money | WAMC

money

"Let's Talk about Hard Things" Book cover
Simon & Schuster / Simon & Schuster

Anna Sale is the creator and host of "Death, Sex & Money," the award-winning podcast from WNYC Studios, where she’s been doing interviews about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more” since 2014. Before that, she covered politics for public radio for years.

In her new book "Let’s Talk About Hard Things," Sale uses the best of what she’s learned from her podcast to reveal that when we have the courage to talk about hard things, we learn about ourselves, others, and the world that we make together. Diving into five of the most fraught conversation topics — death, sex, money, family, and identity — she moves between memoir, snapshots of a variety of Americans opening up about their lives, and expert opinions to show why having tough conversations is important and how to do them in a thoughtful and generous way.

Book cover for "By Me Love" by Martha Cooley
Red Hen Press / Red Hen Press

Author Martha Cooley joins us this morning to discuss her new novel, "Buy Me Love," about the eternal confusions of money and our beloved notions of free will as they play out for one woman with a lottery ticket.

Martha Cooley will be the guest for a Northshire Bookstore Virtual event on Tuesday, June 8 with Lynne Sharon Schwartz ("Truthtelling").

Book cover for The Wealth Hoarders
Polity

For decades, a secret army of tax attorneys, accountants and wealth managers has been developing into the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry. These “agents of inequality” are paid millions to hide trillions for the richest 0.01%.

In his book, "The Wealth Hoarders," inequality expert Chuck Collins interviews the leading players and gives a unique insider account of how this industry is doing everything it can to create and entrench hereditary dynasties of wealth and power.

He exposes the inner workings of these “agents of inequality,” showing how they deploy anonymous shell companies, family offices, offshore accounts, opaque trusts, and sham transactions to ensure the world’s richest pay next to no tax. He ends by outlining a robust set of policies that democratic nations can implement to shut down the Wealth Defense Industry for good.

Book cover art for "Think Like A Breadwinner"
G.P. Putnam's Sons

Although nearly half of working women in the United States are now their household's main breadwinner, the majority of women still aren't raised to think like breadwinners. In fact, they're actually discouraged from building their own wealth, pursuing their full earning potential, and providing for themselves and others financially.

Financial expert Jennifer Barrett addresses the issue in her new book "Think Like A Breadwinner: A Wealth-Building Manifesto for Women Who Want to Earn More (and Worry Less)."

Jennifer Barrett is the Chief Education Officer at Acorns, a financial wellness app with more than 8.5 million users, and the founding editor of its popular money site, Grow.

Book covers for Erin Lowry's "Broke Millennial" series
TarcherPerigee / TarcherPerigee

Erin Lowry is the author of "Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together" and "Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money." Her first book was named by MarketWatch as one of the best money books of 2017 and her style is often described as refreshing and conversational. Erin's appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CNBC and Fox & Friends. She has written for Fast CompanyCosmopolitan Magazine and Refinery29 and regularly speaks at universities and conferences around the country. 

Her new book is "Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories, and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations."

David Rohde, two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, is an executive editor of The New Yorker website and a former Reuters, New York Times, and Christian Science Monitor reporter.

Three-quarters of Americans believe that a group of unelected government and military officials secretly manipulate or direct national policy in the United States. President Trump blames the "deep state" for his impeachment. But what is the American "deep state" and does it really exist?

In the new book, “The Founding Fortunes,” historian Tom Shachtman reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes.

A former aide to Robert F. Kennedy and senior official in the Clinton administration, Peter Edelman has devoted his life to understanding the causes of poverty.

In one of the richest countries on Earth it has effectively become a crime to be poor. For example, in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t just expose racially biased policing; it also exposed exorbitant fines and fees for minor crimes that mainly hit the city’s poor, African American population, resulting in jail by the thousands. As Peter Edelman explains in "Not a Crime to Be Poor," in fact Ferguson is everywhere: the debtors’ prisons of the twenty-first century.

Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center.

Named one of the world’s ten most influential intellectuals by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an award-winning author, broadcaster, and documentarian who studies human autonomy in the digital age. The host of the popular "Team Human" podcast, Rushkoff has written twenty books. His latest is "Team Human," a manifesto on his most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature.

In it, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups. If we are to resist and survive these destructive forces, we must recognize that being human is a team sport. In Rushkoff’s own words: “Being social may be the whole point.”

Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor emerita, Harvard Business School. She is the author of In "The Age of the Smart Machine: the Future of Work and Power" and "The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism."

In her new book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power," she brings to life the consequences of surveillance capitalism as it advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets," where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification."

Zuboff's analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit; at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. 

Families today are squeezed on every side from high childcare costs and harsh employment policies to workplaces without paid family leave or even dependable and regular working hours. Many realize that attaining the standard of living their parents managed has become impossible.

In her book, "Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America," Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. She shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects, from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses, have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite.

New York Times columnist John Schwartz wrote his new book, "This Is The Year I Put My Financial Life In Order," for people willing to learn new money skills before it's too late.

Sharing both harrowing and hilarious personal stories, from his brush with financial ruin and bankruptcy in his thirties to his budgeted diet of cafeteria French fries and gravy, Schwartz discusses his journey to financial literacy, which he admittedly started a bit late.

Jake Bernstein was a senior reporter on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that broke the Panama Papers story. In 2017, the project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. Bernstein earned his first Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for National Reporting, for coverage of the financial crisis.

