Many Americans are enjoying the fruits of prosperity. Unemployment and inflation are low and it seems that everyone is driving a sport utility vehicle.
But is this a prosperity that's reserved for the upper middle class, the folks driving the Jeep Cherokees? Or is something more fundamental happening? The answers are crucial for anyone interested in how America is changingfrom corporate executives to policy makers to the average person keeping up with current issues.
Bob Davis and David Wessel have spent thousands of hours in living rooms and workplaces around the country, and they show conclusively that the recent good economic news not only is here to stay but is the start of twenty years of broad-based prosperity.
Prosperity tells stories about how the lives of the middle class are changing for the better. These are the people who are still being wrongly consigned b y prophets of doom and gloom to the sidelines of the new high-tech economy. People like:
- Randy Kohrs, whose training in respiratory therapy at a local community college has lifted him from dead-end, minimum-wage jobs into the ranks of the middle class
- Teresa Wooten, a former worker in a low-wage South Carolina clothing factory, who is now a supervisor in a German-owned factory
- The workers at the Allen-Bradley plant in Milwaukee, who are benefiting in wages and transferable job skills form the company's recent computer automation
These and many other remarkable stories bring together the three trends that will be the basis for a new, middle-class prosperity:
- Our $2 trillion investment in computer andcommunications technology will finally pay off in faster productivity growth, a more rapidly growing economy, and rising living standards.
- Community colleges are helping millions of Americans move from $7-an-hour jobs. This unheralded change in U.S. education will help reverse the forces that have widened the chasm between more-educated and less-educated workers.
- Globalizationmuch maligned by pundits on the left and the rightwill create new and better jobs by U.S. companies that export to developing countries and by foreign companies that build plants and offices in the United States.
Davis and Wessel's front-line account, combined with persuasive evidence of the tangible benefits reaching the middle class, proves that the American dream is not only alive and well, but will reach more people than ever before.
|Publisher:||Randon House, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.26(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.74(d)|
About the Author
As a reporter, he takes what he considers an "everyman" approach. Don't count on him to write a story about how to run a complex computer system. Rather, look for him to try to figure out how overly complex computers affect most Americans and industries.
In his 15 years as a Wall Street Journal reporter, Davis has written about the rise and fall of computer pioneers, the resurrection of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from the disaster of the Challenger explosion, and the attempts by nuclear weapons makers to use military technology for civilian purposes -- beating plutonium into plowshares, as it were.
Most recently, he has written about the effects of global integration on
average Americans. He's been to the Carolinas to see the death and birth of
trade-related industries, to the border region of Mexico to gauge the consequences of cheap labor, and to Asia to assess the tumultuous fall from
grace of nations once hailed as "miracles."
Davis was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and lived for six years in Oneonta, N.Y. where he started a newspaper, the Susquehanna Sentinel. He guided the Sentinel for a year (into bankruptcy) and then restructured the newspaper company into a successful printing business. (That is, he escaped with his shirt-a life-shaping event.) He has won a passel of awards for his coverage of science and space, and was nominated for a Pulitzer for his coverage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (He lost.)
Now he lives with his wife Debbie and his children, Daniel and Joanna, in Washington D.C. His hobbies are reading, writing, and keeping up with his children.
David Wessel, 44 years old, is The Wall Street Journal's chief economic correspondent in Washington. His responsibilities include overseeing coverage of the federal budget, domestic and international economic policy and the Federal Reserve, but he defines his beat more broadly as covering the American standard of living.
He joined The Journal's Boston bureau in 1984. He was offered his present beat in Washington on the day the stock market crashed in October 1987; he denies any connection between the two events and is prepared to testify to that before any grand jury.
Before joining The Journal, he worked for the Boston Globe, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant and theMiddletown (Conn.) Press. He shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for a series of Boston Globe stories on the persistence of racism in Boston. In 1996, he and several other Wall Street Journal reporters shared the InterAmerican Press Association award for spot-news coverage for their stories on Mexico's economic and financial crisis.
The Washingtonian magazine included David Wessel on its August 1997 list of the 50 top journalists in Washington, pleasing his parents no end. In June 1995, the same magazine said, "David Wessel, the Wall Street Journal's lead economic reporter, commands remarkable respect. Officials praised his accuracy, his explanatory bent, and his preference for focusing on substance not process."
A native of New Haven, Conn., David graduated from Haverford College with honors in economics. He also spent a year at Columbia University as a Walter F. Bagehot Fellow in Business & Economics Journalism.
David and his wife, Naomi, associate director of the American Bar Association's Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly, live in Washington, D.C., with their two children, Julia and Benjamin. He is a member of the board of trustees of Temple Sinai and of the research advisory board of the Committee for Economic Development.