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'Aftershock': How America's Shift Away From Helping Its Own Ruined The Economy And The Middle Class (PHOTOS)

09/15/2010 06:50 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Robert Reich Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; author, 'Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few''

In the 1930s and 1940s, we restructured our economy to widen prosperity. The result was the Great Prosperity -- a period running from 1947 to 1975, in which the American economy boomed. Almost everyone shared those gains. But after 1980, the pendulum swung backward. Instead of helping the middle class prosper in the new global, high-tech economy, government did just the opposite. It narrowed prosperity. The result was stagnant wages. The middle class steadily lost ground, while more and more of the benefits of economic growth flowed to the top.

AFTERSHOCK