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Watchdog.org Podcast

Watchdog Podcasts. Taking you behind the headlines and inside the stories. We examine the news that matters to you - from the school board to the state Capitol and Washington DC - because we know that someone has to keep an eye on how government is spending your money. Education, health care, budgets and more; our reporters have the inside story that you need to know - and a free market perspective that you won't find anywhere else.
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Now displaying: April, 2015
Apr 30, 2015

This is “Sit Down And Shut Up,” Watchdog.org’s podcast examining education issues at the national, state and local levels.

Hosts Ben Yount and Moria Costa takes a critical look at the education establishment, the growth of school choice and the ways free markets can be a part of fixing America’s broken school system.

This week, they discuss a prom-posal gone awry. A high school student tried to ask a girl to prom by declaring himself to "be the bomb" - you know, slang for being the coolest or the best?  Well, school officials don't know how to take a joke and the kid ended up in trouble for making a bomb threat.

Then, would it be better if we could try college classes for free before deciding to pay for them?

Apr 29, 2015

Code Blue is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at heath issues, ranging from the latest public health debates to small government views on health care reform.

Medicaid and Medicare are breaking the budgets of states and the federal government, but there are other options out there. Is Obamacare the best we can do?

In this week's episode, hosts Katie Watson and Jason Hart sit down with Matt Miller, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, to talk about IJ's case in Arkansas - where a dentist has been threatened with the loss of his dental license for offering prices that are considered too low.  The dentist is just trying to help out low-income residents who don't have dental insurance, but the state government is determined to stop him.

Apr 28, 2015

Say It Loud, Say It Proud is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at free speech and First Amendment issues — examining rights among the most important to our society, but also rights most frequently under attack.

In this week's episode, host Ben Yount checks in with Wisconsin Reporter bureau chief Matt Kittle about the latest developments in the on-going battle over free political speech in the Badger State.

As he finds out, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has long been accused of not understanding or valuing the First Amendment. This past weekend, he went about proving that criticism, constitutional law experts say.

 

 

Apr 27, 2015

By Eric Boehm and Ben Yount | Watchdog Radio

This is "At The Races," Watchdog.org's podcast that focuses on elections and political campaigns.

In our first episode, hosts Eric Boehm and Ben Yount take a look at the early field for the 2016 presidential race.  Is Hilary Clinton invincible among Democrats - and is that a good thing?  Can Marco Rubio find the sweet spot on the Republican side between the establishment and those roguish tea partiers?

Matt Kittle, bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter, visits the program to discuss Scott Walker's potential presidential bid and when he might finally toss his hat into the ring.

 

Apr 24, 2015

This is “In Our Backyards,” Watchdog.org’s podcast that examines local government — because the government that is the closest to you often can be the most important, even if you don’t hear much about it.

We’ll look at city councils, school boards and even water treatment authorities, because local officials can waste your tax dollars as easily as Congress can waste them.

In this week's episode, host Eric Boehm chats with Watchdog reporter Andrew Staub, who authored a multi-part investigative series on nepotism in the small town of Throop, Pennsylvania. Staub had to fight with local officials to get even the most basic information about who was on the town's payroll.  The officials had good reason to hide what they were doing – most members of the borough council have direct relatives working for the borough, a clear violation of ethical guidelines – but the case shows where there might be some problems with how Pennsylvania's open records law works.

Apr 23, 2015

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog Radio

This is Behind the Headlines, Watchdog.org’s podcast that takes a deeper look at the political news of the day.

In this week’s episode, host Eric Boehm sits down with Victor Matheson, a professor of sports economics at The College of The Holy Cross to discuss a stunning development in Minnesota: politicians voted against using public funding for a new soccer stadium.

But that's only after spending more than $1 billion on four other sports facilities in the past decade. Matheson examines the stadium building craze that has swept the country since the 1990s, tests the claim that stadiums boost economic development and talks about why Minnesota's Metrodome is a perfect example for showing why they don't.

Apr 22, 2015

This is “Sit Down And Shut Up,” Watchdog.org’s podcast examining education issues at the national, state and local levels.

Host Ben Yount takes a critical look at the education establishment, the growth of school choice and the ways free markets can be a part of fixing America’s broken school system.

