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Sunday, June 01, 2008
Author: Peter Gosselin
About This Book
The U.S. economy is wrapping up 25 years of some of the strongest, smoothest growth in its history—a performance so sweet economists have given it a name: "the Great Moderation."
So why have so many people, even those making hundreds of thousands of dollars, arrived at the new century with a gnawing sense that events are moving in a direction that is detrimental to our families and ourselves? Are we suffering a case of needless anxiety? Peter Gosselin's new book, High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families, suggests that we have reasons to be concerned.
Drawing on interviews with hundreds of Americans and on new statistics he developed, Gosselin traces a quarter-century shift of economic risk from the broad shoulders of business and government to the backs of working people. It is a shift that has shaken the pillars of most families' lives—stable jobs, solid benefits, government protections. The change doesn't mean that individuals can't prosper. But it does mean the benefits of growth come at greater peril and your financial fall will be steeper if you stumble. This threat to working Americans' security—and what to do about it—is a pressing concern to economists, policy-makers, and everyone who works for a living.
Peter Gosselin is national economics correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in the Washington bureau. A visiting fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., he lives there with his wife, reporter Robin Toner, and their two children.