Medicaid expansion saved Obamacare from repeal. There’s a lot to hate about Obamacare, but that expansion did something very good on a very large scale — and it made just enough Republicans very nervous about taking it away. It's an important lesson about economic policy generally: the more universal a program is, the greater the number of Americans who become advocates for its preservation — a fact conservatives know and fear thanks to Medicare and Social Security but that many liberals don't.

Today, my guest is Matt Bruenig, a writer who is one of most incisive analysts of poverty, inequality and welfare systems, and the political conflicts that surround them.