“If we don’t wake up soon, middle America will again end up paying the lion’s share to get us out of our economic fix and the wealthy will sail through with little of the heavy lifting.”
That message is typical of what we’ve been hearing from our readers since we began writing about the ongoing economic assault on the middle class by Washington and Wall Street.
As we announced earlier on this blog, we’ve launched a project to show how public and private policies are hurting millions of hard-working Americans, a subject we first wrote about in our series called America: What Went
Wrong? in 1991. Our new work, and our partnership with American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop, is described at
At the end of this post you’ll find links to recent articles we’ve published about the causes of job loss, why U.S. manufacturing is in such dire straits, how corporations rig the tax code in their favor, and other subjects. Many of these stories will be told in more detail in a new book we’re writing, The Betrayal: How the American Dream Was Destroyed, to be published by Public Affairs.
Some say that Americans are apathetic and disinterested in the nation’s direction, but we’re finding the opposite – men and women across the country tell us that they’re deeply worried about the direction of our country and frustrated by Washington’s failure to grasp the seriousness of the economic problems that affect most Americans. People understand what’s happening, but they can’t understand why Washington is turning a blind eye.
The reason, of course, is all too obvious: Washington is owned by Wall Street and those with the money to buy what they want and block reforms that would bolster the middle class and more than 90 percent of the population. The result is a series of public policies specifically created over the last three decades to bolster the fortunes of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
We’ve been heartened by reader response to our recent articles and would like to share with you a few of the comments we’re receiving:
“None of our politicians seem to either understand or maybe simply care about what is happening. Neither political party seems to understand what is really wrong. Their proposed solutions will only make matters worse.”
” the definition of insanity is selling out the country over and over again and expecting different results.”
“ The irony is that our market power is now so diminished, and our indebtedness so exorbitant, that we may have few levers left. But it is never too late to reorient our thinking and to correct a sustained injustice to our citizens.”“I am a retiree who was well paid, was never laid off, and saved for a comfortable retirement. I am one of the people who could and should pay a little more in a more just world.”
“This country is a complete mess, and only a (non-violent) revolution by the middle class can save it.”
We’ve also heard from many readers about their personal situations — their frustration over finding a job, how they send multiple resumes that are never answered, how their education and training are going to waste as the country ships more and more jobs offshore, and how difficult it is to make ends meet with their savings being depleted by medical emergencies and everyday living expenses.
In the months ahead we will continue to explore these issues–what is happening and why. As we did 20 years ago in America: What Went Wrong? we will look at the economy from the bottom up rather than the traditional top-down approach used by politicians, their advisers, economists and some of the news media.
Each new article will be posted on www.americawhatwentwrong.org and simultaneously published by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which first published America: What Went Wrong?”
The stories to date:
“Tax Time: Are American Corporations Paying Their Share?
“Programming Jobs Fall, Despite Labor Department’s Outlook.”
“Lost Jobs: Why Fixing The Trade Deficit Matters Most.”
“Vets Hit Hard By Foreclosure in Florida.”
“American Steal: How U.S. Steelworkers Lost to China.”
“As Apple Grew, American Workers Left Behind.”
You can post a comment here if you like. If you would prefer to communicate with us directly or confidentially, please write us at one of the addresses below:
To send an e-mail to both of us:
Or by mail to:
What Went Wrong
Investigative Reporting Workshop
3201 New Mexico Ave. NW # 249
Washington, DC 20016-2723
We will keep you informed as the work goes forward.
Don Barlett Jim Steele
By Don and Jim on 12.9.11