The Argument

The other side is dangerously wrong. They think you are too. But for democracy to work, we need to hear each other out. Times Columnists Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat, with other voices from Opinion and beyond, debate the big questions affecting our lives. Their candid debates help you form your own opinion of the latest news, and learn how the other half thinks. Find the best ways to persuade in the modern search for common ground.

What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

The Argument

  • about 1 month ago
  • 38:55

This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime.Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides.It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League.Share your arguments with usWe want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice-mail message at 347-915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.Learn MoreAnti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws”N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime lawsSarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.

Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?

The Argument

  • about 1 month ago
  • 42:14

Whether it’s Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss or Roseanne, allegations of cancel culture seem to have a regular spot among the trending topics of the internet. Almost every other week, someone’s cancellation becomes the subject of prominent discussion on Twitter, Substack and cable news. Yet its exact meaning is up for debate. What counts as a cancellation? Who gets to decide?On today’s episode, we argue over what being canceled means and if it’s time to get rid of the idea entirely. Robby Soave, a senior editor for Reason, has been sounding the alarm about cancel culture. And he wrote a piece about our other guest, Will Wilkinson, titled “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson.” Wilkinson was arguably canceled after he wrote a tweet that led to his firing from the Niskanen Center, where he was the vice president for research. But he thinks the label of cancel culture is misleading, even when it’s used in his defense.Read Will Wilkinson’s “Undefined Cancel Game” at his Substack.Robby Soave in Reason: “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson”We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

Raise the Federal Minimum Wage or Abolish It?

The Argument

  • about 2 months ago
  • 35:29

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009. Workers in 21 states make the federal floor, which can be even lower for people who make tips. And at $7.25 an hour, a person working full time with a dependent is making below the federal poverty line.States such as California, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have approved gradual minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour — so is it time to do it at the federal level?On Wednesday 20 senators from both parties are set to meet to discuss whether to use their influence on minimum wage legislation.Economists have argued for years about the consequences of the hike, saying employers who bear the costs would be forced to lay off some of the very employees the minimum wage was intended to support. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to see $15 by 2025 estimates the increase would move 900,000 people out of poverty — and at the same time cut 1.4 million jobs.On today’s episode, we debate the fight for $15 with two people who see things very differently. Saru Jayaraman is the president of One Fair Wage and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jeffrey Miron is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Harvard University and the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute.Learn MoreThe Congressional Budget Office’s February 2021 report on the budgetary effects of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2020 report “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.”We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

The Argument

  • about 2 months ago
  • 48:57

The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.Learn MoreAstra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

Can Republicans Make Populism Work Without Trump?

The Argument

  • 2 months ago
  • 45:19

Republicans will spend the next 20 months debating and deciding whether Trumpism will be on the ballot in 2022. Will party leaders continue to embrace Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric? Can it resonate with voters if Trump isn’t the one saying it?Ross Douthat, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times, and Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, offer their own definitions of populism and debate with Jane populism’s merits, if Trumpism is real and whether Trump allies in the Republican Party will be the future or the demise of the Grand Old Party.Learn More:Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review: “The End of Populism? Don’t Bet on It.” “Trumpism After Trump.”Ross Douthat on how Trumpism ate populism, whether there is a Trumpism after Trump and, in a prescient 2013 column, “Good Populism, Bad Populism.”Jane Coaston on why Trumpism has no heirs and, in National Review: “What If There’s No Such Thing as Trumpism?”Christopher Caldwell in The New Republic: “Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party?”Ken Burns’s series with Stephen Ives “The West,” chronicling America's process to become a continental nation.Ross Douthat’s book Grand New Party, on how Republicans can win the working class.We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

The 46th: Will Georgia's Races Change The Senate?

The Argument

  • 5 months ago
  • 39:11

As part of our series “The 46th,” The Argument’s hosts and guests are debating the events of the transition and what America under a Biden administration should look like.Now that we’re less than three weeks away from the Georgia runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, Michelle, Ross and fellow Times columnist Jamelle Bouie take stock of the Democratic candidates and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Jamelle and Michelle make the case for a Warnock victory, while Ross makes a surprising prediction of the outcome.Then Michelle and Ross debate whether President Trump’s actions over the past four years constituted fascism or just looked like fascism. Michelle says Trump has insidiously invaded democratic institutions, while Ross argues that sometimes conservatism can look a little bit like fascism.And Michelle has a recommendation for last-minute holiday shoppers.For background reading on the episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.