can fight against what has arguably been the largest expropriation of workers’ income over the last three decades. They return to the topic of neoliberalism, diving into George W. Bush’s failed attempts to privatize social security, and the failure of the successful attempts to privatize these institutions in Chile under a Milton-Friedman-Influenced Pinochet regime. They wrap up with the role of conservative think tanks in driving privatization of retirement plans, before looking at what we can do as individuals, and organized groups, in fighting for better and more available pension plans for American workers. Sam also covers Cuomo’s corrupt book deal, LIU union-busting, and Fox News’ personalities reacting to their leaked 1/6 texts, including the case of a missing Brian Kilmeade.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and the MR crew cover Christian Walker’s personal sacrifices for his wealth (just having to deal with Herschel Walker as his father), the devastation of Hawaii’s primary water supplies at the hands of the U.S. Navy’s waste, and Dave Rubin’s wistful goodbye to California. Brian from Minneapolis calls in to discuss paramilitary terrorism against Zapatista farmers in Mexico, Stub Lord from Scottsdale chastises Matt and gives Sam some efficiency management tips, then Ben Shapiro reminds us of the classic Mandela effect that causes us to forget that the Loan Baron in Its a Wonderful Life was the hero all along. Stephen Crowder pivots perfectly from blatant racism to Omicron misinformation, and Nathan from Florida discusses the dumdum left’s orbit and lack of organizing, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Past Episodes

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It’s an EmMajority Report Thursday! She speaks with Regina Kunzel, professor of history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University, to discuss her recent book In the Shadow of Diagnosis: Psychiatric Power and Queer Life. Then, she speaks with Beshara Doumani, professor of ...
It's Hump Day! Sam speaks with writer and labor organizer Mindy Isser to discuss her recent piece in In These Times entitled "In Labor’s Mission to Organize the South, Another Domino Could Soon Fall." Then, he speaks with Anna Clark, reporter at ProPublica covering issues in the MidWest, to ...