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How did they pull it off?
America's middle class from 1900 - 1970 flourished and grew.
What made it happen?
Nationwide electrification, widely distributed trans-continental broadcasts (think battery powered, wood cabinet radios) and paved interstate highways pulled people together, in some ways made us a smaller country, but hundreds of millions, generation after generation were socially and intellectually "upward" and solidly placed middle class.
According to InfoWars Tea Party intellectual Alec Jones it was white men "whiskey and guns" as yelled during his appearance on this week's Piers Morgan television show.
He forgot about tobacco, refined sugar and the largely untold labor of slaves, women, children and let's not forget the genocide of most Native Americans.
"A century ago, the United States hosted a super-rich even more domineering than ours today. Yet fifty years later, that super-rich had almost entirely disappeared. Their majestic mansions and estates had become museums and college campuses, and America had become a vibrant, mass middle class nation, the first and finest the world had ever seen.
Americans today ought to be taking no small inspiration from this stunning change. After all, if our forbears successfully beat back grand fortune, why can't we? But this transformation is inspiring virtually no one. Why? Because the story behind it has remained almost totally unknown, until now."
Hear life-long labor journalist Sam Pizzigati from our favorite Too Much Online newsweekly make his case for the new book released by Seven Stories Press this January 2013.
What others are saying:
"Make room for The Rich Don't Always Win on your bookshelf right next to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. In his lively, engrossing new book, Sam Pizzigati tells the story of class inequality in America, from the robber barons to today's 1 %. The title alone is a refreshing reminder that there have been times when the middle class pushed back against the growth of plutocracy—and won. We can do that again and, as Pizzigati makes clear, we have to."
"This inspiring history offers a bold blueprint for today’s equality movements. We beat back the powerful rule of the wealthy to end the first Gilded Age. We can beat back our current Gilded Age, too, and reverse the extreme inequalities of wealth and power that undermine all that we care about.”
"Only 50 years ago, America 'soaked' the rich with a 91 percent income tax. And guess what? America prospered! Not just the rich, but ordinary families. With colorful detail, Sam Pizzigati tells us why we should revisit that policy of prosperity for ALL, rather that for the plutocratic few."
"Bold, thorough, and above all inspiring—an energizing and spirited reminder of what it took, and what it will take, to once again make ours a nation of equals."
His op-eds and articles on income and wealth have appeared in a host of major American dailies, from the New York Times to the Miami Herald, and a broad variety of magazines and journals. His last book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives, won a coveted "outstanding title" rating of the year Choice rating from the American Library Association. Pizzigati ran the publishing operations of America's largest union, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, for twenty years and now serves as an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. His online weekly on excess and inequality, Too Much, goes to a national audience of journalists, researchers, and economic justice activists. Pizzigati has appeared as an expert commentator on inequality on 150+ radio and TV talk and news programs, from Pacifica to Fox Business News.
Listen in today, "Saturday High Noon" to Radio Free Kansas.