David Callahan talks about his book, FORTUNES OF CHANGE: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and The Remaking of America. David Cay Johnston talks about corporate welfare. And Arianna Huffington talks about her new book, THIRD WORLD AMERICA.
By the time this episode airs, the mid term elections will be over. If the pollsters and pundits are right, the Democrats will have lost control of one or both houses of Congress and our legislative branch will have lurched violently to the right.
The mainstream media would have us think that’s part of the greater drift rightward in the country at large. But David Callahan says, “not so.” He sees a force for progressive change continuing to gather strength — and it’s coming from the rise of a new class of rich liberals who are pushing the country and the Democratic Party to the left. That’s the thesis of his new book, FORTUNES OF CHANGE. It strikes a note of both hope — and caution about the dangers to democracy of the outsized impact of money in politics, no matter how worthy the cause.
David Cay Johnston
Taxes are among the top 3 hot button political issues, along with unemployment and immigration. With the midterm elections over, Congress will be deciding whether to extend the Bush tax cuts to the very rich or limiting them to Americans making $250,000 or less.
We last spoke with tax journalist David Cay Johnston during the Wall Street melt down and bailout of September 2008. He caught our eye again this week with a new piece posted on the blog Tax.com. Titled “scary new wage data”, Johnston’s post reveals that one out of every 34 Americans who worked in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all went down, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold — this, during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
In this except from our 2008 interview, we talk to Johnston about taxes and corporate welfare, what he calls “corporate socialism” in his book, FREE LUNCH. He says the spoils of tax revenue go to the rich and rest of us end up poorer.
As mentioned above, new wage data shows that a large swath of Americans who worked in 2008 earned no money at all in 2009. And while the official unemployment rate is just under 10 percent, a deeper analysis shows a rate of under- and unemployment of more than 22 percent.
With high unemployment, a tsunami of housing foreclosures, health insurance premiums going through the roof and college education becoming unaffordable for the middle class, is America becoming a Third World country?
That’s what Arianna Huffington says in her new book, THIRD WORLD AMERICA: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning The Middle Class And Betraying The American Dream. Huffington is the founder of the progressive blog Huffington Post. Part of the website is devoted to stories, videos and pictures of Third World America and you can put your own story on the map.