This week, Yount chats with Watchdog reporter Evan Grossman, who authored an investigation into so-called "ghost teachers" in Philadelphia.  Ghost teachers are public school employees, paid by the taxpayers, who work full-time for the local teachers' union.  In some cases, Grossman reveals, these teachers have not set foot in a classroom for more than a decade, but they continue to collect pay and accrue pension benefits. Even the new Secretary of Education is a former ghost teacher.

Apr 21, 2015

Breaking The Bank is Watchdog.org’s weekly look at the national public pension crisis, how it’s affecting state and city budgets and what can be done — if anything — to fix it.

In this week’s episode, hosts Eric Boehm and Steve Greenhut are joined by Joe Luppino-Esposito, editor of State Budget Solutions, to discuss some common pension gimmicks used by city and state governments. State Budget Solutions has recently published a report looking at how those gimmicks hurt budgets and taxpayers.

Some of those gimmicks are well-known: we just disucssed pension obligations bonds a few weeks ago on this very program.  But others are less so: like how California is using faulty assumptions (or hoping lots of police and firefighters will die in the line of duty) when it comes to figuring out how long public retirees will live.

Apr 20, 2015

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Say It Loud, Say It Proud is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at free speech and First Amendment issues — examining rights among the most important to our society, but also rights most frequently under attack.

In this week’s episode, host Eric Boehm explains the idea behind a new national holiday that was celebrated for the first time this week: Freedom Day.

The first Freedom Day celebration was hosted by National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Groups as politically diverse as Cato Institute and the Center for American Progress shared the stage for a day of discourse about the foundations, future and meaning of freedom in the United States.

We sat down with Freedom Day founder Frayda Levy and others who attended the event to get an idea of what Freedom Day is all about.

 

Apr 17, 2015

By Katie Watson and Jason Hart | Watchdog Radio

Code Blue is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at heath issues, ranging from the latest public health debates to small government views on health care reform.

Medicaid and Medicare are breaking the budgets of states and the federal government, but there are other options out there. Is Obamacare the best we can do?

In this week's episode, hosts Katie Watson and Jason Hart take a deep-dive into the so-called "Doc Fix" bill approved by Congress last week. It's not exactly fixing some of the underlying issues with Medicaid, which continues to be billions of dollars in the red, but at least it will put an end to annual fights over how doctors are reimbursed for their services.

Apr 16, 2015

By Ben Yount and Bre Payton | Watchdog Radio

This is “Sit Down And Shut Up,” Watchdog.org’s podcast examining education issues at the national, state and local levels.

Hosts Ben Yount and Bre Payton take a critical look at the education establishment, the growth of school choice and the ways free markets can be a part of fixing America’s broken school system.

In this week's podcast, Yount and Payton are joined by Watchdog.org education reporter Moria Costa, who brings with her a scary tale of textbook companies using schoolkids as data mines. It's all in the name of good marketing, but it's putting our kids identities at risk and school officials are letting it happen.

Apr 15, 2015

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog Radio

This is Behind the Headlines, Watchdog.org’s podcast that takes a deeper look at the political news of the day.

In this week's episode, host Eric Boehm sits down with Sarah Rosier of the Lucy Burns Institute to talk about their new report, an attempt to connect the dots between deep-pocketed lobbyists and members of Congress.  Despite all the focus on campaign finance issues these days, there is relatively little attention paid to the direct contributions made by lobbyists to congressmen and congresswomen.

Apr 10, 2015

By Ben Yount | Watchdog Radio

This is “In Our Backyards,” Watchdog.org’s podcast that examines local government — because the government that is the closest to you often can be the most important, even if you don’t hear much about it.

We’ll look at city councils, school boards and even water treatment authorities, because your tax dollars can be wasted by local officials just as easily as they can be wasted by member of Congress.

This week, host Ben Yount looks at a growing trend in American politics: states are making more important policy decisions than Washington, D.C.  That's either because the federal government is failing to act on some issues or because it is over-acting on others, forcing states to amend, adjust or challenge federal policy in order to make it work.

But that's not a bad thing.  As the laboratories of democracy, the states should be making more decisions instead of forcing everyone to accept one-size-fits-all federal rules.

Apr 10, 2015

Breaking The Piggy Bank is Watchdog.org’s weekly look at the national public pension crisis, how it’s affecting state and city budgets and what can be done — if anything — to fix it.

