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The Age of Austerity

How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics

Thomas Byrne Edsall

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

One of our most prescient political observers provides a sobering account of how pitched battles over scarce resources will increasingly define American politics in the coming years—and how we might avoid, or at least mitigate, the damage from these ideological and economic battles.
 
In a matter of just three years, a bitter struggle over limited resources has enveloped political discourse at every level in the United States. Fights between haves and have-nots over health care, unemployment benefits, funding for mortgage write-downs, economic stimulus legislation—and, at the local level, over cuts in police protection, garbage collection, and in the number of teachers—have dominated the debate. Elected officials are being forced to make zero-sum choices—or worse, choices with no winners.
    
Resource competition between Democrats and Republicans has left each side determined to protect what it has at the expense of the other. The major issues of the next few years—long-term deficit reduction; entitlement reform, notably of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; major cuts in defense spending; and difficulty in financing a continuation of American international involvement—suggest that your-gain-is-my-loss politics will inevitably intensify.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 28, 2011 – In this erudite primer on the conditions that have brought us to this moment of economic crisis, journalist and Columbia University professor Edsall (Chain Reaction) argues that the U.S. faces a future of diminished resources, and, as a result of partisan intractability, the possibility that we won’t overcome current challenges to long-term prosperity. Tracing the moral underpinnings of the conflict between Democrats and Republicans, Edsall explains how the parties’ value systems differ on such concepts as freedom, liberty, fairness, and the collective good. “The United States is now split ideologically to the extent that falsehoods to one faction are truths to the other,” he writes. In this atmosphere, elected officials choose political victory over socially or economically beneficial action. While Washington protects its interests and those of the wealthiest Americans, the rest of the country faces soaring costs, crumbling infrastructure, and diminishing opportunities for education, jobs, and overall quality of life. Providing ample sociological and economic evidence via descriptive graphs and in-depth analysis, Edsall argues that decisions are being shaped by the destructive politics of scarcity, and that without decisive action to reverse the course of our sagging economy, we’re destined to fall behind. Although perhaps too academic in tone for a general audience, the book illuminates hard but necessary truths.
The Age of Austerity
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: Jan 10, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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