Norman Mailer once wrote that before he was 17, he’d formed the desire to be a major writer. That wish certainly came true. One political campaign, two Pulitzer Prizes and an unprecedented level of controversy later, he became a literary grandee unlike any other. This interview originally aired on Oct. 8, 1991. ALSO Author Robert Kuttner writes in The Squandering of America that many of the economic policies and regulations established during the New Deal have since been replaced by a more business-friendly free market system. Kuttner is the founder and co-editor of The American Prospect. Here is an excerpt:
Americans have the good fortune to live in a nation that has stood for political liberty and economic opportunity since its founding. Even in the republic’s early years, when we cherished our isolation from a troubled world, the American idea was a beacon to other nations. In the twentieth century, a bolder, more outward-looking America came to stand for enlightened leadership globally. At home, a more democratic America became a more balanced society. Public policies promoted broad prosperity and economic security, by harnessing the creative, often chaotic power of capitalism for the general good.
Today, we are seeing the squandering of America, on multiple fronts. The ultimate test of a democracy is whether it is possible for the people to throw out the governing party. In politics, we have come very close to losing our democracy, not just in rigged rules and stolen elections but in the domination of politics by big money, the decline in participation by ordinary people, and the assault on basic constitutional liberties.
America’s role as a global leader has been squandered as never before. Our government has been pursuing policies based on fantasies, failing to contain Islamist extremism, failing to promote democratic values and international order. Instead, foreign threats are being used to undermine liberty at home. George W. Bush’s bungled war in the Middle East has made a difficult challenge incalculably worse. He has squandered the global goodwill that has long been the necessary complement to America’s military might. His policies in general have made America a lightning rod rather than a source of enlightenment.
How did the some of America’s largest companies get into so much trouble with bad mortgages? How will this affect the American economy already challenged by weakened dollar, high fuel prices, and lower consumer confidence. We’ll talk about all this with JOEL NAROFF chief economist for Commerce Bank and President of Naroff Economic Advisors. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
How airlines decide how much to charge for a plane ticket? It has long been a mystery as to why shorter flights can cost more, why your seatmate paid less, and why airlines regularly overbook flights. To help us understand why airline pricing is so complicated we’ll talk with DEAN HEADLEY who co-authors the annual national Airline Quality Rating report from Wichita State University. He’ll explain the business climate airlines operate and why airlines have created a complex pricing structure and why it sometimes leads to angry customers. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
Loudon Wainwright III — Tuesday
Loudon Wainwright III joins World Café host David Dye to discuss his newest album, Strange Weirdos, which includes songs from the film, Knocked Up. In addition to his musical contributions to the movie, Wainwright played the role of a gynecologist – not too far a stretch from his infamous singing surgeon character on the TV show M*A*S*H. With his ever-sharp lyrical style and adventurous melodies, this album proves not only a competent soundtrack, but also an impressive solo album.
LOUDON WAINRIGHT III: The Acid Song
[Mailer illustration by JAY BEVENOUR]