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The United States Since 1980 (The World Since 1980) Paperback – 31 May 2007
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'Dean Baker is one of our most cogent economic thinkers. This is must reading.' Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect
'This concise, extremely readable, and insightful book is now the one best account of just how dramatically the United States has turned right in the past 25 years compared to other industrialized democracies. In particular, it provides an incisive analysis of the cascading series of cutbacks and policy changes that have led to increasing income inequality and job insecurity for the overwhelming majority of Americans.' G. William Domhoff, author of Who Rules America
'Dean Baker superbly narrates the great right turn in American politics over the past 25 years and explains the profound economic consequences with clarity. The conservative era has generated enormous vulnerabilities and inequalities that are now bearing down on American life.' William Greider, national affairs correspondent for The Nation and author of The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
'In a vividly written, remarkably inclusive narrative, Dean Baker makes sense of contemporary history. He is particularly insightful about America's changing political economy in global context. There is no better book on this vital topic.' Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
'… a highly readable and concise overview of economic and political developments in the US in the last quarter century.' Transfer
This book, first published in 2007, describes the sharp right turn the United States has taken following the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. The treatment details how the policies pursued by the Reagan administration were a break from both the policies pursued by prior administrations and those pursued in other wealthy countries.See all Product description
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Clearly the rich benefit more from tax cuts than anyone else. Say you make $25,000 a year, which would put you above the poverty line in 1980. That gives you a little over $2080 a month to live on, which, in 1980, was possible, depending on where you lived. But if you pay 15% in taxes, you're going to lose $512 per month to Uncle Sam. Wish you could keep it? Of course. $512 a month means a lot to you.
Now say you're making $25,000,000 a year. Uncle Sam is clipping you for more than 50% of that. But that still leaves you with $12,500,000 a year to live on. That's a million dollars a month. If your taxes get lowered to 35%, that gives you an additional $350,000 a month. A lot of money, sure, but you're not going to miss it as much as the guy who's making $25,000 misses his extra $512. And you're not going to miss it nearly as much as Uncle Sam, who's trying to fund programs that benefit, not just the middle class, but everyone, including the rich: education, infrastructure, public works.
Oh, but you're going to invest your tax windfall in job creation, right? Sure, job creation -- in Korea, or India, or China, or Outer Mongolia. If, since 1980, you've been investing in anything that benefits the average American, I would sure like to see what it is. If it's such a good idea to lower taxes and do away with government regulations, then why, after thirty years, do we still need to do more of it? It's like trying to cure a headache by beating your head against a wall. Still got a headache? Well, that just means you haven't done it enough.
This book will open your eyes, not just to what happened to taxes after Reagan, but what happened to labor unions, to health care, to education (did you know that state funded universities used to be FREE?) and to the banking industry. And for all their talk about reducing government spending, the neocons managed to explode the deficit. The only difference is, it was the middle class, rather than the rich, who got stuck with the bill.
I'm a huge Dean Baker fan. Most economists are slaves to their perspectives. It's really hard to get good economic and fiscal views outside the corporate American view. Baker allows us to be free.
Baker predicts a recession this year because of the housing bubble. Lets see how accurate he is. I'm betting on Baker. Don't bank on the Wall Street guys, they seem more interested in protecting their clients than getting you truth.
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