Ezra Klein Interviews Arthur Brooks

by Michael R. Strain

Ezra Klein interviewed AEI president Arthur Brooks for Vox’s “The Weeds” podcast. You can find the entire interview here, on AEI’s site.

Think Tank Watch pulled some of their favorite quotes from the interview. Below are some of my favorite of their favorites.

Arthur Brooks: “Think tanks are an industry that grew out of academia and academia is the dowdiest possible way of making a living.”

Arthur Brooks: “We don’t have any corporate positions at AEI…in fact, we bring in people who don’t share our mission precisely to ‘murder board’ our ideas.”

Arthur Brooks: “Half of economists [at AEI] think a carbon tax is good and half think it is bad…you should hear them yelling in the hall.”

Arthur Brooks: “We do 350 events per year [at AEI.]  We invite people who disagree with our view.  We regularly have people from the Center for American Progress (CAP) and give them the podium.”

Ezra Klein: “And you [AEI] are known for having the best food.” 

Arthur Brooks: “You often hear ‘center-right AEI’ but there is no qualifier for liberal think tanks like Brookings.  And there is a tendency [by the media] to stick a finger in stuff by the center-right.”

Ezra Klein: “Arthur Brooks is a snappy dresser and his think tank really matters…he is now wearing a huge, cool silver watch and big, colorful cuff links.  You are, I think it is fair to say, the nattiest of the think tank executives I know.”

The entire podcast is really worth a listen.

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