High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families

High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families

by Peter Gosselin

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If Americans are so prosperous, why do we feel so insecure?

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If Americans are so prosperous, why do we feel so insecure?

Editorial Reviews

Martha M. Hamilton
You might not expect a book on economic policy to be a page-turner, but Peter Gosselin's High Wire is just that. Gosselin, a national economics reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has written a systematic investigation of the many ways financial risk has been transferred from employers, the federal government and insurance companies to individuals and families. Gosselin shows, in frightening detail, how our lives as Americans have become riskier over the last few decades.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

L.A. Times economics correspondent Gosselin outlines the current economic situation of American families in light of specific policies initiated since the stalled economy of the 1970s. Today, Gosselin finds, fewer households are likely to fall into financial ruin, but those who do experience layoffs, expensive medical problems, foreclosure or other financial strain have a much harder time bouncing back, as old social safety nets have been systematically unraveled. Gosselin argues that in today's economy, families and individuals are assuming an unprecedented amount of financial risk; another aspect of the new economy is that upper-middle class families are at just as much risk as the less well-off. Each chapter takes an in-depth look at a different facet of the economy, healthcare, retirement, education and rebuilding New Orleans among them. Gosselin also discusses "unjobs," short-term and freelance gigs secured by an increasingly desperate labor force, and the new indispensability of two-income households. Though scholarly, Gosselin's writing is effortlessly readable, bolstered by anecdotes from real people facing financial adversity. Packed with insight and understanding, this no-nonsense look at the present and future of the American Dream should be of interest to any wage-earner or salary-man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Gosselin is national economics correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and a member of the paper’s Washington bureau. A visiting fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., he lives with his wife, reporter Robin Toner, and their two children in Washington, D.C.

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