The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class

The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class

by Jim Tankersley
The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class

The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class

by Jim Tankersley


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A vivid character-driven narrative, fused with important new economic and political reporting and research, that busts the myths about middle class decline and points the way to its revival.

For over a decade, Jim Tankersley has been on a journey to understand what the hell happened to the world's greatest middle-class success story — the post-World-War-II boom that faded into decades of stagnation and frustration for American workers. In The Riches of This Land, Tankersley fuses the story of forgotten Americans— struggling women and men who he met on his journey into the travails of the middle class— with important new economic and political research, providing fresh understanding how to create a more widespread prosperity. He begins by unraveling the real mystery of the American economy since the 1970s - not where did the jobs go, but why haven't new and better ones been created to replace them.

His analysis begins with the revelation that women and minorities played a far more crucial role in building the post-war middle class than today's politicians typically acknowledge, and policies that have done nothing to address the structural shifts of the American economy have enabled a privileged few to capture nearly all the benefits of America's growing prosperity. Meanwhile, the "angry white men of Ohio" have been sold by Trump and his ilk a theory of the economy that is dangerously backward, one that pits them against immigrants, minorities, and women who should be their allies.

At the culmination of his journey, Tankersley lays out specific policy prescriptions and social undertakings that can begin moving the needle in the effort to make new and better jobs appear. By fostering an economy that opens new pathways for all workers to reach their full potential — men and women, immigrant or native-born, regardless of race — America can once again restore the upward flow of talent that can power growth and prosperity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541767836
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 08/11/2020
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jim Tankersley, a tax and economics reporter for the New York Times, has written extensively about the stagnation of the American middle class, the decline of economic opportunity in wide swaths of the country and how policy changes in Washington have exacerbated those trends over the past few decades.

Prior to the Times, Tankersley was the policy and politics editor at Vox, economic policy correspondent for the Washington Post, and economic and political reporter at the National Journal. He started his career with stints at The Oregonian, The Rocky Mountain News, and The Toledo Blade. At The Blade he was a member of the Coingate team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He and a Blade colleague won the 2007 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for a series of stories demonstrating how and why the Ohio economy declined so dramatically over the course of a generation.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

1 Winston-Salem, 1943: "I'm with Them" 1

2 McMinnville, 1978: The Clear-Cut American Dream 9

3 Ohio, 2006: This Is Not Your Life 23

4 Southern California, 2013: The jobs Are Not Coming Back 39

5 Winston-Salem, 2013: Working Harder, Falling Behind 57

6 Winston-Salem to Queens, 1960: Torching the Blockades 71

7 Aggregate Consequences: A Story in Numbers 89

8 Chicago, 2011: Forward Progress, Lost 115

9 Washington, D.C., 2016: A Lie Is Sold 133

10 Manhattan, 2016: The Whole Chessboard 153

11 Building the Riches of This Land: How to Get the Middle Class Back on Track 177

12 Winston-Salem, 2019: "How Did We Steal Something You Threw Away?" 183

13 SoHo, 2019: Uncommon Capability 199

14 Turners Falls, 2019: Silent Factories, Empty Orchards 213

15 Washington, D.C., 2007-2019: No Quick Fixes, Ever 233

16 Green Family Home, 2019: Eventually, You Get More Time 255

Epilogue 261

Acknowledgments 263

Bibliographic Essay 267

Index 285

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