News & Information

Taxes, Downside of Electric Cars, Mapping Corruption

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 18, 2016 9:00 pm
  • 1:42:17

True Tax Burden (begins at 1:03)  Guest: Chuck Marr, Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities  Maybe you’ve heard the statistic that roughly half of Americans pay no income taxes. But that doesn’t mean today is a holiday for them. We tend to think about income tax on Tax Day, but those other little boxes on the W-2 for Social Security and Medicare taxes add up for everybody who works. In fact, most lower and middle-income Americans pay more in those so-called “payroll taxes” than they do in federal income taxes. And you better believe the government is glad for that money.  Families & Taxes (begins at 10:56)  Guest: Jocelyn Wikle, PhD, Professor of Economics at BYU  We dig a little deeper into how the tax system has – or really has not – evolved to keep pace with the reality of family life in America.  Poor Parent Interventions (begins at 21:31)  Guest: Jan Wallander, PhD, Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of California, Merced  Being poor is a vicious cycle. Children raised in low-income households typically have less-educated parents and they tend to do poorly on cognitive tests. Which means they often struggle in school, are more likely to drop out and more likely to still be poor as adults. And then their children are prone to doing worse in school and the cycle continues.  A study published in the journal Pediatrics offers promising evidence that low-income parents can be trained to improve the chances their children will succeed. But the intervention has to be intensive and start well before the child is 3 years old.   Downside of Electric Cars (begins at 32:06)  Guest: David Abraham, Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, Author of “The Elements of Power”  Tesla’s latest electric car caused such a stir when it was unveiled recently that, in just one week, some 325,000 people plunked down a $1,000 deposit to get one. The Model 3 will cost $35,000 – which is less than half what previous models have sold for and it’ll be able to go at least 215 miles on a single battery charge. There’s also the zero to 60 in six seconds promise and the general warm fuzziness of driving a car that’s totally clean and environmentally-friendly.  While it may be true that no greenhouse gases are spewing from your Tesla’s tailpipe, electric vehicles take a toll on the environment in other ways. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that making an electric vehicle generates more carbon emissions than manufacturing a regular one.  Democracy and Corruption (begins at 51:32)  Guest: Ameet Morjaria, PhD, Assistant Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at Northwestern University  How can you measure corruption in a country? Untangling trails of bribes and favoritism can keep investigators busy for years. But Ameet Morjaria came up with a surprisingly simple way to measure corruption, and more importantly, the power of democracy to curb corruption in Kenya.  Parent Previews (begins at 1:09:07)  Guest: Rod Gustafson, Reviews Films at  Rod Gustafson joins us to talk about “The Jungle Book” and “Barbershop: The Next Cut.”  Tackling Cancer with Anthrax (begin at 1:20:00)  Guest: Ken Christensen, PhD, Professor of Chemistry at BYU; Dave Brown, BYU’s Technology Transfer Office; Michael Rogers, PhD, Teacher at the Harvard Medical School and Researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital  Cancer and many other diseases are caused by cells going haywire in the body, it’s not that they stop working, rather they kick into overdrive, growing tumors, for example. There’s an avenue of research focused on how to keep cells from becoming hyperactive that focuses on a tissue’s ability to grow new blood vessels. That turns out to be an activity that primarily happens in the body when something’s gone wrong, and BYU biochemistry professor Ken Christensen has landed on a technique to stop the new growth in its tracks – at least in mice - using part of the Anthrax disease toxin.