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The Betrayal of the American Dream
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The Betrayal of the American Dream

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  46 reviews
America’s unique prosperity is based on its creation of a middle class. In the twentieth century, that middle class provided the workforce, the educated skills, and the demand that gave life to the world’s greatest consumer economy. It was innovative and dynamic; it eclipsed old imperial systems and colonial archetypes. It gave rise to a dream: that if you worked hard and...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by PublicAffairs (first published June 26th 2012)
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Earl
Evils of capitalism unchecked. This is not your American capitalists - the pirate barons, John Jacob Astor, Bill Gates, who build an empire by bulldozing all opponents and become obscenely rich. No, this is the new capitalism - multinational corporations + Wall St. + US Congress, the Unholy Trio (my name for them). Author recounts many horror stories of ruined lives and towns due to outsourcing of American jobs and the creation of a 'ruling class' in the US by tax changes since 1950. He does not...more
Debbie Evancic
Reading this book was both inspiring and depressing. It gives example after example of how our government is not on the side of the middle class and that the American Dream is not what it once was in a previous generation.

In reading this book, you come to realize that our parents have it best, having both Social Security and their pensions. Our generation (those born in the 50s), are in danger of having the pension we worked so hard on taken away from us. Our children have possibly a worse fate....more
Sheryl Sorrentino
This was one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. Even if only half of what Barlett and Steele have to say is true, we are seriously screwed.

Being 50 years old, I have seen firsthand what has been happening to the middle class in this country. Barlett and Steele lay out the myriad reasons for this: Tax inequity, job outsourcing, trade imbalances, deregulation, and failure to enforce the laws against the very wealthy and the multinational corporations they control. Rather than...more
Aaron
Absorbing, enraging, clear-eyed, aggressive, eye-opening, tremendous -- everything you want in a book that takes on perhaps the biggest economic catastrophe of our times ... yes, the Great Recession qualifies as that catastrophe, but the systematic evisceration of the American middle class that Barlett and Steele document here was decades in the making and continues apace ... so, frankly, it truly is the long-running (Long Emergency? as JHK might describe it) cataclysmic economic event, with the...more
David Stephens
In Betrayal of the American Dream, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele contend that the middle class has been, and continues to be, hollowed out by a corporate ruling class that is able to buy politicians. They go as far as to say that "We are no longer the democracy we once were. We have become a plutocracy in which the few enact programs that promote their narrow interest at the expense of the many." To back up these assertions, they go through pl...more
Irus
Aug 19, 2012 Irus rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. Truly the "dream," which existed for our grandparents ended with our parents, and only now are we realizing we have been sold a bill of goods. The path the US is on is not sustainable. Eventually the country will collapse upon itself. The president claims the entire world envies us. Really? I'm looking for a way out.
Jouni Valkonen
Jan 14, 2014 Jouni Valkonen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: For those who already share Occupy WallSt. ideology
Book is not very well written and rather than being constructive, it is overly political and polarizing. It does not even try to reason with the Enemy. This kind of political rant is not very good approach, because not all in the Enemy camp are thomasfriedmans who are absolutists and often religiously motivated to drive their free market agenda. Most of the people in the Enemy camp are simply ignorant and for those less polarizing and less demonizing and more fact driven approach would be more e...more
Erin
Aug 07, 2012 Erin marked it as to-read
Heard authors interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition. Sounds like an interesting read.
Daniel
A very depressing book. The middle class seems to be doomed in this book. Globalisation, deregulation, congress, the rich, all other countries that have a trade surplus with America and even misguided economists are all going to destroy the middle class in America. The author seems to suggest that the good old days are indeed good. They suggest that we should tax the rich more, and retaliate against countries that have free trade agreements with America but actually restrict their products' sale...more
Joanna
It took me a long time to finish this book, because every time I picked it up I became so depressed I had to put it down again. A simple and easy-to-read overview of what we all know to be true: wages stagnated, good jobs evaporated, and the financial crisis was initiated by the actions of the mega rich, whether they be corporate raiders like our current presidential candidate, unscrupulous hedge fund managers or multinational corporations with their collective eyes only on the bottom line.

