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FDL Book Salon: Tomorrow, 5PM EST/2PM PST, “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class”

51xtkw72xxl_aa240_.jpgTomorrow be sure to join us for our Book Salon discussion with author Robert Frank. The book review and discussion will be led by this person named “Digby.” Maybe you’ve heard of her? She’s a rock star.

The New York Times says this about “Falling Behind:”

What does this societywide arms race for goods have to do with income inequality? Frank trots out sobering data. Between 1949 and 1979, the rising tide of the American economy lifted all boats more or less equally. In fact, the incomes of the bottom 80 percent grew more rapidly than the incomes of the top 1 percent, and those of the bottom 20 percent grew most rapidly of all. But since 1979, gains have flowed disproportionately to top earners. In an economy where the wealthy set the norms for consumption and people at every rung strain to maintain the consumption of those just above them, that spells trouble. In today’s arms race, the top 1 percent are armed to the teeth and everybody else is scavenging for ammunition. Between 1980 and 2001, Frank notes, the median size of new homes in the United States rose from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet, “despite the fact that the median family’s real income had changed little in the intervening years.” The end result? Frank methodically presents data showing that the typical American now works more, saves less, commutes longer and borrows more to maintain what he or she views as an appropriate standard of living.

Oh, and it’s getting worse. . .

[snip]

“Falling Behind” is a compact example of a professional economist brilliantly deploying the tools of social science to illuminate the human condition.

Our own Ian Welsh has previously written compellingly in this community about our new Gilded Age in America. What’s more, this week’s Book Salon represents a great follow up discussion to the brilliantly written, witty and incisive book, “The Trap,” featured in our Book Salon discussion last week.

Be sure to join us for our terrific discussion tomorrow!

Book SalonCommunity

FDL Book Salon: Tomorrow, 5PM EST/2PM PST, “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class”

51xtkw72xxl_aa240_.jpgTomorrow be sure to join us for our Book Salon discussion with author Robert Frank. The book review and discussion will be led by this person named “Digby.” Maybe you’ve heard of her? She’s a rock star.

The New York Times says this about “Falling Behind:”

What does this societywide arms race for goods have to do with income inequality? Frank trots out sobering data. Between 1949 and 1979, the rising tide of the American economy lifted all boats more or less equally. In fact, the incomes of the bottom 80 percent grew more rapidly than the incomes of the top 1 percent, and those of the bottom 20 percent grew most rapidly of all. But since 1979, gains have flowed disproportionately to top earners. In an economy where the wealthy set the norms for consumption and people at every rung strain to maintain the consumption of those just above them, that spells trouble. In today’s arms race, the top 1 percent are armed to the teeth and everybody else is scavenging for ammunition. Between 1980 and 2001, Frank notes, the median size of new homes in the United States rose from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet, “despite the (more…)

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Pachacutec

Pachacutec

Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.

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