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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: Category: behind the headlines
Jun 17, 2015

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, hosts Eric Boehm and Ben Yount sit down with Watchdog reporter Art Kane to talk about the federal government losing as much as $1 billion by backing bad loans to luxury businesses like two Lamborghini dealerships.

But that's not all: the Small Business Administration has lost millions of taxpayer dollars on bad loans to country clubs, boat dealers and wineries. In short, it seems like the SBA is doing more to help support the lifestyles of the wealthy than it is doing to support actual small businesses.

Watchdog.org found former executives of companies that the database shows failed to make good on the loans still running businesses and in one case apparently living a lavish lifestyle.

And even '90s rap star Missy Elliott has a role to play in this story before it's finished.

Jun 10, 2015

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 Rob Port, Watchdog.org's North Dakota bureau chief, to discuss the end of the oil boom and the consequences of lower oil prices.

Sure, lower oil prices might be great news for consumers who have to fill their tanks at the pump, but in states like North Dakota that depend on oil and tax revenue for a significant portion of their tax base, there are serious concerns. And some companies are facing difficult choices as the lower prices force them to find ways to save money.

But as Port explains, that's not all bad news.  The state government in North Dakota has been stashing money away for years and finds itself in an odd position (at least odd when compared to most other states in the country) because it's got more money than it knows how to spend.  Lower prices can be good for business too, as it forces competition and weeds out less efficient business models.

The boom might be over, but the "new normal" is more sustainable in the long run.

Jun 5, 2015

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 chats with Rob Nikolewski, Watchdog's national energy reporter, about new rules issued by the EPA that mandate higher levels of ethanol in your gasoline.

There's plenty of reasons to dislike ethanol - the massive government subsidies that support it, the lack of any reduction in carbon emissions from its use, and the political pandering that has kept its use mandated by the federal government.  But the new EPA rules have managed to tick off just about everyone, including the people who actually like ethanol (yes, there are some - mostly those who make money off of its creation or use).

But even though ethanol does more harm than good - to both the environment and your car - it's here to stay.  Thank politics for that.

 

Jun 2, 2015

By Eric Boehm and Ben Yount | 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 Ben Yount sits down with Jerry Ellis, a senior research fellow from the Mercatus Institute, to talk about the problems with subsidizing broadband internet at the federal level.

For starters, the big problem is that not everyone wants or needs high-speed internet.  Although subsidies are being pushed as a way to increase internet access for rural and poor communities, there are better ways to accomplish the same goals.  And when the FCC continues to move the goal-posts for what providers must include in so-called "high speed" internet, it's bad news for the companies and the people who are paying for those services.

 

May 28, 2015

By Eric Boehm and Ben Yount | 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 Ben Yount sits down with Chris Koopman from the Mercatus Center to talk about some of the big shake-ups in the American economy caused by the growth of the sharing economy. It's here to stay, it's disruptive and it's a good thing - government just can't seem to keep up.

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May 12, 2015

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 Watchdog national security reporter Josh Peterson to talk about a recent federal court ruling that struck a blow against the National Security Agency.

A three-judge panel in the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last week that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records is illegal.

The NSA has argued the bulk collection was legal because of a key component in the federal Patriot Act. But in the ruling issued Thursday, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals did not buy that reasoning and said the NSA overstepped its authority to spy on Americans’ communications.

May 8, 2015

By Eric Boehm and Ben Yount | 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, hosts Eric Boehm and Ben Yount take a look at free trade and how it has made the world a better place by providing access to cheap goods. The goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal being worked out by the United States, China and other nations, is to make sure that flow of goods can continue.  But free trade deals aren't always what they seem.

Then, Donald Boudreaux from the Mercatus Center stops by the program to go a little deeper into why the TPP matters and to dissolve some of the common misconceptions about the deal.

May 4, 2015

By Eric Boehm and Katie Watson | 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 Watchdog.org reporter Katie Watson to discuss the political and economic consequences of cigarette taxes. Watson is in the midst of a series of investigative reports about the uses and problems with cigarette taxes in two Virginia cities who recently decided that they wanted to make smokers pay more in order to help plug holes in budgets.

But it's a local story with national implications, as cities and states across the country are looking to avoid broad-based tax increases by picking on smaller groups like smokers.  Do cigarette taxes do some good by encouraging people to quit, or are they really just a regressive tax on the people least likely to be able to avoid paying it?

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 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 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 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.

Mar 25, 2015

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

In this week's episode, host Eric Boehm sits down with Art Kane, a national reporter for Watchdog.org, to discuss Kane's recent investigations into crony capitalism at the Small Business Administration.

As Kane explains, the SBA - despite its name - regularly subsidizes huge corporations with taxpayer-backed grans and loans.  Not only that, but some of its activities fly in the face of other goals the government is trying to accomplish - like getting Americans to be healthier. 

Mar 19, 2015

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

In this week's episode, host Ben Yount sits down with Tori Richards to talk about the latest developments in the still-ongoing scandal at Veteran's Affairs. Richards has uncovered a case in Lousiana where a VA hospital employee was fired for blowing the whistle on his boss for making fake patient waiting lists.

The boss? Oh, he got promoted. Isn't government great?

Mar 10, 2015

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

On this week's show, we take a look at the passage of right-to-work legislation in Wisconsin. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker on Monday and makes the Badger State the 25th state in the nation with a law that allows workers to choose whether they want to join a union or not.

Matt Kittle, bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter, joins host Eric Boehm to talk about the passage of the law in Wisconsin and what it means for Walker's rising political star.

Then, Trey Kovacks from the Competitive Enterprise Institute stops by the show to discuss the national context of the right-to-work debate. Will other states soon follow the path taken by Wisconsin?

Mar 5, 2015

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

You might have heard the news, but if you haven’t gone behind the headlines, you don’t know what you might be missing.

In this week's episode, host Eric Boehm sits down with Aloyisuis Hogan of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss the true costs of being part of a union. Hogan and his colleagues at CEI have attempted to quantify how much union membership can cut a worker's take-home paycheck - and the final numbers might surprise you.

Feb 27, 2015

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

You might have heard the news, but if you haven’t gone behind the headlines, you don’t know what you might be missing.

In this week's episode: We've all heard the phrase "net neutrality," and the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved more than 300 pages of new regulations that are supposed to ensure this principle remains the law of the land (or the web).

But what is net neutrality? Does it mean the government can take away your cat videos?  And why do regulations like this usually help the big guys, like Comcast, even if they are pitched as a way to limit those same industry giants' power?

Eric Boehm sits down with Watchdog.org national reporter Yael Ossowski to discuss the intentions and consequences of net neutrality.

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