It’s been a year since the Capitol riot. The Democrats are fangirling over Dick Cheney and listening to Hamilton, so it’s hard to say what we’ve learned or improved upon as a society. Around this time last year, Thomas Frank joined us for a thoughtful conversation about who gets to claim the term “populist,” the movement’s specific historical roots in the Left, and liberal commentators’ efforts to link populism to senseless and reactionary violence. We concluded by thinking about how today’s American left can dust off the Populist movement’s most valuable lessons — about grassroots power, transparent governance, and more — to reject the idea that we should leave it all up to experts. That strategy isn’t working, and it never has.
In fact, the failure of experts to deliver for working people is what Episode 55 of KK&F is all about. Christopher Leonard is joining us to discuss the material of his terrific new book, Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy. The story he tells — about how everyday people have surrendered the politics of fiscal policy, about how power over this policy has been ceded to a dwindling yet increasingly powerful elite — is vital to understanding modern inequality and poverty. Like last year’s conversation with Thomas Frank, it yields important suggestions on how the Left can reshape its politics to better tackle the issues we face.