The Exchange

The Exchange is New Hampshire's only locally produced statewide call-in talk show. NHPR listeners have a daily forum to discuss important issues and speak directly with elected officials.

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Next week on The Exchange:

Monday, 10/5: Sky Guys - Astronomy Update

Tuesday, 10/6: Affordable Housing

Wednesday, 10/7: Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Thursday, 10/8: Senator Lindsay Graham

Friday, 10/9: Friday N.H. News Roundup

We talk to the author of a new book who says that Americans spend too much, save too little and borrow excessively and that we might look to countries in Europe and East Asia, where governments encourage thrift and saving rates are much higher.  We’ll examine the financial habits of people on three continents over two centuries and what we might learn from it. 


  • Sheldon Garon - Professor of History at Princeton University and author of “Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves”

According to our guest today, Colin Woodard, America's political divisions aren't between red states and blue states, right and left, Republicans and Democrats but between 11 distinct North American cultural regions.  They are regions the he names "Yankeedom", "Greater Appalachia", "The Deep South" and "The Far West" and they have been created by centuries of Americans who settled there, each with their own unique cultures, religions, political traditions and ethnographic characteristics.  Woodard suggests that only by truly understanding these regions can we begin to see beyond these deep 

Next week on the Exchange, we begin with a favorite from the Exchange archive vault, as we listen back to our show with author Colin Woodward on his book "American Nation".  Then we talk to author Sheldon Garon, who says  that Americans save too little, spend too much and borrow way more than our European and Asian counterparts. Then recent debates over the new health care and refugee settlements have some state politicians defying federal rules.

In his state-of-the-state speech, Governor Lynch made it clear that he’d like to see a change to the Constitution,  setting out how New Hampshire pays for public schools. Similar efforts have failed before, sometimes over the meaning of a single word or phrase.   We’ll look at this latest attempt, the arguments around it, and whether this year is the year an amendment is approved. 


The state legislature is once again looking at whether the Granite State should join twenty-three others in adopting so-called “right to work legislation” which governs unionization.   But this effort narrowly failed last  year, and this year, opposition remains strong.  We’ll talk with two national experts about  the economics and politics of “right to work”.   


An agreement involving national banks and state attorneys general penalizes banks for improper mortgage and foreclosure practices and offers relief for homeowners. Yet some say it leaves far too many without recourse. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has another plan to offer further help. We’ll see how these initiatives might affect New Hampshire. 


Will Defense cuts hit home in New Hampshire?  As a national conversation begins over military base closures, there’s a possibility that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard could be on the list.  Seven years ago, that was the case but a fierce fight helped save the Shipyard.  We’ll look at how this federal process is starting up and how “at risk” Portsmouth may be this time around.


Many say upward mobility isn't what it used to be in America, especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, and that the U. S. has become a less mobile society than other advanced nations. Still, skeptics point out that the country has grown wealthier overall, leading to higher incomes for new generations, even if they don’t move up in the class system. 


Once again, lawmakers are looking at bills to increase gambling options in New Hampshire.  With more gaming sites opening up in  Maine and Massachusetts some say that’s a reason to expand here, while opponents say just the opposite.  Meanwhile, Governor Lynch says he’s not willing to “make a bet” on gambling, making the reality of casinos in the Granite State tougher, but not impossible for this cause.


Next week on the Exchange, we begin with a look at the issue of class in this country and why some say that “American dream” of rags to riches is more elusive than ever.  Then, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, as a national conversation begins over base closures; we’ll discuss the possibility of Portsmouth being on that list.  We'll look at the mortgage market and then end week with the debate over the latest iteration of a constitutional amendment on Education Funding.  Join us all next week for the Exchange each morning at 9/and again at 8 pm, here on NHPR!

With neighboring Vermont and Maine now allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their sick patients, a new bill with the same goal is afoot in New Hampshire. But it has an uphill battle as  recent similar proposals have failed before.  We’ll get the latest on the discussion here, and see how Maine and Vermont are doing, since medical marijuana was approved. 


We sit down with Ross Gittell, the New Chancellor of New Hampshire’s Community College System.  As one of the state’s leading economists, Gittell enters the job with a deep understanding of  our business and jobs climate.  Now, as Chancellor, he hopes to draw upon that background:  making a strong link between education, training and economic health.  We'll talk with him about his new role


Photo: <a href=""> Voluntary Amputation </a> via FLickr / Creative Commons

Recently we’ve seen dueling definitions of what it means to be poor. The U.S. Census Bureau came up with two figures, depending on whether factors like food stamps are included.  And another study defined poverty as having scant resources. But some have long said that poverty figures are exaggerated and used for political purposes.


Beth Mattingly: Director of Research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

The Accordion Family

Feb 3, 2012

For centuries, that transition between teen-hood and adulthood has been accompanied with a newfound independence, where young men and women leave the roost, go to college, buy a house and raise a family.  But according to author Katherine Newman, high unemployment rates, the rise of short-term employment, longer life expectancies and the high cost of living have forced many a young adult back home to live with mom and dad.  They are called 'Accordion Families' and depending on the culture, they're met with a variety of acceptance.  Today we look closer into this new phenomenon called Accord

The Republican presidential campaign has provided the first test of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens’ United” decision which allowed outside groups to spend millions on campaigns. While some decry their power, others say they represent free-and-democratic speech.  We’ll look at this issue and new information on who’s providing Super-Pac dollars.  