In "Secrecy World," Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it evolved, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca ― a trove now known as the Panama Papers ― as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein shows how shell companies operate, how they allow the super-wealthy and celebrities to escape taxes, and how they provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

The American tax system is about to undergo a major overhaul.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. This conversation was recorded minutes before final votes in the House.

Christopher Bollen is a writer who lives in New York City. His first novel, Lightning People, was released in 2011 and his second novel Orient arrived in May 2015. He is also an editor and critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Artforum, New York Magazine, and The Believer. He is currently the editor at large of Interview Magazine.

His new novel is The Destroyers

Arriving on the Greek island of Patmos broke and humiliated, Ian Bledsoe is fleeing the emotional and financial fallout from his father’s death. His childhood friend Charlie - rich, exuberant, and basking in the success of his new venture on the island - could be his last hope.

Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry and Freedom is Not Enough She is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did.

Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains names its true architect: Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan — and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

Mark Sundeen is the author of several books, including The Man Who Quit Money and the coauthor of North by Northwestern, which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

His latest, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America, is a work of immersive journalism that traces the search for the simple life through the stories of these new pioneers and what inspired each of them to look for - or create - a better existence.

President Trump’s first budget proposal made for tough reading for many communities.

In today’s Congressional Corner, WAMC’s Alan Chartock concludes his conversation with Connecticut representative Joe Courtney, a Democrat from the 2nd district.

Today nearly half of all Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and income volatility has doubled over the past thirty years. Banks, with their high monthly fees and overdraft charges, are gouging their low- and middle-income customers, while serving only the wealthiest Americans.

Lisa Servon's The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives is an indictment of America’s banks, together with eye-opening dispatches from inside a range of banking alternatives that have sprung up to fill the void. 

In her early 20s Leanne Jacobs seemed to have it all – the perfect job with a great salary, the husband, the house; but on the inside, she felt constant pressure to work longer hours and didn’t have the mental space to take care of herself or nurture her marriage. So she took her first step on the path to creating what she would call “Beautiful Money.”

In Jacobs’ new book, Beautiful Money: The 4-Week Total Wealth Makeover, she outlines her wealth creation program, which helps us align our personal values and lifestyle with their income and career. She shows folks how to tidy up our finances and pursue their own definition of success by mindfully redesigning their lifestyle and redefining their self-worth.

Leanne Jacobs has worked in sales and marketing for several Fortune 100 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Nike, DuPont, and L’oreal.

Liberals worldwide invoke Scandinavia as a promised land of equality, while most conservatives fear it as a hotbed of liberty-threatening socialism. But the left and right can usually agree on one thing: that the Nordic system is impossible to replicate elsewhere.  
 
In Viking Economics, George Lakey dispels these myths. He explores the inner-workings of the Nordic economies that boast the world’s happiest, most productive workers, and explains how, if we can enact some of the changes the Scandinavians fought for surprisingly recently, we, too, can embrace equality in our economic policy.

Ray Kroc was peddling franchises around the country for a fledgling hamburger stand in the 1950s - McDonald’s, it was called - when he entered a St. Paul supper club and encountered a beautiful young piano player named Joan who would change his life forever.

Just as their relationship twisted and turned dramatically, the fortunes of Ray’s new business came perilously close to failure.  Ultimately Ray wrested control of McDonald’s from the original founders; in short order the successful burger stand in the desert of California would be transformed into a stock market sensation and international brand.

To the outside world, Ray and Joan were happy, enormously rich, and giving. But privately, Joan was growing troubled over Ray’s temper and dark secret, something she was reluctant to publicly reveal. And yet, this volatility paved the way for Joan’s transformation into one of the greatest philanthropists of our time.

Journalist Lisa Napoli’s new book is: Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away. 

  Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College.

Consider the $20 bill.

It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth twenty dollars? In Naked Money, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking.

  Money in politics — it’s widely cited as one of democracy’s biggest ills.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat from the second district, concludes his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

  The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend — behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking.

In Powerhouse, James Andrew Miller draws on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public.

  Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate ALL American businesses,  putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown. 

Drawing on in-depth reporting and exclusive interviews at the highest rungs of Wall Street and Washington, Time assistant managing editor and economic columnist Rana Foroohar shows how the “financialization of America” - the trend by which finance and its way of thinking have come to reign supreme - is perpetuating Wall Street's reign over Main Street, widening the gap between rich and poor, and threatening the future of the American Dream. 

A Treasury official says Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman to appear on U.S. paper currency since Martha Washington in the 1890’s.
National Museum of American History [Public Domain]

A Treasury official says Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first woman to appear on U.S. paper currency in 100 years.

  The villains who abuse our monetary system get what's coming to them in The Capitalist, the fifth novel in the critically acclaimed Louis Morgon series, written by cartoonist, painter, and novelist, Peter Steiner.

  Special interest groups increasingly control every level of government. The necessity of raising huge sums of campaign cash has completely changed the character of politics and policy making, determining what elected representatives stand for and how they spend their time. The marriage of great wealth and intense political influence has rendered our country unable to address our most pressing problems, from runaway government spending to climate change to the wealth gap. 

In Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It , Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman, two vigilant watchdogs, expose legalized corruption and link it to the kitchen-table issues citizens face every day.

  Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But Jane Mayer shows in her book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

Pages