Episode 73

Student Loans, CDC Overhaul, Fauci’s Last Ride, Twitter Whistleblower

Ravi and Rikki start the show off by diving into Biden’s controversial student loan forgiveness plan before moving on to the overhaul at the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci announcing his retirement. From there, they focus on the intriguing phenomenon of “collective illusions” and how they manifest in American public opinion. Finally, the hosts give us some updates from a busy news week, ft. the Gretchen Whitmer kidnap plot, turmoil at Twitter, and compelling races in New York and Florida. 


Ravi and Rikki delve into Biden’s executive action to forgive student loan debt and debate whether it’s good politics or policy.

Rikki outlines the proposed reforms at the CDC and credits the agency with owning up to its missteps during the pandemic. Ravi then moves on to Fauci’s resignation as he and Rikki discuss his legacy.

The hosts dive into what constitutes a “collective illusion” and where they appear in American public discourse.

Ravi and Rikki end the show with updates on two convictions in the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, major accusations from a former Twitter executive turned whistleblower and a slew of races in New York and Florida.

Student Loans [02:20]

Should Biden forgive student loan debt? (Lost Debate, 05/03)
Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most (The White House, 08/24)
Forgiving Student Loans: Bad Politics, Bad Policy (Bulwark, 08/23)
Student Loan Forgiveness Is an Inflation Expansion Act (The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, 08/23)
Biden’s Cancellation of Billions in Debt Won’t Solve the Larger Problem (The Atlantic, 08/24)
Biden’s student loan announcement is a regressive, expensive mistake (The Washington Post Editorial Board, 08/24)
10 Key Facts About Student Debt in the United States (Peter G. Peterson Foundation, 05/05/2021)
‘This Is Getting Ridiculous’: AOC Calls For Student Loan Cancellation (YouTube, 12/02/2021)
10 facts about today’s college graduates (Pew Research Center, 04/12)
With Website to Research Colleges, Obama Abandons Ranking System (The New York Times, 09/12/2015)
To Apply For Expiring Student Loan Forgiveness Opportunity, Borrowers May Have Less Time Than It Seems (Forbes, 08/04)
Take Advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver by Oct. 31 (Federal Student Aid, 08/25)
What’s The Average Medical School Debt In 2022? (Forbes, 05/13)
Demand for Healthcare Workers Will Outpace Supply by 2025: An Analysis of the US Healthcare Labor Market (Mercer HPA, 2018)
Why America Has So Few Doctors (The Atlantic, 02/14)
Floral Management (Mississippi State University, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences)
Adventure Education (Plymouth State University)
Bakery Science & Management (Kansas State University, Grain Science and Industry)
Turfgrass Science Major (Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences)

Health Leadership Change-Up  [16:00]

Fauci Says He Will Step Down in December to Pursue His ‘Next Chapter’ (The New York Times, 08/22)
CDC announces sweeping reorganization, aimed at changing the agency’s culture and restoring public trust (CNN, 08/17)
Make the CDC an Infectious Disease Epidemic Fighter Again (Reason, 08/17)
Dr. Fauci’s Legacy (Common Sense, 08/24)
In Fauci We Trust: Dr. Fauci Announces He’s Stepping Down In December (YouTube, 08/23)
‘The Five’ talks Fauci stepping down and GOP vowing to investigate (YouTube, 08/23)
Fauci said US government held off promoting face masks because it knew shortages were so bad that even doctors couldn’t get enough (Insider, 06/15/2020)
The Noble Lies of COVID-19 (Slate, 07/28/2021)
CDC, FDA, NIH—what’s the difference? (National Geographic, 08/23/2021)
CDC Director Warns of ‘Impending Doom’ as Covid Cases Rise (YouTube, 03/29/2021)
Did Fauci Lie About NIH Virus Research in Wuhan? (Lost Debate, 10/26/2021)
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (Michael Lewis, 05/04/2021)

Private v. Public Opinions  [30:00]

Private Opinion in America (Populace Insights, 05/23 – 06/08)
Study: What Americans really think (Axios, 08/17)
Populace cofounder Todd Rose explains how conformity biases and our individual desires to fit in with the group can lead us all down the wrong path. (McKinsey, 05/05)
Collective Illusions: Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions (Todd Rose, 02/01)

Rapid-Fire Updates [42:40] 

2 men convicted in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer (AP News, 08/24)
Analysis: Strategy shift led to convictions in Whitmer kidnapping plot, but door open for appeal (Michigan Radio, 08/24)
0 Convictions in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Case (Lost Debate, 04/13)
Read Twitter CEO Agrawal’s Memo About the Whistle-Blower (Bloomberg, 08/23)
Twitter’s whistleblower problem is way bigger than Elon Musk’s bot complaints (Vox, 08/23)
Twitter Comes Under Washington Spotlight With Whistleblower Complaint (The Wall Street Journal, 08/23)
Five Takeaways From Tuesday’s Elections (The New York Times, 08/24)
Yes, Special Elections Really Are Signaling A Better-Than-Expected Midterm For Democrats (FiveThirtyEight, 08/24)
New York’s chaotic Democratic primaries, explained (The Washington Post, 08/22)