Book Review: Winner-Take-All Politics, by Hacker & Pierson

Before the focus on economic inequality engendered by the outcry of Occupy Wall Street wtapactivists in 2011, Jacob S. Hacker & Paul Pierson copyrighted in 2010 Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. When the Tea Party was at its height, serving in a Congress they had infiltrated. They blocked the regulation of the financial industry and pushed austerity for everyone else. The above authors were writing about the real suspect behind massive economic inequality: government.

Starting in the 1970s, before the Reagan revolution, government began tearing up the rulebook and writing it anew to favor those at the top, the 1% and 0.1%. New organizational forces have been growing in the aftermath of the financial crisis to fight back against the new playbook, and this books proven merit comes from being ahead of the curve in examining how we view economic inequality today. Not as natural and predetermined, but intertwined in the decisions made by government at the behest of the rich.

Check out this excerpt of the book then go ahead and read it in its entirety.

No one expects¬† the invisible hand of the market to press for equality. Yet there are good reasons for thinking that the visible hand of government will…a long line of thinkers has argued that popular representation through democratic government creates powerful pressures for greater equality, as less-advanced majorities use their political power to offset the economic power of those at the top.

That is clearly not what has happened in the United States over the last generation. Where governments in other democracies worked energetically to offset increasing inequality, public policies in the United States actively nurtured it. Why? How, in a country governed by majority rule, a country born of revolt against persistent differences in power and opportunity, could policy and government so favor such a narrow group, for so long, with so little real response?

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