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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Peter Gosselin predicted in High Wire that the American worker would take on an exceedingly high level of risk in the American economy, and would be ever more exposed to the volatility of the market. Today, Gosselin's worst fears have been realized. American families are walking a high wire in which a medical crisis, a natural disaster, or the loss of a job could send them into free fall. And as the housing crisis worsens and banks and insurers collapse, many have already fallen. High Wire reveals the quiet corrosion of American living standards and shows how the “ownership society” has turned into the “on-your-own society”—with devastating consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786744497
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 06/09/2009
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 817 KB

About 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.

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Introduction     1
Benefits     35
The Numbers     79
Jobs     109
Unjobs     141
The Poor     165
Housing     187
Education     217
Health     233
Retirement     255
New Orleans     283
Conclusion     307
Methods     325
Acknowledgments     331
Notes     335
Index     367

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High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ddonahue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Illustrates the fine line between apparent financial security and ruin. Documents the exit of business and even the Federal and State governments from providing a financial and medical safety net to families facing financial and/or medical ruin. A condemnation of the "ownership" society. Illustrates the pitfalls of the "two income" family--the income is really one, and it is cut in half when the two-worker arrangement is endangered or destroyed by illness, divorce, childbirth (all common family upheavals) or unemployment. See also the comments about this book voiced in NYRB Fall 2008.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Peter Gosselin discusses real problems that American families face today, especially those of the working poor. However, he views the past nostalgically. Nostalgia can be comforting, as you retreat from an uncomfortable present to a better past. You imagine former times as simpler, richer and nobler than the reality with which you struggle each day. But people of the past faced problems, too, and those led them to make the choices that resulted in the current situation. Gosselin sincerely wishes to improve society. His perspective is progressive. Politically conservative readers may fear that his solution would turn more of the U.S. economy over to the control of politicians and bureaucrats, concentrating power and decision making into fewer hands. However, the book is a passionately written cry from the heart; if nothing else, it is a wake-up call. getAbstract recommends it to human resource personnel who are concerned about work-family balance and benefits, as well as to current-events junkies and observers of politics and the economy.