From the Publisher
Think it can't happen to you? Read Mooney's book . . . . then think again . . . An alarming and important book, which should bring readers out of ignorance, embarrassment or bewilderment and into harsh enlightenment.-—Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Seattle Times
"An excellent analysis of the problems facing the large and important professional middle class."—Booklist
"With great empathy and infectious alarm, Nan Mooney charts the travails of America's middle class in this important book."—Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt
"If you're wondering why, in our age of plenty, the financial treadmill keeps moving faster and faster for America's increasingly educated-and increasingly insecure-middle class, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It's all here: the big trends, the compelling portraits, the ideas for personal and political change, and the call to arms we so desperately need." —Jacob S. Hacker, author of The Great Risk Shift
"We hear a lot about the runaway wealth of American professionals. In this important book, Nan Mooney reminds us that most have no such luck. Working in jobs they love provides a sense of moral worth but doesn't cover the bills for teachers, legal aid lawyers, practicing artists, and others. Something has gone wrong in America, and this book gives us a grip on the crisis." —Katherine Newman, coauthor of The Missing Class and the Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton
Young people who were raised to believe that a college education guarantees them a spot in the middle class are instead grappling with rising levels of debt, stagnant wages and ballooning basic expenses, argues Mooney (I Can't Believe She Did That) in this affecting but thinly researched jeremiad. Mooney suggests that college graduates who choose creative or service professions, such as journalism, teaching and social work, generally find themselves in low-paying jobs that, paradoxically, require high-priced educations and even graduate degrees. The struggle to pay off student loans sets off a spiral of financial insecurity, as these educated professionals face escalating costs for housing, health insurance and child care. It's an interesting observation, but Mooney often doesn't delve deeply enough to create a true thesis; she does not fully examine the expectations that motivate graduates' decisions to choose to teach-their desire for meaningful work even at the expense of upward mobility-or their reluctance to leave expensive urban areas. Where Mooney backs up her points with solid research, she makes persuasive arguments, but she occasionally offers unsubstantiated generalizations and relies on research culled from interviews rather than hard data. For a more comprehensive treatment of this sobering trend, readers should turn to Warren and Tyagi's The Two-Income Trap or Up to Our Eyeballs, by analysts from liberal think tank Demos.
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