The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2007 - Political Science - 337 pages
11 Reviews
The incomes of most Americans today are static or declining. Tens of millions of workers are newly vulnerable to layoffs and outsourcing. Health care and retirement burdens are increasingly being shifted from employers to individuals. Two-income families find they are working longer hours for lower wages, with decreased social support. As wealth has become more concentrated, the economy has become more recklessly speculative, jeopardizing not only the prospects of ordinary Americans, but the solvency of the entire system. What links these trends, writes Robert Kuttner in this provocative, engaging, and necessary book, is the consolidation of political and economic power by a narrow elite, who blocks the ability of government to restore broad prosperity to the majority of citizens.

Kuttner—one of our most lucid economic critics—explores the roots of these problems and outlines a persuasive, bold alternative. InBusinessWeek,The Boston Globe, andThe American Prospect, he has established himself as a prophetic voice connecting economics and politics. Here he demonstrates how our economy has fallen hostage to a casino of financial speculation, creating instability as well as inequality. He debunks alarmist claims about supposed economic hazards, such as Social Security and Medicare, and exposes the genuine dangers: hedge funds and private equity run amok, sub-prime lenders, Wall Street middlemen, and America’s dependence on foreign central banks. He describes how globalization of commerce has been used by business less to promote free trade than to escape the balanced regulation that delivered widespread abundance in the decades after World War II.

While our financial security has weakened under President George W. Bush, Kuttner also faults many Democrats for failing to offer compelling alternatives. Now, with financial markets in crisis and public opinion supporting a more active role for government, he offers a new model of managed capitalism that can deliver security and opportunity, and rekindle democracy as a check on concentrated wealth.

Here is a passionate, articulate naming of the problem and a call for reform.The Squandering of Americasets out a path for reclaiming our democratic politics—and our prosperity.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oslib - LibraryThing

†The Squandering of America is an extraordinarily compelling argument for increased financial regulation and managed capitalism and is highly recommended for public, government, and academic libraries ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gmicksmith - LibraryThing

Attracted by the title, I wonder if Kuttner will be criticizing the Obama administration to the same extent as he has the Bush administration; likewise, I am curious to see if he is chary of ... Read full review

Contents

Failures of Politics
3
A Hidden Depression
16
The Assault on the Good Society
44
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Robert Kuttner is a founder and coeditor ofThe American Prospectmagazine, aBoston Globecolumnist, a radio and TV commentator, and a contributor to many magazines. He wrote a column forBusinessWeekfor twenty years. His most recent books areEverything for SaleandThe End of Laissez-Faire.

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