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We The Podcast

When talking about our economy, nightly newscasts only seem to report on the stock market and the unemployment rate. But that doesn’t tell us much about how millions of Americans are getting by. From prison phone rates to the high cost of diapers, Congressman Keith Ellison looks at how the people outside of the billionaire and millionaire class (you know, most of us) engage the economy.

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Racism and Economic Hardship with Keri Leigh Merritt

Keri Leigh Merritt is the author of Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South. Keith and Keri Leigh Merritt discuss the link between economic hardship and the spread of racism throughout American history.

45mins

16 Oct 2017

Rank #1

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Framing the Message with Professor George Lakoff

George Lakoff is a professor of cognitive linguistics and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. Now, you might be asking yourself, “what does cognitive science, linguistic science, and phenomenology have to do with working families and the economy?” Well, as it turns out, quite a bit. Professor Lakoff studies the way that human beings think about ideas, including politics, and the way that the things we hear and say affect the things we believe. Music by: Podington Bear

44mins

10 Aug 2017

Rank #2

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Labor Day with Lee Saunders

On this special Labor Day episode of We The Podcast, Keith interviews Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME, about the history and future of labor rights in America.

43mins

4 Sep 2017

Rank #3

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Voting Rights/Ari Berman

The Republican Party talks about "voter fraud" all the time. President Trump even claims he lost the popular vote because more than 3 million people voted illegally. Sounds like a big deal. But how common is voter fraud? And what might Republicans be aiming for if not a genuine interest in "election integrity?" This week on We The Podcast I talk about voting rights with The Nation correspondent, Ari Berman. Music by: Podington Bear

25mins

20 Jul 2017

Rank #4

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Market Concentration

A few weeks ago, we learned that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13 billion. When big firms merge, it drives up market concentration. But how does that affect working people or local businesses? I talked with my friend Rep. Ro Khanna about market concentration and how it hurts working families. Music by: Podington Bear

26mins

6 Jul 2017

Rank #5

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The Fight for $15 and a Union

Six bucks. That’s all someone working full-time at the federal minimum wage would have left over after paying the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the United States of America. It’s time to give America a raise. It’s time to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And how about a union? This is the story of the Fight for $15 and a Union. Music by: Podington Bear

44mins

27 Jun 2017

Rank #6

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The Transgender Community and The Economy

The transgender community is more visible than ever. But this increased visibility hasn’t improved the lives of all transgender people. Nationwide, violence against trans people – and trans women in particular – is at an all-time high. This sort of violence has far-reaching repercussions – high unemployment, difficulty accessing lifesaving healthcare, housing instability, and educational barriers. And we need to stop thinking of these injustices as separate from our economic lives. Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

34mins

10 May 2017

Rank #7

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Pre-Existing Conditions

For years, millions of Americans were frightened of two words: pre-existing conditions. Before the Affordable Care Act, private insurance could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. That's what Republicans want to return to. To learn more about about pre-existing conditions and what could happen if the Republican proposal becomes law, I talked with Andy Slavitt, the former Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama. Music by: Podington Bear

40mins

16 Jul 2017

Rank #8

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The Gender Lens

Women experience the economy different than men. They pay more for everything from clothes and hygiene products, to dry cleaning and vehicle repairs. This is called "the pink tax". Terry O'Neill is the President of the National Organization for Women, one of our oldest and best feminist organizations in this country. She stopped by my office to talk on a number of issues and how we can get women the equality they deserve. Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

22mins

14 Jun 2017

Rank #9

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Episode IV: Faith and the Economy

Faith is critical to the lives of so many working Americans, so I talked to Sister Simone Campbell, Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman and Imam Makram El-Amin about what faiths in the United States tell us about the economy.MUSIC: "Let It Carry You" and "With the Ink of a Ghost" by José González from the album Vestiges and Claws (2015).

10mins

18 Apr 2015

Rank #10

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Episode III: Right to Work

When people can come together and ask for better wages and working conditions on the job, we all do better. Unfortunately, some politicians and corporations don’t see it that way.

8mins

27 Mar 2015

Rank #11

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Market Concentration with Barry Lynn from Open Markets Institute

Barry Lynn is the head of the Open Markets Institute, a think tank that examines the problem of corporate consolidation, market concentration, and monopoly power. These issues make it hard for workers to find jobs, take power away from working people, and make it hard for small businesses to break into the market. This week, Keith and Barry explore monopoly power, and why it matters to you - yes, you!

41mins

1 Oct 2017

Rank #12

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Unions Leading in Education

Unions raise wages and worker protections for everybody – even if you’re not in a union! These jobs aren’t so simple either. It takes a lot of training to do what these men and women do every day. But as our education system becomes more and more out of reach, it’s getting harder and harder for men and women who want to work with their hands to get the training they need. Enter the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82.Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

17mins

29 Apr 2017

Rank #13

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Women In the Age of Trump

There are millions of women around the country fighting for equal pay, for better working conditions, for an end to sexual harassment. But in an age of extreme right wing politics – the age of President Trump – what can we do to make our society better? I talked to some of the women who are leading that fight.Music by: Podington Bear and Keith Ellison

30mins

30 Mar 2017

Rank #14

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Credit Access

Millions of Americans lack credit scores or have scores that are too low to gain access to affordable credit. The problem affects young people, African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants, many of whom can't establish a credit score without taking on debt. We can solve that problem by expanding what is on a person's credit report. Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

16mins

19 Dec 2016

Rank #15

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Best of We the Podcast (Special Election Day Episode)

Two years ago, we started We the Podcast so we could tell stories about how people engage with the economy. Twenty-three episodes and 75,000 downloads later, we’ve covered everything from union organizing to payday loans to tax havens. With Election Day right around the corner, I decided to take a look back at past episodes and some of the issues that are at stake on Tuesday. Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

45mins

4 Nov 2016

Rank #16

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Bank Workers

Just last month, we found out that Wells Fargo Bank committed a years-long scam that stole from their customers, inflated their stock price, and lined the pockets of their top level executives. Then, those same executives pinned the whole thing on their low-level employees, thousands of whom were fired from their jobs. I sat down with Ruth Landaverde. She worked at Wells Fargo and Bank of America and saw first hand what a high-pressure sales culture can do to a person.Music by: Keith Ellison and Poddington Bear

34mins

24 Oct 2016

Rank #17

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Minnesota Nurses Strike

We spend a lot of time talking about how important unions are. On this episode, we’re going to see organized labor in action on the streets of my home city, Minneapolis. Right now, almost 5,000 Minnesotan nurses are on strike. I went down to the picket line, and talked with a few of the striking nurses. I wanted to hear, straight from them, why this negotiation was so important that they’ve decided to go on strike.Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

13mins

1 Oct 2016

Rank #18

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Overtime Pay

How many of you work 40 hours a week? If you’re a salaried worker, guess what: your employer is pretty happy. After all, they’re getting free work. That’s right. Millions of salaried workers are essentially working for free once they pass 40 hours during their work week. That’s because over the past 35 years, we failed to update our overtime pay regulations. Music by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear

24mins

30 Sep 2016

Rank #19

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Tax Havens with Frank Clemente

Let’s be honest, few people enjoy paying their taxes. But most of us understand that taxes serve a critical purpose—the public good. And since we all benefit from these things, you’d figure that we would all contribute. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. According to a recent report by Oxfam America, the top 50 American companies hold $1.4 trillion overseas to avoid paying taxes. These are called tax havensMusic by: Keith Ellison and Podington Bear.

39mins

7 Sep 2016

Rank #20