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The Next Generation of House Leadership

Hakeem Jeffries on the priorities of tomorrow’s Democratic leaders

ERIN SCHAFF/The New York Times​/Redux

Hakeem Jeffries, a representative for New York’s 8th congressional district, is a rising star in the Democratic Party and the likely front-runner to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House leader. He’s also quite the policy wonk, as co-hosts Felicia Wong and Michael Tomasky learn in episode six of How to Save a Country.

What drives the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and what’s his vision for the next generation of leadership?

Jeffries, who grew up in a union family in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, traces his political journey back to the 1992 Rodney King trial. “There was a shock at the injustice of an acquittal. And I remember saying to myself that … [I want] to fight for the principles of equal protection under the law, liberty, and justice for all in the purest possible way.” Three decades later—on the heels of what he calls “one of the most productive legislative sessions in the history of the country”—Jeffries discusses what implementation of clean energy investments will require, why solving the affordable housing crisis is one of his top priorities, and how progressives can better communicate their accomplishments and goals. “We’re going to have to do a better job moving forward, of recognizing that there’s a distinction between governing and messaging,” he said. “You govern in fine print. You message, you persuade, you communicate in headlines.” Later, Jeffries discusses the historic role of the Congressional Black Caucus, and what being middle-class actually means in today’s economy.

How to Save a Country is presented by the Roosevelt Institute, The New Republic, and PRX. Generous funding was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of its funders.

Reading recommendations

• Many are predicting that Hakeem Jeffries will one day become the House’s first Black party leader. Read more about the party’s planning for a new generation of leadership in this Washington Post piece by Marianna Sotomayor.

• Jeffries calls housing “the foundation for every other thing that we are working on from a societal standpoint.” Learn more about his housing proposals in his 2021 New York Daily News op-ed, co-written by Rachel Fee: “How to Fix America’s Housing Crisis: It’s Time for Bold Federal Solutions.

• The video footage of police officers beating Rodney King “changed our politics in a lot of ways,” as Felicia Wong says in this episode. For The Atlantic, Imani Perry reflects on what’s different—and what’s tragically remained the same—in the 30 years since the trial.

• To learn more about the Inflation Reduction Act provisions policymakers will be implementing over the next decade, and about the legacy of racism in housing policy, see the Roosevelt Institute’s series, Understanding the Inflation Reduction Act and Trying to Erase the Red Line: National Lessons From a New York Homeowner Policy, by Naomi Zewde, Raz Edwards, and Erinn Bacchus.

Michael: I’m Michael Tomasky, editor of The New Republic.

Felicia: And I’m Felicia Wong, president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute.

Michael: And this is How to Save a Country, our podcast on the ideas and the people contributing to a new political vision and a new economic vision for the United States. We connect the economy, democracy, and freedom.

Felicia: Because progressives really do need a common purpose and a common strategy to win.

Hakeem Jeffries [clip]: There are people who died, lost their lives, shed blood to make sure that Black people and everyone in America could vote. We’re not going backward. We’re only going to go forward. You better back up off of us.

Michael: Today we are talking to Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York. You may know his name, and he’s widely understood to be the front-runner to be the next leader of the House Democratic caucus.

Felicia: Up until now, he has been more behind the scenes, kind of under the radar, but I think that’s going to change very soon.

Michael: Yeah, in a big way. He’s interesting for that reason alone, Felicia, but he also has an interesting backstory. He’s a politician whose personal life has really informed the way he approaches politics, and he appreciates the difference that progressive institutions—and especially, I think, labor unions—can make in a person’s life and in a whole family’s life.

Hakeem Jeffries [clip]: It was that union-negotiated health care that helped our family make it through what was a difficult time.

Felicia: And so we’re gonna get right into it.

Michael: Congressman, welcome to the show.

Hakeem: Great to be with you.

Michael: Appreciate your time. So people know who you are, people know that you’re in the Democratic leadership, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. People have read the speculation that you might be the Democrats’ next leader. Just start by telling people some things about yourself. You grew up in Crown Heights in the 1970s and 1980s.

Hakeem: I grew up in Crown Heights in central Brooklyn. Two parents were both public employees, grew up in a working-class neighborhood, they were union members throughout their entire career. I was also raised in the Cornerstone Baptist Church in neighboring Bedford-Stuyvesant, graduated from Midwood High School proudly, and then went on to get my bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton, came down to Washington for a few years to pursue a master’s in public policy at Georgetown.

