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Publishers WeeklyLabor journalist Pizzigati (Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives) brings a distinctly progressive sensibility to his examination of the economic history of 20th-century America. Beginning with historian Frederick Lewis Allen's observation that between 1900 and 1950 the super-rich vanished from the United States, Pizzigati traces the economic policies and political decisions that led to this diminishment, and then applies the same methods to the recent return of the "Big Rich." "Our overall economic output has doubled over the last thirty years, yet our middle class families are reeling, and our numbers of desperately poor families are rising to record levels by modern standards." Pizzigati reviews the introduction and evolution of estate and income taxes, FDR's proposed income cap, the immediate post-WWII "economic turmoil," and the Treaty of Detroit that balanced good benefits for auto workers with labor peace for auto makers. All this helped create the "middle class golden age" of the 1950s and 1960s. Though some readers may disagree with Pizzigati's take on history, his suggestions for ways to increase economic equality—such as "tying our maximum tax rate to the minimum wage so the wealthy have an interest in preventing poverty"—deserve discussion.
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