Democratic Perspective was fortunate to interview James B. Steele on a recent show. Steele and Donald L. Barlett are America’s most honored investigative reporting team. The two have earned two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards.
Their collaboration began more than 40 years ago at The Philadelphia Inquirer. They then worked at Time magazine. And for the past six years, they have reported for Vanity Fair. Barlett and Steele have also authored seven books. The latest is a New York Times bestseller entitled The Betrayal of the American Dream.
We began our interview by asking Steele to define the American Dream. He described it as “a good life, possibly some security in retirement, a good house and the prospect of things being better for the next generation.”
He then detailed some of the government policies that have systematically destroyed the Dream.
For example, Steele talked about the cost of free trade which, in his words, is “really not free.” To support his claims, Steele referred to those he calls iSlaves (the Chinese workers who make all of Apple’s products) and the destruction of the Vise-Grip company which was originally located in central Nebraska.
Another of the policies described in the book is deregulation. “We’ve been in a mindset of deregulation for decades,” Steele said. “The result has been economic chaos.”
As a matter of fact, much of the work by Barlett and Steele has detailed the negative effects of government policy on the middle class. In addition to free trade and deregulation, the new book focuses on the cost of tax policy, the end of pension plans, and globalization.
All have been very bad news for middle class Americans, according to the authors. But Barlett and Steele do offer some hope and ideas to restore the American Dream.
In particular, they suggest asking potential candidates the following:
1. Will you support tax reform that restores fairness to personal and corporate tax rates?
2. Will you support US manufacturing and other sectors of the economy by working for a more balanced trade policy?
3. Will you support government investment in essential infrastructure that helps business and creates jobs?
4. Will you help keep the benefits of US innovation within the United States and work to prevent those benefits from being outsourced?
To learn more, we encourage you to listen to the entire show or visit their website.