Michael: What drew you to politics?

Hakeem: Well, when I was a senior at Binghampton University, I remember coming home and I turned on the TV and L.A. was in flames. I was confused at first as to what had happened. But of course four officers, who were on trial for brutally beating Rodney King, caught on camera, had been acquitted, I think, by a largely white jury in Simi Valley, California.

Michael: That’s right.

Hakeem: And this was an era where instances of police brutality weren’t necessarily caught on tape or on camera.

Felicia: Yeah. That tape changed our politics in a lot of ways.

Hakeem: Tape changed the politics. There was a shock at the injustice of an acquittal, and I remember saying to myself that we’ve come a long way as a country; we still have a long way to go. But I do want to go off to law school, get involved in trying to use my law degree to fight for the principles of equal protection under the law, liberty and justice for all, in the purest possible way. Came back home, I got a law degree from NYU, at which point my friends were wondering whether I was ever going to leave school, but did finally go into the practice of law.

Felicia: Nothing wrong with school, Congressman.

Hakeem: Absolutely. Listen, academia is the foundation for everything that we do, and so after practicing law for a few years, was elected to the state assembly, served three terms there, and then came down to Congress in 2012. And the district as it’s currently constituted is large parts of central and southern Brooklyn, and then a sliver of Queens.

Felicia: You grew up in a union household, right? Your parents are union members. I think your wife actually also works for SCIU 1199. So talk a little bit about how you think about that union experience and what it means for your economic politics.

Hakeem: Great question. When I think about my journey and the journey of my younger brother, who now is in academia, he’s a history professor at Ohio State—

Felicia: I know, his work is great.

Hakeem: Well, thank you for saying that, very kind. But he was initially born, I’ve said this publicly, with a heart condition, and thankfully he’s in great shape right now, but it was that union-negotiated health care that helped our family make it through what was a difficult time. And then, in the early ’80s, when my parents purchased their first home, the home that they still live in to this very day, the home that my brother and I grew up in, they were able to do and eventually pay down and pay off the mortgage because of their union-negotiated salary. It was modest, but it was much higher than it otherwise would have been had they not been public employees, one working for the city, the other a substance abuse social worker: my dad, working for the state. Then I remember thinking, after I graduated and my brother had graduated, and wondering how my parents on these modest salaries were able to allow the two of us to go to school and come out debt-free. My brother was smart enough to earn some academic scholarships to Morehouse College. I was not.

Felicia: Yeah, but you went to a public university—also very important, right?

Hakeem: Went to a public university, which is a very important part of that story, and thank you for pointing that out, Felicia. The other thing is that I talked to my mother about it and she said, “Yeah, whatever we couldn’t afford to cover, we were able to borrow against our union-negotiated pension to make sure that our sons could graduate from school debt-free.” So it’s been a very important part of my journey, and what I want to make sure is that every single person in this country and every ZIP code has an opportunity to travel that trajectory, to be able to try and experience the American dream.

Felicia: I love the detail about being able to borrow against your union pension, because that’s a kind of wealth or a kind of economic security that a lot of people don’t necessarily have access to, and for your family, it sounds like it was the union that provided that. That leads me to a question about the current wave of unionization, union popularity: What does your childhood and your union experience say to you about today’s unionization?

Hakeem: It’s very positive development, particularly as it relates to making sure that we can sustain and grow a very robust middle class and also make sure we create a real pathway for those who aspire to be part of the middle class and beyond. The union movement has been so significant in that regard over time and just elevating the quality of life: the 40-hour workweek, weekends off, making sure that there’s overtime pay. These are hard-fought things that can be attributed to the labor movement, in addition to just the solid footing that union jobs have put so many American families on, myself included. And so to see what is currently happening, in terms of increased interest and success with respect to unionization, is very positive, and we as Democrats are going to continue to lean in and hope to get the protecting the right to organize legislation over the finish line. We’ve gotten it out of the House multiple times. We need to clear it through the Senate. We just want to give everyday Americans and workers a fair shot of really participating in this contract in America: Work hard, play by the rules, and if you do that, you should be able to provide a comfortable living for yourself, for your family; educate your children, hopefully purchase a home. Homeownership being very significant in terms of a sustainable middle-class and intergenerational wealth.