In this week’s episode, hosts Eric Boehm and Steve Greenhut take a look at a few states that are working to reform their public pension messes. But so-called "reform" is not really reform if it only kicks the can down the road and doesn't address any of the systemic issues with defined benefit pension systems.

In Kansas, for example, lawmakers approved a risky pension bond that could leave taxpayers with an even higher bill in the future.

Apr 9, 2015

By Ben Yount and Bre Payton | Watchdog Radio

This is “Sit Down And Shut Up,” Watchdog.org’s podcast examining education issues at the national, state and local levels.

Hosts Ben Yount and Bre Payton take a critical look at the education establishment, the growth of school choice and the ways free markets can be a part of fixing America’s broken school system.

In this week's episode, Yount and Payton take a look at mandatory testing rules in states like Illinois, which recently decided that kids are allowed to opt-out of taking those tests, but only if they do so themselves. Is it fair to force kids to stand up to their teachers, or should we be teaching them to "just say no" anyway?

Apr 8, 2015

This is Behind the Headlines, Watchdog.org’s podcast that takes a deeper look at the political news our Watchdog reporters uncover.

In this week’s episode, host Ben Yount sits down with Jonathan Williams, the vice president for state fiscal policy at ALEC, to discuss the group's eighth annual report on "Rich States, Poor States."

For more on the report, check out Watchdog's story about the states at the top of the survey and those who are slipping in the wrong direction.

Apr 7, 2015

Code Blue is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at heath issues, ranging from the latest public health debates to small government views on health care reform.

Medicaid and Medicare are breaking the budgets of states and the federal government, but there are other options out there. Is Obamacare the best we can do?

Well, no, it's not.  From Paul Ryan's budget plan to idea cooked up by think tanks across the country, there are plenty of ideas about how to repair or replace the Affordable Care Act.  In this week's episode, hosts  Katie Watson and Jason Hart take a look at a few of them.

 

Apr 6, 2015

Say It Loud, Say It Proud is Watchdog Radio’s weekly look at free speech and First Amendment issues — examining the rights that are some of the most important to our society, but also some of the most frequently under attack.

In this week’s episode, host Chris Dobrogosz examines the limitations on free speech. Just because you're allowed to say something, doesn't  mean that there won't be consequences for saying it. And when you're dealing with another person or private company, there are rules that you might have to follow, but that doesn't mean your right are under attack.

 

Apr 3, 2015

Breaking The Piggy Bank is Watchdog.org’s weekly look at the national public pension crisis, how it’s affecting state and city budgets and what can be done — if anything — to fix it.

In this week’s episode, hosts Eric Boehm and Steve Greenhut take a look at the fine mess in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, where local officials raised taxes in order to restore the funding levels of the town's pension plan. Then, only a few months later, they handed out increased pension benefits that made a bad situation worse.

And in California, where a massive drought continues to cause problems, the state is ready to lend a helping hand. But doing do will include boosting retirement benefits for some public workers. Never let a good crisis go to waste, after all, and never miss an episode of the Watchdog podcast!

Apr 2, 2015

This is “In Our Backyards,” Watchdog.org’s podcast that examines local government — because the government that is the closest to you often can be the most important, even if you don’t hear much about it.

We’ll look at city councils, school boards and even water treatment authorities, because your tax dollars can be wasted by local officials just as easily as they can be wasted by member of Congress.

In this episode, host Ben Yount chats with Will Patrick of Florida Watchdog about a new proposal that would have property owners in the Tampa metro area paying for a new light rail line and the expansion of mass transit options.  Should property taxes fund a questionable expansion of services by requring those who don't use mass transit to pay for it?

Apr 1, 2015

This is Behind the Headlines, Watchdog.org’s podcast that takes a deeper look at the political news our Watchdog reporters uncover.

In this week’s episode, host Eric Boehm sits down with Kevin Glass, director of outreach for the Franklin Center, the nonprofit which owns Watchdog.org.

Glass recently attended a bipartisan summit on criminal justice reform, which he says is a growing force in conservative politics. Though it signals a shift away from their long-standing "get tough on crime approach," Republican lawmakers are realizing that America's high incarceration rate is at-odds with their small government values.

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