One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger with Matthew Yglesias
Vox co-founder, policy writer, and celebrated journalist Matthew Yglesias knows what would actually make America great: more people. Today we speak with Matthew to discuss this idea as captured in his book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger. After introducing him, we dive straight into the topic and ask Matthew to unpack how population growth will benefit the US. He then shares how his book appeals to both sides of the political spectrum, despite the backlash that his ideas have received. We compare historical US immigration with the current economic climate before looking into why immigration doesn’t necessarily lead to infrastructural challenges, as is often argued. While reflecting on how policy choices impact public projects, we touch on the COVID vaccine rollout and explore issues within America’s political culture. Later, we hear Matthew’s take on whether an ascendant China will forge a stronger America, the positive effects of inclusive American nationalism, and how giving people access to opportunity fosters innovations. Near the end of the episode, we chat about how policy affects birth rates, how zoning reforms might inspire stronger agglomeration, and why Matthew left Vox. Matthew presents a clear vision for how we can increase national prosperity. Tune to hear more of his insights.
Key Points From This Episode:
• Introducing today’s guest, Vox co-founder and journalist Matthew Yglesias.
• Exploring the premise of Matthew’s book, One Billion Americans.
• The benefits of immigration and how it has led to American greatness.
• Why Matthew received more support from conservative readers than he had anticipated.
• Comparing early US immigration with the current economic climate.
• The challenge of building new infrastructure and the case against immigration.
• How policy choices impact the effectiveness of large public projects.
• The dangers of caring more about your political side than solving problems.
• Examining how different nations have responded to COVID.
• From seeing China as a threat to being more proud of the US, Matthew shares factors that could lead to a stronger America.
• Why access to opportunity leads to innovation and growth.
• Ways that policy can increase national birth rates.
• How the conversation around birth rates has become controversial.
• Zoning laws and the impact they have on agglomeration.
• Hear why Matthew now publishes on Substack and not Vox.
• Why don't we get a billion Americans by creating charter cities.