If you want to prepare yourself for the inevitable election year discussions/arguments with your right-wing uncle or tea party neighbor about the nation’s economy and how we got into the ditch that we’re finally driving out of, check out Failure by Design: The Story Behind America’s Broken Economy.
Named last month by The Washington Post as one of the best political books of 2011, it is a broad narrative of how the economy has failed to deliver for most Americans over much of the past three decades. Says author Josh Bivens, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI):
Over the past 30 years we’ve seen this rapid increase in inequality in the U.S. economy with more and more of economic growth going to a smaller and smaller slice of the people. None of that was an accident…it was not just something that happened….It happened because we very much changed the policy of the U.S. economy.
He says the policies that were put into place—including “an all assault on the right of workers to organize”—guaranteed “that the already rich got an ever increasing share of economic growth.” In other words, those policies sowed the seeds that grew into the 99 percent.