Felicia: We have a housing crisis in America, in New York, obviously where you’re from, but really everywhere, and that’s become even more acute given the pressures of the pandemic on prices, but it’s longer term than that. It’s deeper rooted than that. I’m really interested in one of the policies that you have called for to change in federal housing policy. You have called to fully fund Section 8 and Section 9 public housing to make those funds a mandatory part of the federal budget. Explain to our listeners what that means and whether that really means that you think housing should be a right, a human right, as part of our society and part of our economy.

Hakeem: I certainly think we should aspire to the principle of housing as a right, not a privilege, because the intensity of the gentrification, not just here in New York City, but increasingly in many other parts of the country, indicates that this is going to require the federal government to step in with a robust public policy response. Part of it, consistent with your question, Felicia, is that we’ve got to fully fund public housing, that’s Section 9, but also support … federally subsidized housing. One of the ways to do it is do the Section 8 voucher program because currently there are a whole lot of people who are eligible for Section 8 vouchers.

Felicia: Can you tell our listeners exactly what a Section 8 voucher is, in case they might know about it a little bit but not specifically?

Hakeem: Yeah, so a Section 8 voucher, and there are two types. There are Section 8 vouchers that are portable, and there are Section 8 vouchers that are specific to a particular property. But depending on the type of Section 8 voucher that you have, what it effectively does is that it will make up the difference in cost for you in terms of subsidizing the rent that you pay to make the housing unit, the apartment, more affordable.

Felicia: Got it.

Hakeem: That could be specific again to a certain property or sometimes you can actually take that voucher and you could potentially use it in different parts of the city of New York or in different parts of America.

Felicia: So it’s basically federal rent support for low-income people, but you were saying that the program now has a lot of problems, or it has some shortcomings.

Hakeem: The program has shortcomings because it’s not fully funded, and so you’ve got a lot of people in America who meet the economic criteria to qualify for subsidized federal support for housing because they are low- or moderate-income individuals, but the program is not funded at a level where the supply, if you will, meets the demand.

Felicia: Got it.

Hakeem: In many ways, housing is the foundation for every other thing that we are working on, from a societal standpoint. Here at home in Brooklyn, where we are experiencing intense housing displacement and gentrification, I often say that trying to solve this affordable housing crisis is the first issue among equals. Yes, we have to improve the high quality of health care and education, make sure that there are parks and recreational opportunities for young people, seniors, and others, make sure our communities are safe, that people have access to jobs that are locally available and accessible through public transportation. All of these things are important, but if you don’t solve the housing crisis, then effectively we’re solving these other issues for the benefit of other people because individuals get pushed out.

Felicia: Housing is so much about people’s security at the most basic level.

Hakeem: Housing is fundamental, and unless you deal with the issue, everything else in your life is subject to great disruption.

Felicia: Sure, chaotic.

Hakeem: Yeah.

Felicia: We’re going to take a quick break, but first we do have a quick ask for our listeners.

Michael: If you like the show, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. You could even leave us a rating or a review. We’re trying to save a country, after all, so we need all the help we can get.

Felicia: And you can find us both on Twitter. I am @FeliciaWongRI.

Michael: I’m @MTomasky.

Michael: Welcome back to How to Save a Country. Congressman, this show is about economics and history and ideas, so I want to ask you a question kind of along those lines. We’ve all heard President Biden a million times use the phrase “the middle out.” The economy grows not from the top down but from the middle out. He means a very specific thing by that, right? Do you think everybody basically gets and buys into this “middle out” framework?

Hakeem: Well, I understand the middle-out framework. I think I understand what President Biden is saying as: “Let’s lean in to lifting up the middle class and those who aspire to be part of it—to have a functional economy that has benefits for the greatest number of Americans, that’s what’s necessary.” I would also argue that to have a functional democracy, you need a very robust middle class. I think when you talk about a set of public policies designed to support the middle class and those who aspire to be part of it, that is a value that everyone along the democratic spectrum shares; may have different ideas as to where the points of emphasis should be, but at the end of the day, everybody shares that approach, which is why we’ve consistently, through the American Rescue Plan or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or the Chips and Science Act, and eventually the Inflation Reduction Act, been able to get to the highest common denominator with very slim margins.

