High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families

Peter Gosselin, Author Basic Books $26.95 (374p) ISBN 978-0-465-00225-2
L.A. Times economics correspondent Gosselin outlines the current economic situation of American families in light of specific policies initiated since the stalled economy of the 1970s. Today, Gosselin finds, fewer households are likely to fall into financial ruin, but those who do experience layoffs, expensive medical problems, foreclosure or other financial strain have a much harder time bouncing back, as old social safety nets have been systematically unraveled. Gosselin argues that in today's economy, families and individuals are assuming an unprecedented amount of financial risk; another aspect of the new economy is that upper-middle class families are at just as much risk as the less well-off. Each chapter takes an in-depth look at a different facet of the economy, healthcare, retirement, education and rebuilding New Orleans among them. Gosselin also discusses ""unjobs,"" short-term and freelance gigs secured by an increasingly desperate labor force, and the new indispensability of two-income households. Though scholarly, Gosselin's writing is effortlessly readable, bolstered by anecdotes from real people facing financial adversity. Packed with insight and understanding, this no-nonsense look at the present and future of the American Dream should be of interest to any wage-earner or salary-man.
Reviewed on: 06/02/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 374 pages - 978-0-465-01379-1
Open Ebook - 385 pages - 978-0-7867-4449-7
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