Nick tackles the issues facing most American cities today in this installment of The Far Middle. “Today, in most major urban areas across the U.S. we’ve got this dichotomy,” says Nick. “On one hand, you’ve got the glitzy image, vision that you see out there…you’ve got typically a multibillion-dollar, shiny airport facility…high rises, skyscrapers, and great skyline from afar…sports venues and entertainment venues…so the big picture and view that a big city presents is quite positive, and then there’s the reality.” Nick discusses that reality is an urban homeless epidemic, abandoned streets, substance abuse, graffiti, a public safety crisis, deteriorating infrastructure, failing urban education and more—all these challenges are being paid for by the poorest and most disadvantaged people in society.
Public pension plans are the focus of this week’s The Far Middle podcast. Nick explains why public pension plans are a big deal. The annual benefit payments from these plans represents roughly 1.5% of U.S. GDP. Unfortunately public pension plans are in escalating financial trouble as liabilities increase and funding decreases. Nick argues that managers and leaders of these funds have lost their fiduciary compass, and that compass has been replaced by “the Leech way.”
In this episode of The Far Middle, Nick examines the critical role of the Federal Reserve and the epic power its amassed. “Most people hear the Fed and they think it’s a very complicated, obtuse entity in the background,” says Nick. “So why the focus on it? Why the importance of it from my perspective? Well the answer to that stems from the importance of money in our society, in our culture and in our economy.” Nick goes on to explain how the Fed is playing an outsized role when it come to money, and thus our economy, society and quality of life.
STEM education is the subject of this week’s The Far Middle episode. Right now, China has more universities ranked in the top ten for engineering than the U.S., and worse yet, China is graduating roughly eight times as many STEM graduates as the U.S. Whatever metrics you use, it’s evident the Chinese are doubling or tripling down on their STEM aptitude while the U.S. is doing the exact opposite. Listen for more on how The Leech is hijacking STEM.
“Academia is both a big issue as well as a personal one for me,” Nick explains in episode five of The Far Middle. Nick explores a number of issues facing academia today; the cost of college tuition, the culture of academia, how the college campus is no longer a marketplace of ideas, the impact of administrative bureaucracy on students/families/taxpayers, Title IX, and much more.