I think this bears pointing out: This has been one of the most productive legislative sessions in the history of the country, perhaps only surpassed by the New Deal era and the great society era. But when FDR was passing major pieces of legislation like Social Security and others, I think there were about 319 Democrats in the House, and I believe there were 69 Democratic senators. During the great society era, LBJ had I think about 287 or so Democrats in the House, moderate Republicans who he could work with, and 67 or 68 senators. We have a 50–50 Senate and an almost evenly split House of Representatives, but we’ve been able to find the common ground necessary around our shared values to get things done.

Michael: Let me follow up with this: I think most people these days don’t believe trickle-down economics anymore; that tax bill of Trump’s wasn’t popular; if you look at what just happened in the U.K. with Liz Truss and the disaster that she was trying to do with those tax cuts for the rich, had to go back from that. I don’t think people buy that anymore, but I think people still don’t know what you guys are selling. There’s something that you are not communicating. What do you think it is?

Hakeem: Well, I think overall we’re going have to do a better job moving forward of recognizing that there’s a distinction between governing and messaging, though I think it is very clear that we govern in a way that has produced very positive economic benefits for the American people, and that’s been pretty consistent. You can go all the way back to FDR and the New Deal through some of the work of Truman and JFK, certainly the great society work that was done and led by LBJ through the work of President Clinton, where you had a booming economy and 20 million plus jobs, to President Barack Obama, 14 plus million private-sector jobs rescuing us from the Great Recession, and all the way through to the work that’s been done through the leadership of President Biden. Consistently, we’ve governed in a way that has yielded incredibly positive economic results for everyday Americans. That’s factually indisputable. But you govern in fine print; you message, you persuade, you communicate in headlines. What the Republicans have managed to do is just to lean into messaging and communicating because they’re not that interested in my own governmental experience with governing. So while we are getting big things done, governmentally, to support the economic well-being of the American people, create opportunity and prosperity in every single ZIP code, I think we’re going to have to do a better job of messaging to the American people what we’ve done, why it’s been beneficial for them, and what our continued vision is for a future that is filled with lower costs and better-paying jobs and robust economic opportunity.

Felicia: Congressman, why is that difficult? You’re out there talking to voters every day of the week. Why is it hard to explain that or communicate that?

Hakeem: It’s a great question, and I know it’s a source of significant frustration for a lot of folks. I do think that in some ways, as I’ve often said, and when many of us who’ve been working on communication over the years, and not as a criticism, but as an observation, Republicans talk in headlines; Democrats talk in fine print. We naturally talk in fine print because we care about public policy, care about governing, care about getting it right. In order to govern in an effective, efficient, and equitable way, you’ve got to master the fine print. But again, I think what we just have to do with some intentionality is make sure we separate the two, continue to get big things done and master the fine print. But as we are engaging in the battle within the public square around messaging and communication, make sure that we use persuasive means of communicating, which is going to require leaning in to headlines. I do think we’ve begun to do a better job of it to some degree. We started out with what was often referred to as the $3.5 [trillion] reconciliation package. That’s now the Inflation Reduction Act.

Felicia: That’s pretty appealing, isn’t it? Pretty sexy.

Hakeem: That’s a disaster, right? That’s a disaster. From a messaging standpoint, it may accurately capture what was originally being contemplated, but—

Felicia: The price tag and the process, you mean that’s not enough to sell the economic vision?

Hakeem: Exactly. That’s a good way of saying that. I’m going to borrow that. The price tag and the process, and that’s how we decide to label a bill. Again, we’ve made improvements. The Inflation Reduction Act is a much better headline. It actually sells itself. We’ve got to do a good job of making sure we continue to lean on simplicity and repetition to break through.

Michael: It’ll help if it reduces inflation too.

Hakeem: It will help if it reduces inflation. But it is going to lower energy costs; it is going to lower health care costs; it is going to lower the high price of lifesaving prescription drugs for millions of Americans. We are dealing with an inflationary moment that is challenging. We actually have a plan to try to do something about it. It’s not clear to me that some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have a plan, though they spend a lot of time talking about it.

