Alex Blumberg

Alex Blumberg is a contributing editor for NPR's Planet Money. He is also a producer for the public radio program This American Life, and an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University. He has done radio documentaries on the U.S. Navy, people who do impersonations of their mothers and teenage Steve Forbes supporters. He won first place at the 2002 Third Coast International Audio Festival for his story "Yes, There is a Baby." His story on clinical medical ethicists won the 1999 Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) award for best radio documentary.

In 2008, Blumberg collaborated with NPR economics correspondent Adam Davidson on a special This American Life episode about the housing crisis. Called "the greatest explainer ever heard" by noted journalism professor Jay Rosen, the Giant Pool of Money became the inspiration for NPR's Planet Money.

Blumberg has a B.A. from Oberlin College.

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2:48am

Fri March 30, 2012
Planet Money

Senator By Day, Telemarketer By Night

"I think most Americans would be shocked..." - Sen. Dick Durbin.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

This is the first story in a Planet Money series on money in politics. We'll have more this afternoon on All Things Considered, and this weekend on This American Life.

We think of lawmakers having one job: making laws. But there's a second job most lawmakers have to do. And it's a big job.

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11:01pm

Thu January 26, 2012
Planet Money

Jack Abramoff Explains The 'Lobbyist Safecracker Method'

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 9:39 am

Jack Abramoff in 2004. He's the one on the right.
Dennis Cook AP

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been making the rounds lately. He's out of prison. He has a new book. He's in a talkative mood. So I figured it was a good time to ask him about the business of lobbying — not about what he did that was illegal, but about the ordinary, legal stuff.

The firm he worked for was called Greenberg Traurig. I chose a year at random when Abramoff was working there, and picked a client I hoped would be fairly typical. I chose Tyco International, a multinational corporation that in 2003 gave Abramoff's firm $1.3 million.

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1:53am

Fri January 6, 2012
Planet Money

Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 11:17 am

Money goes in. More money comes out.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Corporations don't lobby Congress for fun. They lobby because it helps their bottom line. Getting a regulation gutted or a tax loophole created means extra cash for the corporation. But getting laws changed can be very expensive. How much money does a corporation get back from investing in a good lobbyist?

It's a messy, secretive system so it was always hard to study. But in 2004, economists found a bill so simple, so lucrative, that they could finally track the return on lobbying investment.

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3:17pm

Tue November 22, 2011
Planet Money

The National Debt: What The Left And Right Agree On

Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 10:15 am

Supercommittee members, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.

But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree.

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