As America struggles to point its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t lose sight of the economic problems that existed before the crisis. Even when the unemployment rate was near record lows and the stock market near record highs, the gap between low- and moderate-income Americans and their wealthier counterparts had become unconscionably wide. A future economic recovery presents an opportunity to address this deeper, troubling challenge and to rectify the economic injustice that threatens so many Americans.
In 2019, founder and CEO of Promontory Financial Group Gene Ludwig gathered a bipartisan group of the nation’s foremost economic thinkers — academics and politicians, CEOs and former presidential advisors — to break with convention and candidly discuss that widening gap. The Vanishing American Dream: A Frank Look at the Economic Realities Facing Middle- and Lower-Income Americans comes from their insights.
The opportunity to rebuild our economy should inspire the most important conversations and ideas of our time. The dialogue captured in this book provides broad and experienced perspectives on inequality and policy shortcomings, along with examples of ideas that have successfully narrowed the wealth gap, from government investment to the role of the private sector. As we remap our economy, we have an opportunity to rebuild the American Dream for the long-term.
Combining expertise with optimism, The Vanishing American Dream invites readers to take a seat at the table for a bracing look at the road back to widespread opportunity, security, and prosperity.
With Contributions By: Sarah Bloom Raskin, Glenn Hubbard, Deval Patrick, Robert Shiller, Larry Summers, Luke Bronin, Daryl Byrd, Oren Cass, Jacob Hacker Heather Gerken, Susan Krause Bell, Andrea Levere, Zachary Liscow, Jonathan Macey, Daniel Markovits, Mary Miller, Michael Moskow, David Newville, Steven Pearlstein, Isabel Sawhill, Jay Shambaugh, Anika Singh Lemar, and Andrew Tisch.
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About the Author
In 2019 he founded the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity, an organization dedicated to the economic well-being of middle- and lower-income Americans.
His writing has appeared in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, and Time.
He holds a master’s degree from Oxford University and is a New College Oxford fellow. He holds a J.D. from Yale University, where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal and chairman of Yale Legislative Services.
Gene lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Dr. Carol Ludwig. They have three children and two dogs who run the household.
Table of Contents
Preface The COVID-19 Storm xi
Introduction Seeing the American Economy Through a Glass, Darkly 1
Opening Remarks 31
First Panel: How bad off economically are middle- and lower-income Americans, and why? 43
Second Panel: What can be done at the national level to boost the economic well-being of middle- and lower-income Americans? 79
Keynote Address, Deval Patrick 119
Third Panel: What can be done at the local level, in cities like New Haven, Connecticut, to boost the economic well-being of middle- and lower-income Americans? 135
A Call to Action 177