Felicia: You did just mention, Congressman, a lot of the legislation that this Congress has passed. There are four historic bills, three of which are about 10-year investments in our infrastructure, in fighting climate change by decarbonizing the economy, in building strong supply chains: everything from semiconductors to science, research and development. That is a lot, and it is going to, if it’s implemented well, bear fruit, but over a long time period. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the economic long view, especially because you personally will have some responsibility, maybe a lot of responsibility, for what all of this economic transformation looks like because you are of the generation where you are going to be in office, assuming you decided to stay in office, as all of this really comes to fruition. So talk about your economic vision for the long term and also how you think elected officials are responsible for stewarding this over the long term.

Hakeem: What has happened over the years, in my view, in terms of forces conspiring against the Great American middle class: You’ve had the globalization of the economy, the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs, poorly negotiated trade deals, the dramatic decline in unionization, and the rise of automation. Any one of those would’ve been very problematic for the livelihood and economic well-being of everyday Americans, and so unraveling all of that is incredibly important. I think our economic vision for the next few years, the next decade into the future, is to turn that around and really just lean in to the notion of making sure that everyone has the opportunity to be successful and prosper, where they’re comfortable living after working hard, and I think the job creation that will come from some of the bills that have been passed into law: the Infrastructure Investment in Jobs Act, millions of good paying jobs; the Inflation Reduction Act is going to result in good paying jobs as we lean into building up a sustainable and resilient clean energy economy; and of course the CHIPS and Science Act is going to produce good paying jobs, and specifically is a policy decision to say we want to bring domestic manufacturing jobs back home to the United States of America. In the context of CHIPS, it relates to semiconductors, but that’s a policy decision that I think hopefully will continue to reflect a change in approach in the era of globalization.

Felicia: The reason I mentioned this long-term vision for all of these bills is because the rubber has yet to hit the road really, when it comes to implementation, and somebody like you, of your generation, your leadership, there’s going to be a lot to do in five, eight, 10 years on these bills. So I was just wondering how you think about your role or the role of other political leaders as this stuff rolls out.

Hakeem: That’s a great question. Implementation is going to be important. We know executives come, executives go, and the executives in many ways will be responsible for making sure the implementation occurs, but there is a role to play for members of the legislature at the local and state level to the extent that dollars and resources and opportunities are flowing through state and local government as a result of the federal legislation and certainly an oversight role to play for those of us in Congress who want to see the legislation brought to life. That means that we’re going to have to monitor things closely, even with a friendly administration, but certainly if, in fact, we confront an administration down the road at some point that may be hostile to fair and equitable implementation, that’s going to require legislative oversight and engagement to make sure that the letter of the law is executed upon even more intensively.

Felicia: One of my last questions has to do with the way Congress organizes itself through caucuses. You’re very prominently associated with the Congressional Black Caucus. You’ve served as Caucus whip. How do you think that history is going to see this group of Black leaders in this Congress? I especially think about how powerful the CBC was in arguing for student debt cancellation. You all pushed very hard. I think you maybe made the difference in that very important and very tough policy. So what’s it like to serve with this CBC?

Hakeem: When the Congressional Black Caucus was founded 51 years ago, 13 individuals, 12 men and one woman, Shirley Chisholm (and I’m honored to represent large parts of the district that the great Shirley Chisholm once represented), they had a vision for making sure that their power was used to both stand up for Black America, but all of America. I think as we’ve seen the CBC grow to, I believe, 56 members in the House of Representatives and two senators, Senator Booker and Senator Warnock, we still have that vision of making sure that the voices and needs of African Americans throughout the country are heard and acted upon in the Congress but also through the broader lens of standing up for issues of social justice, racial justice, and economic justice for everybody. When you look at this Congress, the role that, under the leadership of Whip Clyburn and Chairwoman Beatty in particular, the role that they played in getting some of these big things done, particularly the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.… The CBC helped to break the log jam that had existed in the Congress between more moderate members, on the one hand, and more progressive members on the other. The CBC because of its relationships and the fact that it has members who are both new Dems and progressives and blue dogs, it represents everyone, eventually became a leadership and unifying force for the good of all involved, certainly the people that we represent in our individual districts, and that, to me, is going to be the legacy of the Congressional Black Caucus from this Congress, that it used its power to get big things done, as you pointed out, to work with the Biden administration to get to a place where you could have historic student loan debt relief. CBC also played a prominent role in encouraging the administration to do something about cannabis and marijuana reform, using the president’s executive authority pardoning people who have been convicted at the federal level of simple marijuana possession.

