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Should the government subsidize your house? At the end of our second hour, economics professor Viral Acharya explains why he believes the government should remove the tax deduction for interest rates on your home mortgage. (iStockphoto.com)

August 23rd: What's On Today's Show

by Gwen Outen
Aug 23, 2011

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Gwen Outen

Entrepreneurship In A Bad Economy
Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the past several years — from baby boomers laid off as they neared retirement to young graduates who found no jobs available in their field. Some have seen the dismal job market as an opportunity start their own businesses. Many dream of being their own bosses, but starting and maintaining a small business is never easy — and the weak economy can hold even greater challenges for those who try striking out on their own. Rebecca Roberts talks with Sarah Needleman, small business reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and Ted Zoller, Vice President for Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, about the risks and rewards of starting a business in a tough economy.

Cynthia Tucker Exit Interview
After more than two decades as a columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cynthia Tucker left the paper earlier this month to become a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. Tucker served as editorial page editor for the paper for 8 years until she was reassigned to Washington as a political columnist. From time to time, she was a guest on Talk of the Nation. In 2007, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her writing on issues including voting rights, racial stereotypes, and issues in the African-American community. Guest host Rebecca Roberts talks with Tucker about her long career as a columnist and her decision to give up the column.

'The Persistence of the Color Line'
On January 20, 2009, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy was among the more than 1 million people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of the first African American president. Many hoped that his presidency would usher in a new, post-racial period in America. The reality never lived up to that promise, he says now. In his new book, Kennedy argues that while Barack Obama's presidency is a remarkable milestone, it "does not mean that racial prejudice is no longer a potent force in American politics." Guest host Rebecca Roberts talks with Kennedy about his new book, The Persistence of the Color Line, and the racial issues still at play in Obama's presidency and the country in general.

Should The Government Subsidize Your House?
Every year, some 35 million homeowners deduct the interest paid on their mortgage from federal taxes, saving a combined total of more than $100 billion a year. Economist Viral Acharya argues it's time to wean homeowners off of those subsidies. In an op-ed in the New York Times he says mortgage tax breaks favor the rich and do little to encourage an equitable "ownership society." Further, he points out, these subsidies encouraged people to spend more than they can afford and caused the recent housing bubble that wiped out many people's nest eggs. Guest host Rebecca Roberts speaks with Acharya about his argument that subsidies should end and whether or not his plan is politically viable.


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