Aidi...more
Jeremiah
This book made me both extremely angry and quite sad (like my ex-wife). It's an easy read, it isn't very complex or even organized that well, but let me briefly summarize. Multinational corporations and the 99% own America. You don't think so Mr. Smartypants? Well, in 1955 the effective tax rate for the top 400 families was 51.2%. In 2007 it was a jaw dropping 16.6%. Isn't it funny how someone making $400,000 dollars can pay the same tax as someone making $40 million dollars? And isn't it funny...more
Todd Janko
This gives quite the depressing and realistic view of the state of the American economy and the current workforce. Face it people, we are all f&&krd, as the continual decline of what use to make up the true meat and potatoes of this country-the middle class turns into the poor class. Eventually, if this continues, there are two things that can or will happen 1) do nothing about and watch the greedy one percent rule the earth as the government puts continual sanctions on are individual ri...more
Katie
This is another one that makes for better speech or pamphlet/sound-bite material than a full book for me. It just doesn't have the in-depth analysis that I desire from deciding to read a whole book on a political topic. In hindsight, I feel like I should have realized what to expect, especially given that it has no real bibliographic resources, just a short end chapter about sources. Now, I am not accusing the authors of misrepresenting their facts. There are sections addressing items I've recen...more
Chuck Thomas
Barlett and Steele offer a detailed examination of American politics of the last 40 years as it relates to the ever growing gap in wealth between the elite and the middle class. The authors dive into multiple areas that they deem the most influential in the weakening of the middle class and the rise of the ultra rich. Those areas are: U.S. trade imbalance, tax policies favoring the wealthy, and the investment in corporations that outsource American jobs to cheap labor areas around the world. At...more
Dave Kalach
I thought this book gave a good solid explanation of what has been going on in the economy for the last 30 years. The destruction of manufacturing in this country over that time is appalling. Both political parties contributed to the demise. It seems large multinational corporations call the shots in this country. They have been steadfast in promoting free trade. The authors show who has suffered from free trade policies and who has benefited. Millions of jobs have left the U.S.A. to China, Indi...more
Joshua
A shocking expose of the role played by the United States government and multinational corporations in hollowing out the American middle class over the last thirty years.
Meepspeeps
This was a mostly depressing and shallow book. Given the stature of the authors, I was surprised. One graph could often have substituted for their words, which would have allowed the words to provide analysis and perhaps address why peeps often act against their own best interests. For example, if there were popular support for infrastructure investment, there would be many, many more jobs right now. The last chapter offered either political nonstarters or anecdotes to "restore the American drea...more
Jeffrey
Strident and not a little angry, some of the examples in this scathing screed by Barlett and Steele - multiple Pulitzer Prize winning reporters - feel a bit cherry picked, but its thrust is poignant and - for many of us - entirely congruent with our own experiences. It's saved from being a polemic by the final section "Restoring the American Dream", which offers reasonable, clear and pragmatic recommendations to counter the malaise so painfully described throughout the rest of the book.
Patrick
Another brilliantly written, scrupulously researched and absolutely thoroughly depressing book by Bartlett and Steele of the Philadelphia Inquirer. A review of how big business has captured the government and now uses them to destroy the American economy, industry by industry, in the name of short term profit. Plenty of good evidence on the scam of "free trade," where the US plays by rules that other countries flout with impunity. Read it and get angry, then do something about it.
Gordon Gauss
Before you read this book try to put your politics aside. Republican or Democrat it doesn't really matter who you tend to side with. The truth that comes out in this book is that it is Washington that is our biggest problem. Both parties are guilty of steering our country in the wrong direction. I had to agree with one of the people affected by what's happening now. She said, "The last time something like this was happening there was a revolution." Read it and draw your own opinions.
David
There is something about books in the genre of political activism that stirs the deepest part of our beings. It does not matter if it comes from the extreme right or far left or from a more moderate position, some of us feel compelled to read them. Donald Barlett and James Steele’s newest entry, The Betrayal of the American Dream, is one of those must-read books.

Read the entire review at http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/revie...
Melvin Pedersen
A wonderful book with an opinionated, but honest.
I'm reading "Al Gore, The Future, Six Drivers of Global Change".
Al Gore seems to takes things like, the outsourcing of jobs to other countries, a little more in stride, like a transition into a different way, that's going to be transitioned again.
The author, Donald L. Barlett, certainly opens up a political can of worms.
Any one interested in what's going on in Washington would like this book.
Alicia
I could only get to chapter 2 of this depressing book. Only reading it for book discussion. Okay. I finished it. Read it on the kindle checked out of the library. About 78% of the book was story after story of people losing jobs to outsourcing. Then they got into what could be done to turn things around. It was a depressing read. I'm not real sure that the changes they suggested would be realistic or ever get implemented.
Diane S.
I don't read many books dealing with politics as a subject, but feel that since this election is an important one I need to be better informed. I also believe that when dealing with any such subject the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. Found this book to be very informative and even if it is only half true it is still very frightening to the growth and strength of our country.
Rachel Jacobs
A great read on the failed economic and trade policies over the last few decades that has led to our current economic crisis. Points are well made and based in fact. Some things will leave you angered but you will come out with a better understanding of where we are and how we got here.
Georgianne Potts
Regardless of political preferences, this should be mandatory reading for every American. It does a great job of explaining the events that have eaten away at the middle class for the last 30 plus years! And it's not going to get any better unless policies are changed!!
Jessica
This was a book group selection for me, so I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own. It is written very matter of factly and is relentlessly depressing. If you keep up to date with economic news through other media sources, this book will likely prove redundant.
Kelly
A real eye opener. So much goes on in the world and in the busyness of life, you don't stop to notice or think about. Surprising insight into what and who is behind the scenes in our country today.

Cristóbal Delozier
I had thoughts of throwing the book against the wall a few times as I read about the new-age robber-barons. But, since it was a book from the library, I didn't. I wouldn't be able to afford the fine.
Megan Norman
Great book. Easy to read and in simple examples shows how Republicans, Democrats and the Economic Elite together really are to blame for the shrinking middle class and the damage it does to our society.
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