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Thursday, April 05, 2012

MIT economist Simon Johnson talks about the national debt. Pulitzer Prize-winner Marilynne Robinson joins us to talk about her celebrated novel Housekeeping for the latest installment of our Book Club. The BBC’s A History of the World in 100 Objects continues with a carved life-like Ife Head from medieval Africa. Plus, Matt Taibbi joins us for this week’s Backstory segment about the rocky situation at Bank of America.

The National Debt, and Why It Matters

Simon Johnson explains the national debt—where it came from and what it means to you and to future generations. In White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You he and co-author James Kwak argue that if we persist on our current course, the national debt will reduce the number of jobs, lower living standards, increase inequality, and force a reduction in government services.

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April’s Book: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson explores themes of love, loneliness, and survival in her debut novel Housekeeping. Published in 1980, it tells the story of Ruth and Lucille, two sisters growing up with only each for emotional support as they live with various relations in a remote town in the Far West.

Share your thoughts and comments below to join the conversation and watch a video of Marilynne Robinson discussing her favorite authors, writing habits and more!

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Underreported: The Price of Quinoa's Success

Quinoa has become an incredibly popular food in recent years, with prices for the whole grain tripling in the last five years. On today’s Underreported, Time writer Jean Friedman-Rudovksy talks about how the exploding market for quinoa has also created problems, including land disputes in Bolivia and environmental issues.

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Backstory: Matt Taibbi on Bank of America

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi takes a look at the fragile situation at Bank of America. The bank that was deemed too big to fail and received a $45 billion government bailout has, Taibbi argues, defrauded investors and insurers, homeowners and the unemployed.

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