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In "What Washington Gets Wrong," Authors Blast Out-Of-Touch Federal Bureaucracy

photos courtesy Johns Hopkins University

As the 2016 Presidential campaign stumbles towards its conclusion, many Americans have grown weary of the coarse rhetoric and caustic tenor of the public discourse surrounding politics and how we govern ourselves.  Republicans and Democrats alike, from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders, contend that the "system" is rigged, and people of color point to example after example of systemic inequality.  Congress remains unpopular, and the two major candidates for President engender intense vitriol.  Cynicism among voters has never been more pervasive.  In the heat of an election, it’s easy to place the blame for that on elected officials.  But in a new book, two scholars from Johns Hopkins University encourage that cynicism, in a sense, and they re-direct our attention away from the people we vote for, to the people who have been hired to administer the government programs and policies that law makers enact.

We hire a lot of people for this work.  If we consider civil servants, members of the armed forces, contract employees, and people doing work for the government as part of organizations that aren’t formally part of the government, it adds up to about 14 million people.  Tom's guests today contend that many of those employed in government service have disdain for the opinions of people they describe as “ordinary Americans.”  Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg join Tom in the studio to discuss their book, What Washington Gets Wrong:  The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People.  ​ And they take listener calls and comments.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.