The State Of Agriculture, The Power Of Glamour, Obamacare In Historical Perspective

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Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert check in on agriculture in the United States and in Wisconsin, learn what makes something glamorous, and put the Obamacare fallout in historical perspective.

Featured in this Show

  • Instructor Looks At Affordable Care Act Launch In Historical Context

    The recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act has drawn ire from both sides of the political divide about the program’s apparent flaws — from the function of its website to concerns about whether people could keep the health coverage that they liked.

    A Madison College instructor decided to look at the ACA launch in the context of history and compare it to previous sweeping social programs. Jonathan Pollack said people can look to the launch of Social Security for a comparison.

    Social Security was launched in 1935, but had its genesis decades earlier, with Civil War widows and the idea that the country owed them something in return, Pollack said.

    Before the Social Security was established, other independent programs were created based on similar ideas, he said, pointing to Louisiana’s Huey Long, who created Share the Wealth clubs. The problem with such clubs, Pollack said, is that “they were voluntary. The contributions weren’t automatic.”

    But, both the current health care reform effort and Social Security were concepts that people were thinking about for a long time prior to their passage into law, Pollack said.

    One of the chief criticsm the Obama administration has been plagued by its subpar website. For President Franklin Roosevelt, however, getting the word out about Social Security was a hurdle, Pollack said. To resolve this, he said Roosevel turned to the clergy.

    “Roosevelt said, ‘Could you find a way to bring this up in a sermon? Get people talking about it?’” Pollack said.

    He said he sees FDR’s appeal to the clergy as one similar to the Obama administration, who were considering working with the NFL at one point in the ACA’s development. That idea was quickly discarded, said Pollack.

    Although there was outrage in 1935 with the beginning of Social Security and outrage in 2013 with the ACA launch, Pollack said that viewed through the lens of history, he thinks the Obama adminisration “should have expected more (upset over the launch).”

  • The State Of Agriculture

    With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people have food on the brain…but do we ever really think about where our food comes from? Several agriculture experts discuss the state of farming nationwide and in Wisconsin, and talk about why farmers are under-appreciated.

  • The Power Of Glamour

    Culture critic Virginia Postrel discusses what makes something glamorous and why it causes a feeling of desire.

  • Historical Perspective On Troubled Health Care Rollout

    The Affordable Care Act rollout has seen a lot of bumps–but how does it compare to the kickoff of our large government programs, like Medicare or Social Security? A historian puts today’s news in historical context.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Rob Ferrett Interviewer
  • Jonathan Pollack Guest
  • Ben Brancel Guest
  • Tom Vilsack Guest
  • Virginia Postrel Guest
  • Amanda Magnus Producer

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