In honor of Election Day, our latest Freakonomics Radio installment on Marketplace asks a question that might make a few political heads explode: how much does the President of the United States really matter?
Sure, he’s the “leader of the free world” – but how much unalloyed power does he actually have? Is he more puppet-master, pulling every string, or Wizard of Oz, the symbol of power?
You’ll hear from the Wharton economist (and Brookings Institution scholar) Justin Wolfers; the “baseball economist” J.C. Bradbury; and Bernadette Meyler, a constitutional law professor at Cornell Law School. Wolfers, for one, thinks that at the moment Olympia Snowe is just as powerful as President Obama.