Who Stole the American Dream?

Who Stole the American Dream?

eBook - 2012
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Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith's new book is an extraordinary achievement, an eye-opening account of how, over the past four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas.

In his bestselling The Russians, Smith took millions of readers inside the Soviet Union. In The Power Game, he took us inside Washington's corridors of power. Now Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America. As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell's provocative memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today.

This is a book full of surprises and revelations--the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for many; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter; how the New Economy disrupted America's engine of shared prosperity, the "virtuous circle" of growth, and how America lost the title of "Land of Opportunity." Smith documents the transfer of $6 trillion in middle-class wealth from homeowners to banks even before the housing boom went bust, and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America's economic growth.

This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn't looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.

Smith talks to a wide range of people, telling the stories of Americans high and low. From political leaders such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to CEOs such as Al Dunlap, Bob Galvin, and Andy Grove, to heartland Middle Americans such as airline mechanic Pat O'Neill, software systems manager Kristine Serrano, small businessman John Terboss, and subcontractor Eliseo Guardado, Smith puts a human face on how middle-class America and the American Dream have been undermined.

This magnificent work of history and reportage is filled with the penetrating insights, provocative discoveries, and the great empathy of a master journalist. Finally, Smith offers ideas for restoring America's great promise and reclaiming the American Dream.

Praise for Who Stole the American Dream?

"[A] sweeping, authoritative examination of the last four decades of the American economic experience." --The Huffington Post

"Some fine work has been done in explaining the mess we're in. . . . But no book goes to the headwaters with the precision, detail and accessibility of Smith." --The Seattle Times

"Sweeping in scope . . . [Smith] posits some steps that could alleviate the problems of the United States." --USA Today

"Brilliant . . . [a] remarkably comprehensive and coherent analysis of and prescriptions for America's contemporary economic malaise." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Smith enlivens his narrative with portraits of the people caught up in events, humanizing complex subjects often rendered sterile in economic analysis. . . . The human face of the story is inseparable from the history." --Reuters
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2012.
ISBN: 9780679604648
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: eBiblioFile
OverDrive, Inc

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fajardo61
Apr 28, 2017

big banks!
Seems like alan greenspan wasn't telling the truth all the time most of the time, including Ben Bernake, and Janet Yellen!
You think this was the reason Andrew Jackson didn't want to re-up Bank Charters in 1832?
Perhaps he saw this problem coming!

bgv69 Jun 07, 2015

It should be read by anyone who is on self-directed RRSP in Canada. It spells out a lot of the trends which are hidden by the day-to-day news and have been impacting retirement, job creation and social policies. If you want to read more about the current society then I will recommend Crystia Freeland - Plutocrats.

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erinsnest
Sep 11, 2013

Sept 9, 2013....Just spent the last month or so slogging through this book. It was worth it though, very eye opening, just a little heavy on politics for me. Our library system does not have a copy yet, a friend twigged me to it, but his copy was on his e-reader, so he could not lend it to me (ah!, a downside to e-readers!) so I ordered it through my library, and got the copy from the University of Alberta. How cool is that! Libraries rock! Anyway, if you want to know what's happening to the middle class dream, read this book. You will be enlightened. (and if you live in Canada, like I do, you will be a little enriched as to how American politics works, not that it's the most interesting subject in the world, just maybe a good little tidbit of info to have under your belt.) Oh, and StarGladiator, your comment goes WAY over my head!

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StarGladiator
Apr 15, 2013

[Update, 5/7/2017: The author was at a Seattle Town Hall gathering, giving a pretty good talk, but, he still isn't descriptive enough. E.g., he mentions that a valid number for the jobs offshored by those // free trade agreements \\ is 5 million - - correct, but one must include the fact that each job, as a conservative estimate, supported at least 3 other jobs [i.e., restaurant, deli, dry cleaners, et cetera - - as an example, when my small company of 100 was purchased and the jobs offshored by the new owner, a nearby sandwich shop and restaurant and dry cleaners next went out of business as their local customer base vanished] so adding that to the number of disappeared jobs and one comes up with 20 million jobs gooooooonnnneeee!]
If they CEOs are to blame, how come a bad JPMorgan Chase CEO is replaced with a crooked Jamie Dimon? Ditto for Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, BankofAmerica, Citigroup, etc.? There was never any "American Dream" that was the psychobabble pushed by the disinformation specialists on THEIR media outlets. Who owns JPMorgan Chase? Morgan Stanley? GE? AT&T? Citigroup? Bank of America? Most Americans are clueless who even owns their place of employment or rental property. Ten out of ten Americans had no idea the LIBOR case was dismissed, nor even that there was a LIBOR trial? Economic democracy has yet to exist, and that should be the ultimate goal.

voisjoe1 Feb 25, 2013

My MBA included discussion of minimum wage, unions and corporate responsibility for the worker and community welfare. In the 50’s to 70’s, CEO’s like Bob Galvin of Motorola (where I worked for 24 years) believed that workers were, in essence, a family, and what is good for the family is good for the company. CEO’s, like Dunlop, on the other hand, believes workers are just a commodity and that their only purpose was to increase the value of the corporate stock. The result of the takeover by such CEO’s has led to the greatest inequality since the 20’s and now we have a society where America is split egregiously between the 1% who own enormously and the 99% who owe enormously. There is some hope in 2013, as de Blasio, elected mayor of New York, will implement a 5 year plan tor raise the taxes on incomes of $500,000 by $1000 (incomes of a billion would have a tax increase of a million of which there are plenty on Wall Street) and this money would be spent on universal pre-school and universal after-school programs for middle-schoolers). Howling will come from Fox News and Limbeckity that taxes on the 1% should be reduced not increased. They will say that benefits to kids is just a waste of money.

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