Felicia: Which is a big racial justice issue, as well as a justice issue more broadly.

Hakeem: That’s right.

Felicia: Well, I do love the Shirley Chisholm reference. She always said that she was unbought and unbossed, which is kind of awesome. It’s really great for anybody, but obviously for Black leadership, for people of color leadership, really—we all should be unbought and unbossed.

Hakeem: That’s right.

Michael: I still have a “Chisholm for president” button somewhere.

Felicia: So, Congressman, our last question: How would you save our country?

Hakeem: We’ve got to do two things. One, we’ve got to respect the fact that the principle of self-rule, government of the people by the people and for the people, requires free and fair elections. Period, full stop. There should be no debate about it, and to the extent that there are forces within this country who are trying to push us toward authoritarianism, we have to push back aggressively with the fierce urgency of now. That is not a principle that is subject to compromise. With respect to the corollary policy that I would join with, it has really been the subject of our discussion during this great podcast that the two of you host, which is how do we create an America where there really is economic opportunity available for everyone and that everyone can participate in the great American dream, which goes hand in hand with a robust democracy? I think it was Brandeis who may have said that “in America, you can have democracy, or you can have wealth concentrated in the hands of the very few, but you can’t have both.”

Michael: So true.

Felicia: Absolutely. I think that was Brandeis. We’ll take it.

Michael: Yeah, James Madison too, for that matter, a lot of people. But Congressman, thank you so much.

Hakeem: Thank you.

Felicia: Thank you very much, Congressman. It’s been a pleasure.

So Michael, two things really strike me about our conversation with Hakeem Jeffries. The first is his focus on the middle class, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who really is middle-class, or what being middle-class actually means in today’s economy. While I don’t think the congressman exactly answered that question, he was really clear on what it means for every American, for every person to have the kind of material safety and the kinds of opportunities that he had growing up. I think he thought of that then as middle-class, and he wants that again. I think he thinks that’s possible. And then the second thing that was striking to me was the way in which race plays into his politics and his worldview. When the congressman talked about his political realization, he was a young man, and he was watching television, and the Rodney King beating by the L.A. police in the early ’90s was playing, and that seemed like a seminal or a catalytic moment for him. It occurred to me that race in his politics and his policies are probably always there for the congressman, but they kind of felt just below the surface.

Michael: I was interested in what he was saying at the end when I was asking him about messaging, and I think he had a good analysis of the differences between conservative messaging and liberal messaging. He didn’t say as much as I would’ve liked to have heard about how to fix that. It’s a hard question that everybody’s groping around for the answer to, and that’s what we’re trying, one of the big things we’re trying to answer on this show; it’s one of the reasons we’re doing this show. But pretty soon he’s going to be in charge of that, so he needs to come up with something.

Felicia: Yes, well, I will look forward to a future in which Hakeem Jeffries is trying to define that question of strong, progressive headlines on the economy. And speaking of the future, Michael, this is a weekly podcast, and so you and I are going to be back next week with another episode on How to Save a Country.

Michael: We have kind of a special episode next week, don’t we?

Felicia: Yeah, we do. We’re talking to my colleague, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who’s one of the architects of the Green New Deal and now runs climate policy for the Roosevelt Institute. There’s a lot she has to say about the backstory of the Green New Deal, and also a lot to say about the Inflation Reduction Act, what she likes and what she doesn’t like, so a lot for next week.

Michael: We’ll see you then.

Felicia: How to Save a Country is a production of PRX in partnership with the Roosevelt Institute and The New Republic.

Michael: Our coordinating producer is Cara Shillenn. Our lead producer is Alli Rodgers. Our executive producer is Jocelyn Gonzalez, and our mix engineer is Pedro Rafael Rosado.

Felicia: Our theme music is courtesy of Codey Randall and Epidemic Sound with other music provided by APM. How to Save a Country is made possible with support from Omidyar Network, a social change venture that is reimagining how capitalism should work. Learn more about their efforts to recenter our economy around individuals, community, and societal well-being at

Michael: Support also comes from the Hewlett Foundation’s Economy and Society Initiative, working to foster the development of the new common sense about how the economy works and the aims it should serve. Learn more at