Unsavory pork & decentralization

by Pamela Clouser McCann

We ask the question: what are the conditions under which legislators would vote against fiscal transfers to their states?  We argue that members of Congress, who care about the ability to claim credit and show their constituents they are fighting for their interests, think carefully about their intergovernmental context and the fact that executive branch agencies disseminate federal dollars and implement federal programs.

Scholars convene on methods and trends in subnational policy making research

“The study of state and local politics has taken off over the last decade. Data, methods, and research interests have evolved. There are a variety of important questions that can’t be examined well at the Federal level, because of severe case limitations.  But scholars can get leverage on these questions thanks to the sizable and interesting variation that exists at the state and local levels,” said Jeff Jenkins as he brought together scholars from across the nation to examine the study of subnational policy making.

The Eternal Struggle for Power on Capitol Hill

Power is up for grabs in Washington. A controversial President, an unpopular Congress, and a midterm election all make 2018 a battleground for political control.

This is story of the most consequential game ever played, and it’s told by one of the leading Congressional experts of our time. In this episode, Jeffery A. Jenkins teaches us the strategy of legislative power: who has it, how they get it, what they do with it, and why you should care.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

The Myth of Independence

Congressional historian Sarah Binder joins neighbor and investment manager, Matt Spindel in a look at the history of the relationship between the Federal Reserve and its legislative parent, Congress. The result is the Princeton University Press book The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Myth of Independence, click the arrow in the player on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle PlayStitcher or your favorite podcasting app!

Who Has the Ear of Your Legislators and Why They Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?

In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Who Do Politicians Really Represent & Do We Notice?

With Donald Trump’s approval ratings at record lows, it’s worth asking how much this one number matters…and whether the people who approve really are better represented by him than the people who don’t. If our politicians really do represent some Americans better than others, it calls into question the very foundational ideals of our representative democracy.

In this episode, Brian Newman uncovers who’s represented, who’s not, and how it affects their view of government.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Why the Federal Reserve Is More Politically Constrained Than You Think

We’ve been having a mistaken debate, or so it would seem based on the new book The Myth of Independence. The Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank and most influential economic regulator, isn’t as independent as critics like Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders suggest. Congress created it, and Congress continues to shape it to the people’s will. This new perspective might just change your expectations about Fed policy and your appreciation for their delicate strategic work. This episode features Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

‘Parties & Partisanship in the Age of Trump’ symposium gathers scholars nationwide at USC Bedrosian Center

According to Bedrosian Center Director Jeffery Jenkins, “there are few issues more important today than partisanship. We live in a world today where partisan divisions run so deep that some of the most basic things we expect from government aren’t being done.  People inside and outside of Congress are more interested in skewering the other side rather than work together or find common ground.”

How the Senate Can Beat Gridlock—and Why That’s Not Always a Good Thing

Americans are fed up with gridlock in Congress, one of the least popular institutions in the country. You might think the solution is for legislators to pass major legislation. But what if the solution is even more controversial than the problem? If you’ve heard of “budget reconciliation,” you probably didn’t hear unanimously good things. That’s because it’s a risky game . . . a fascinating, strategic game deep in the trenches of our democratic tug-of-war.

In this episode, Molly E. Reynolds, fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Inst., teaches us how budget reconciliation works, where it came from, how it’s being wielded, and why you should care.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”