Great Leap Forward

The good, bad and ugly of the Fiscal Cliff with Randy Wray on economic prospects and John Nichols on the political fallout and why Progressives like Tom Harkin voted no

Today on Beneath the Surface Friday 5-6pm on KPFK 90.7FM, streaming live and archived at

UPDATE: archived here

Today at 5:  The good, bad and ugly of the Fiscal Cliff with Randy Wray on economic prospects and John Nichols on the political fallout and why Progressives like Tom Harkin voted no; plus Stephen Cohen on the emerging new Cold War with Russia

Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at University of Missouri-Kansas City,  and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute titled his blogpost on January 1 Let’s Leap the Fiscal Cliff: Who’s Afraid of Deficits, Anyhow. We’ll ask him to explain the good, bad and the ugly of the Fiscal Cliff deal, what he sees as the road ahead for the economy, (the December jobs report is out and we’ll get his comments), and what he thinks President Obama’s economic policy should aim for in his second term. Like others, Wray worries about the spending cuts to come, demanded by the republicans when the debt ceiling debate opens in a few months. But, he takes a deeper look at the issues driving this debate – and says US debt is sustainable, and that debt isn’t the issue. “What matters is the interest rate. It isn’t really the debt ratio or the primary surplus (deficit); and permanent deficits are mathematically sustainable. It comes down to the theory of interest rates. Are these set by Bond Vigilantes?” Tune in to find out.

John Nichols Chief Washington Correspondent of The Nation reports on the members of Congress and Senator Tom Harkin – who broke with their party leadership and voted no to a bad deal that compromised on tax fairness, economic justice and infrastructure investment. We’ll also get John’s take on what’s ahead in the new Congress, looming debt ceiling ‘debate’ and more.

Stephen F Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University and Princeton University says the ‘reset’ in relations between the United States and Russia is dead, as the Obama administration has never truly cooperated with Moscow, instead pushing the same policy Washington has been imposing on Russia for the past 20 years — advancing NATO toward Russia’s borders, building missile defense on Russia’s borders, interfering in Russia’s internal politicsWe’ll ask Stephen to give us a deeper look into the internal opposition to Putin (that took to the streets in protest over the summer) and whether Putin’s support has eroded to a critical extent in his new ‘electorally maneuvered’ term.

Suzi Weissman  Beneath the Surface, Fridays 5-6 KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles,  98.7 Santa Barbara, 99.5 China Lake, 93.7 North San Diego, streaming live and archived at

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Aaron Menenberg is Foreign Policy and Energy analyst, and a Future Leader with Foreign Policy Initiative. He also co-hosts Podlitical Risk (@podliticalrisk). He is a graduate student in international relations at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Previously he has worked at Praescient Analytics, The Hudson Institute, for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and at the IBM Corporation. The views expressed are his own, and you can follow him on Twitter @AaronMenenberg. He welcomes questions and comments at