In his final address, Governor John Lynch looked back at his legacy as much as he did look forward, but Lynch did underline some key points.  He promised to veto expanded gambling, warned Northern Pass supporters to tread lightly and encouraged a constitutional amendment on education funding. We’ll talk about the speech, play back parts of it and get your thoughts as well.  


New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing to vote on whether adults should have to show a valid I. D. when they vote at the ballot box.  Many other states are now considering these laws as well.  Supporters say it’s all about stamping out fraud, but critics call it an attack on a fundamental right of citizenship. Today we discuss the Voter I.D. issue.


In recent years, New Hampshire's Health and Human Services department has seen deep budget cuts and layoffs,  and is now battling with the state’s hospitals and the U.S. Department of Justice over issues of taxation and patient care.  Leading the way, its commissioner, Nick Toumpas, who was just reappointed for another term last month.  We’ll hear Toumpas’ take on these issues, as well as how the state is handling aspects of the new federal health care law. 


Next week on the Exchange, we begin with New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas and how he’s handling budget cuts and legal challenges.  Then we look at the debates over the state's Voter ID bill and if Granite State adults may need to flash an ID before stepping into the ballot box next election.

We talk to the co-authors of a new book who spent years in the field of  political “opposition research”.   They’re the folks that dig up the dirt and unveil the skeletons on candidates for Presidential on down to the local school board.  It’s a story that involves shady characters, clandestine meetings and piles of documents, all aimed at bringing down your opponent and winning elections.


New Hampshire’s new Transportation Commissioner, Christopher Clement came to the job at a tough time for the department. There were lots of projects on the table but not a lot of money to complete them with.  Today, we talk with him about his priorities and some of the hot topics his department faces from the expansion of I-93 to the debate over rail to those red-listed bridges.  


On Tuesday night President Obama will be making his third State of the Union address to Congress and the American public.  He has progress to announce, the death of Osama bin Laden as well as the ending of war in Iraq but the economy is still stagnant with only little improvements and he'll need to be able to explain that.  The day after the address, we'll listen back to segments of it, see what he said, what he focused on and how the content and tone of his speech may play out to Americans listening, especially in an election year. 


It’s been almost two years since President Obama signed into  law sweeping health care reform called The Affordable Care Act".  Since its passing, its set off legal challenges but also set in motion changes that have taken hold, including requiring coverage for young adults.  We’ll take a look at this law, its progress, its problems, and its prospects, as well as how the political climate affects the debate, especially as President Obama prepares for his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.


The days leading up to the Palmetto state’s primary were a raucous affair with spirited television debates, candidates dropping out, major mud flinging and an inundation of attack ads. Now that the dust has settled, we’ll talk about  who won, who lost, and how this contest shapes the rest of the republican Presidential race. 


For three decades, Gary Hirshberg has been at the helm of one of the Granite state’s largest and most prominent businesses, as well as a leading advocate for both the organic and local food movements  and democratic causes.  Now, Hirshberg is stepping down.  We’ll talk with him about his legacy, how ideas around food have evolved over his time there and what may be next for him.


  • Gary Hirshberg - Chairman, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry.  

Next week on the Exchange, we begin by examining the South Carolina Primary and if the results may re-shape the Republican Presidential campaign.  Then, nearly two years after the Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama, we'll look to see what progress has been made and what major roadblocks lie in its way.  We'll discuss Obama's State of the Union Address, talk roads and bridges and rail, with New Hampshire’s new Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement, and end the week with the authors of a new book exploring the “dark side” of American Politics….opposition researchers w

A decade ago, President Bush signed into this wide-ranging education reform bill into law, which has been hotly debated since. Supporters of No Child Left Behind said it was a “wake up call” for public schools, but opponents said it created a nightmare of paperwork and impossible expectations.  We’ll look at the legacy of NCLB, where its helped the national education system, its challenges and how the Obama White House has approached it.


Raising Keynes

Jan 18, 2012

We explore the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes. His ideas of government spending “priming the pump” during bad times have  been applied by American leaders from FDR to Obama. But Keynsian  theory continue to spark fierce debate – some feel it’s still the best way out of a slump – but others believe this distorts the free-market and that these ideas have run their course.


By zooovro

A new law allows parents who object to certain classroom materials to request alternative coursework for their child.  Governor Lynch vetoed the bill last year, but the legislature recently overrode that veto.  We’ll look at arguments for and against this law, and how school districts may adapt.   


  • J. Scott Moody, Vice President of Policy at Cornerstone Policy Research and Cornerstone Action
  • Rhonda Wesolowski, President of NEA-NH.

We'll also hear from:

We sit down with NPR Media correspondent David Folkenflik. He’s the guy who covers the latest from the news business from the New York Times and Fox News to individual bloggers and small-town papers. And, at times, Folkenflick’s had to report on the blemishes at his own organization.


  • David Folkenflik: NPR Media correspondent.