Originally published in: 2018
What it’s about: The disappearance of the middle class in America, or as the subtitle puts it: Why our families can’t afford America.
What made me pick it up: Because I saw the author was coming to our beloved book festival in a couple months. And also because I had to work for a decade after earning two degrees to even be considered mathematically middle class based on income and I know so many others struggling as much or worse than I am.
My favorite parts: The best parts are honestly the hardest to read about because affirmation of a bad situation doesn’t improve it. Wages have not really grown in 40 years for the working and middle classes of America, while wealth at the top has grown exponentially. That math is making just living untenable. College is more expensive, full time benefited work is harder to come by, and housing rates are simply unaffordable in many areas. Social safety nets are underfunded, or failing, and basic needs like universal child and healthcare and support of working parents are missing entirely. This book will spark some tough conversations about the way forward, but that will probably involve following the lead of our European neighbors and raising taxes to support our people.
Who it’s great for: Anyone working hard just to stay afloat and wondering why.