Inequality has dramatically increased in America, with few solutions on the horizon. Serious social inequalities persist. For example, the 14 richest Americans earned enough money from their investments in 2015 to hire two million preschool teachers (while the USA ranks low among developed countries in preschool enrollment). Following the Great Recession, the richest one percent took 116 percent of the new income gains, a statistic caused by so many middle-class Americans moving backward, many losing investments in property and experiencing interruptions in work. Author Paul Buchheit looks hopefully to solutions in a book that vividly portrays the rapidly changing inequality of American society. More Americans have become "disposable" as middle-class jobs have disappeared at an alarming rate. Buchheit presents innovative proposals that could quickly begin to reverse these trends, including a guaranteed basic income drawn from new revenues, such as a Financial Speculation Tax and a Carbon Tax. Discussing the challenges and obstacles to such measures, he finds optimism in past successes in American history.
Ideal for classroom assignment, the book uniquely pairs historical events with current, real-life struggles faced by citizens, pointing to measures that can improve personal and social well-being and trust in government.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Workers
Chapter 2 Why We Need a Guaranteed Income. Soon.
Chapter 3 Children
Chapter 4 The Poor
Chapter 5 Everyone Deserves an Income
Chapter 6 African-Americans
Chapter 7 Racism and Narcissism
Chapter 8 The Sick and Elderly
Chapter 9 Extreme Capitalism: Preying on the Sick and Retirees
Chapter 10 Youth
Chapter 11 Guaranteed Jobs
Chapter 12 Women
Chapter 13 A Tale of Extremes
Chapter 14 Soldiers
Chapter 15 Americide
Chapter 16 The Case for a Guaranteed Income
Paul Buchheit taught economics at De Paul University and also has formal training in language development and cognitive science. He is the founder and developer of several social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, RappingHistory.org, YouDeserveFacts.org), and the editor of American Wars: Illusions and Realities (Clarity Press).
"In Disposable Americans, Buchheit does more than simply reveal the many changing facets of inequality, he also presents a series of innovative policies that both challenge its many ravages while offering hope for a better society. His critique is wide ranging, historical, and utterly convincing. Disposable Americans is as eloquent as it is convincing. Buy this book and give copies to everyone you know." Henry A. Giroux, The Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy, McMaster University
"As our modern capitalist system periodically crashes, taking with it vast swaths of the middle class (while producing billionaire eruptions), many Americans are wondering: 'Is there a better way?' In this brilliantly written, clearly articulated, and diligently documented book, Paul Buchheit offers a practical real-world solution to our out-of-control political/economic system. Read this book and share it far and wide!- Thom Hartmann, author of The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight
"In light of the presidential results of the 2016 election, Buchheit's exploration of the increasing number of Americans who are economically disposable becomes a vital read. This book enlightens readers into how so many people in the United States have fallen into an financial crater." - Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout
"In this beautifully-written, moving, and powerful book, Paul Buchheit demonstrates convincingly that an out of control economy is destroying the lives of most Americans. Fortunately, he also provides an antidote to the widening misery and economic inequality that plague this nation, and shows how it can be implemented. - Lawrence S. Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus, University at Albany, SUNY
"Nearly half the people of the United States live in or perilously close to poverty. Yet the bulk of our tax dollars go, directly or indirectly, to benefit America’s most affluent. In Disposable Americans, Paul Buchheit puts real faces on the numbers that define our staggeringly unequal social order and gives us the information--and inspiration—we need to forge a new and better future for us all." - Sam Pizzigati, co-editor of Inequality.org and author of The Rich Don't Always Win