Felix Salmon reviews Matt Taibbi's Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (and more and more and more and more). All wrapped up in debt: An excerpt from Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds — Why Going Bigger Isn't Going Better by Sarah Z. Wexler. The Great Recession has put enormous strain on the American social contract, exposing not only the many holes in our social safety net but also the weaknesses in its basic design and philosophy. A review of Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State by William Voegeli. America's deepening moral crisis: The language of collective compassion has been abandoned in the US, and no politician dare even mention helping the poor. The Ghost of Full Employment: In the 1970s, Americans also faced a global recession and double-digit unemployment — but back then politicians had the courage to think big. An interview with Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (and more and more and more). Is America a plutonomy? It's dangerously unstable when 5 percent of American earners account for 35 percent of all consumer spending. Bill Moyers on the American plutocracy. Better than pay caps: Robert H. Frank concludes that even if the dramatic increase in pay can be explained by simple market dynamics, it is still corrosive to American society and should be addressed by taxing excessive pay. Who will stand up to the superrich? The issue is whether the country can afford the damage being done by the ever-growing income inequality between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. How billionaires could race to our rescue: A modest tax on all U.S. personal fortunes over $1 billion could raise more than enough revenue from the Forbes 400 alone to erase the combined budget shortfalls of every state in the nation. A book salon on Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and Remaking of America by David Callahan.

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