Kathleen Geier

  • Labor Pains

    Tamara Draut doesn’t mince words. “The working class has had a boot on its neck for three decades,” she writes in her new book, Sleeping Giant. Working-class Americans, she says, have endured a bruising descent into economic hardship and instability. The good blue-collar jobs that fueled postwar American prosperity have all but disappeared. The service-sector work that now accounts for most job growth typically pays low wages, offers few benefits, and requires erratic schedules that wreak havoc on family life. With some justification, Draut compares the struggles of today’s working class to

  • Division Street America

    “Normal” is forever a relative concept, but, as James K. Galbraith surmises in his ambitious new book, the taken-for-granted background conditions of mass prosperity in America seem increasingly to be a dead letter. The latest forecasts put the US economy on track to grow at an anemic 1.7 percent in 2014. The official unemployment rate, 6.1 percent at this writing, is almost back to normal—or, you know, “normal.” But economists estimate that if discouraged job seekers were included in this statistic, the real number would be 9.6 percent, and the jobs the recovery has created are overwhelmingly