Friday, October 9, 2020

Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias spoke with Janeane Bernstein about his new book, One Billion Americans

What would actually make America great? More people, argues Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias. ONE BILLION AMERICANS is a bold, provocative, and data-driven case for massive population growth, presented with Yglesias’ signature humor and analytic rigor.

Matthew Yglesias’s articles for which receive an average of 2 million page views per month, have been cited by everyone from Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama to Jeff Bezos, and have influenced congressional action on topics like the relocation of federal agencies outside the Beltway. He hosts Vox podcast "The Weeds," which was hailed as the "best roundtable podcast" of 2018 by Quartz and draws on average 130,000 downloads per episode. 

If the most challenging crisis in living memory has shown us anything, it’s that the US has lost the will and the means to lead the global community and marketplace. We can’t compete with the huge population clusters of the global marketplace by keeping our population static or letting it diminish, or with our crumbling transit and unaffordable housing. The winner in the future world is going to have more—more ideas, more ambition, more utilization of resources, more people.

Exactly how many Americans do we need to win? According to Yglesias, one billion.

From one of our foremost policy writers, ONE BILLION AMERICANS is the provocative yet logical argument that if we aren’t moving forward, we’re losing. Yglesias invites us to think bigger, while taking the problems of decline seriously. What really contributes to national prosperity should not be controversial: supporting parents and children, welcoming immigrants and their contributions, and exploring creative policies that support growth—like more housing, better transportation, improved education, revitalized welfare, and climate change mitigation. Yglesias challenges readers across the political spectrum to move beyond left-right divides and to look squarely at practical ways of moving forward and supporting many, many more of us.

In ONE BILLION AMERICANS, Yglesias draws on economic theory and research from leading policy experts to offer ideas from around the globe—from Singapore's approach to traffic jams to Canada's town planning—demonstrating not only that we can do this, but why we must.


Matthew Yglesias co-founded with Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell in 2014. He's currently a senior correspondent focused on politics and economic policy, and co-hosts "The Weeds" podcast twice a week. Before launching Vox, he wrote the Moneybox column for Slate and blogged for Think Progress, The Atlantic, TPM, and The American Prospect. Yglesias is the author of two books, most recently The Rent Is Too Damn High about the policy origins of the middle class housing affordability crisis in America. Yglesias was born and raised in New York City, but has lived in Washington DC since 2003.

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