How do economies grow? And where on this subject do the right and left agree and disagree?

Is America growing more economically unequal? And if so, does it really matter? On this episode or Ricochet’s Money & Politics podcast, Jim’s guest is Scott Winship, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previously a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Winship’s areas of expertise include living standards and economic mobility, inequality, and insecurity. Before that, he was research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and a senior policy advisor at Third Way.

My guest in this episode is noted immigration expert Madeline Zavodny, professor of economics at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She is also co-author of Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization.

Zavodny, an AEI scholar, favors the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently making its way through Congress.

Is it time for Washington to break up or shrink America’s largest banks? On this week’s Money & Politics Podcast, Jim’s guest is economist Simon Johnson who advocates doing just that. Johnson, currently an MIT business professor, used to be the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. He’s also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington and a co-founder of the financial blog BaselineScenario.

In addition, Johnson is a weekly contributor to The New York Times’ Economix blog and a regular Bloomberg columnist. Along with James Kwak, Johnson is author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and The Next Financial Meltdown and White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt and Why it Matters to You.

On this week’s Ricochet Money & Politics Podcast, Jim’s guest is economist Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute. Strain began his career in the research group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Before joining AEI, he managed the New York Census Research Data Center, a U.S. Census Bureau research facility.

Strain recently co-authored a study debunking the notion, now widely held in left-of-center circles, that top marginal tax rates could rise to 70%, 80%, or even 90% without crippling the US economy. Just as importantly, Strain argues the moral and values case against those levels of confiscatory taxation.Missing an episode of the Money and Politics podcast will cost you money. Subscribe here.

On this week’s Ricochet Money & Politics Podcast, Jim’s guest is Erik Brynjolfsson, director of MIT’s Center for Digital Business at the Sloan School of Management. 

Brynjolfsson is also co-author, along with Andrew McAfee, of Race Against the Machine:  How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. The 60-page ebook explores the apparent disconnect between a) rising innovation and productivity, and b) weak job and income growth.

On this week’s Ricochet Money & Politics Podcast, Jim’s guest is Russell Roberts, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Roberts is also host of the weekly podcast series EconTalk and co-blogs over at Cafe Hayek with colleague Don Boudreaux.

In addition, Roberts is author  of several books, including The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity (Princeton University Press, 2008). And his two rap videos, created with filmmaker John Papola and “starring” John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Heyek, have more than five million views on YouTube.

On this week’s Ricochet Money & Politics Podcast, Jim’s guest is Richard Burkhauser, economics professor at Cornell University. Prof. Burkhauser and his team at Cornell have done some amazing research that gives a much different perspective on the issue of income inequality. The mainstream media opinion holds that middle-class income have gone nowhere for 30 years while the income gap between the rich and everybody else has widened.

Underlying that thesis is the work of two economists, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. According to them, median American incomes, adjusted for inflation, rose just 3.2% from 1979 through 2007.

This week, Jim Pethokoukis interviews Luigi Zingales, the Robert C. Mc Cormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business to discuss the current state of European finances, how they can restore economic prosperity, and how U.S. style entrepreneurship can jump start the Italian and European economies. Be sure to pick up the Professor’s new book A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity