Let’s suppose, for a moment, there was a country where the people in charge charted a course that eliminated millions of good-paying jobs. Suppose they gave away several million more jobs to other nations. Finally, imagine that the people running this country implemented economic policies that enabled those at the very top to grow ever richer while most others grew poorer. You wouldn’t want to live in such a place, would you? Too bad. You already do.
Those are the words of this week’s guests, DON BARLETT and JIM STEELE.
These are some of the consequences of failed U.S. government policies that have been building over the last three decades – the same policies that people in Washington today are intent on keeping or expanding…Most significant of all, the American dream of the last half-century has been revoked for millions of people – a dream rooted in a secure job, a home in the suburbs, the option for families to live on one income rather than two, a better life than your parents had and a still better life for your children.
Barlett and Steele wrote these words in 1992. They are the first words of their Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which led to the #1 best-selling book, America: What Went Wrong. They put their finger on things and connected dots that really established a lens through which to view the next 20 years. The point of view of the 99% movement is basically the one Barlett and Steele described and predicted at the birth of the Clinton era.
JACOB HACKER the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, is the author of The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream and The Divided Welfare State. PAUL PIERSON is Professor of Political Science and holder of the Avice Saint Chair of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Politics in Time, Dismantling the Welfare State? Together they are authors of Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy as well as WINNER-TAKE-ALL POLITICS.
Last week I interviewed longtime reporters Don Barlett and James Steele regarding their new book, THE BETRAYAL OF THE AMERICAN DREAM, looking at the relentless economic, financial, and governmental process over the last 40 years to enrich the largest corporations and richest individuals at the expense of the middle class. This week I’ll talk with another wise and experienced Pulitzer prize winner with a long term perspective, HEDRICK SMITH, about his newest book, WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence nor do I think it’s redundant to turn so soon to the same questions being pursued by another savvy journalist. HEDRICK SMITH had already won a Pulitzer by 1973, the year that the post-WWII boom for the middle class began to wane. Real wages for all Americans had risen pretty consistently from the war years, and have done so almost not at all ever since. I point this out to highlight the fact that Smith has witnessed first-hand the rise and long fall of the middle class and brings that experience to this book and this conversation.
HOW DO WE OCCUPY THE GAP?
ELISE WHITAKER, Action Committee, OccupyLA
DAVID DeGRAW, OWSnews.org, AmpedStatus.com
TODD GITLIN, The Sixties; Letters to a Young Activist
SARAH VAN GELDER, YES magazine,
editor, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
I have invited four guests to have a conversation about the movement referred to as the Occcupy movement, the Occupy Wall Street movement, or the 99% movement. From a group of people encamping in New York city September 17th, to affiliated actions or camps in 900 cities in the US and the world, through the removal of most of the physical camps — where do we stand now, where do we go from here?
I will ask for a brief update of status reports from around the country and then I want to explore the impact so far, its meaning, its prospects, its challenges and possibilities. How does OWS/99% interact with other movements and other political entities, including the 2012 elections and the Democratic party? How much of our hopes can we fulfill through this movement? How wide can it be? How far can it go? And what will it demand of us?
SARAH VAN GELDER is co-founder and Executive Editor of YES! Magazine and YesMagazine.org. She was a television and radio producer, a community organizer, founder of a cooperative of food co-ops, and a founding board member and resident of Winslow Cohousing. She is editor with the staff of YES Magazine of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement.
TODD GITLIN, a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph. D. program in Communications at Columbia University, holds degrees from Harvard University, University of Michigan, and UC Berkeley (sociology). Giltin was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society in 1963-64, and is the author of fourteen books, including, and Letters to a Young Activist; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; aND The Whole World Is Watching. He gave three lectures on media, revolutions, and democracy as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo between March 23 and 29 of this year.
DAVID DeGRAW is an investigative journalist, founder and editor of AmpedStatus.com, as well as OWSnews.org, formerly editorial director of MediaChannel.org, and author of The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States. In DeGraw’s expanded “reports” he piles on (amply footnoted) data with a relentless fury that makes a reader want to cry uncle. Then he connects the dots, building a narrative that makes clear “uncle” is not an option. DeGraw’s challenge: Will we the people come together to take on our common enemies – the economic elites who have stolen our money, our media, and our democracy – before they steal our future?”