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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: May, 2016
May 27, 2016

Donald Trump has locked up a majority of the delegates. He will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Now what?

On this edition of the Watchdog Podcast, we explore that question with Nathan Benefield, research director of the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  There's many lessons to take from Trump's victory, says Benefield on his personal blog, but one of the make take-aways is to notice that, at the national level, voters aren't deciding based on principle, but rather supporting candidates' personalities.

That true even when it comes to the anti-establishment fervor that is running high this year.  If that anti-establishment feeling was based on principle, the should have been other upsets outside presidential primaries this year, but there simply weren't -- for example, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, the son of a former congressman who was recently caught having an affair with a airline lobbyist while he was writing legislation for the airline industry, easily won his primary while Trump won in the same district.

So how should conservatives respond to this phenomenon? Benefield says a renewed focus on state government and local issues -- rather than putting all eggs in a presidential basket -- would be helpful.

Then, we take a look at Pennsylvania's confusing and outdated liquors laws, which will be suspended for four days while the Democrats hold their national convention in Philadelphia this summer.  The laws that residents of Pennsylvania have to live with every day won't apply to the super-delegates who come to town for a big party this summer -- and the hypocrisy of all that might, maybe, just be enough to get state lawmakers to change the system for everyone else, too.

Also, why are officials who covered up problems at the Veterans Administration getting promotions?  And Mississippi's top education official is the nation's highest paid, but is she worth all that?

All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week and our Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

May 20, 2016

Top lobbyists and executives with Google have no trouble getting a meeting with President Barack Obama.

A review of White House visitor logs shows that Google's top men and women in Washington are regular visitors to the White House -- they have been dropped by on a weekly basis since 2009.

All those visits mean Google has plenty of influence over tech policy, and who knows what else.  Watchdog's Johnny Kampis is the author a series of articles examining the political influence of everyone's favorite search engine, and this week his sits down with Eric Boehm to talk Google's frequent White House visits and what else the company is doing in Washington.

Then, Evan Grossman stops by to talk about the stunning new audit of the Philadelphia School District. One of the findings: the district is not conducting background checks on school bus drivers, and has allowed some convicted criminals to drive kids around the city.

Also: Do the Texas Rangers really need another taxpayer-funded baseball stadium? And what's the deal with the Obama administration's new overtime work rules?

All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week and our Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

May 13, 2016

A federal bailout could be the only thing to keep Puerto Rico from going bankrupt.

But the costs of a bailout -- not just the literal monetary costs, but the dangerous political precedent that would be set -- could be huge, says Watchdog's Jason Hart.  With many states running up unsustainable levels of debt on things like public pensions and social programs, a bailout for Puerto Rico could be a sign that unsustainable spending is nothing to fear because the feds will come to the rescue.

Meanwhile, Republicans hoping that someone would come to the rescue and stop Donald Trump from winning the party's nomination and now coming to terms with the fact that it won't be happening.  Watchdog's Matt Kittle sits down with host Eric Boehm to talk about the final stages of the nominating process and what comes next for the party that now has Donald Trump, incredibly, as its standard-bearer.

All that, plus a look at why Austin, Texas, gave Uber the boot and our Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

 

May 6, 2016

It's a story that's become all too common: government official brings a problem to his supervisors, government official gets told to shut up and go away, supervisors get promoted and the problem doesn't get solved.

Ron Klym blew the whistle about problems at the Social Security Administration's Milwaukee office, getting the attention of media like Watchdog and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin.  In return, he says, he's been punished by his superiors.

Klym sat down with Eric Boehm to discuss what he says is a serious civil rights issue at the SSA, where some people who might qualify for disability benefits are waiting more than 800 days for the office to make a determination about their status. That's just too long, he says, and it seems like officials in Milwaukee are unfairly deciding who has to wait that long -- residents of rural Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have been victimized the most.

In a scandal that sounds eerily like what happened at the Veteran's Administration recently, Klym says SSA officials have been shuffling paper to make waiting lists look shorter than they really are.  

Then, why is Chicago ignoring Airbnb hosts as it writes new rules that could affect them?

And why should states be keeping a close eye on whats happening in Puerto Rico?

All that, plus the Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

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