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In this hour, income inequality has reached historical proportions in the U.S. But does Wall Street really deserve all the blame? Jacob Hacker points the finger at federal public policy decisions. He's the co-author of Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer -- and Turned its Back on the Middle Class. Hacker directs Yale's Institute for Social and Policy Studies.
Then, critics called Dean Bakopoulos' My American Unhappiness one of the funniest novels published in 2011. It's a mordantly comic tale of American exasperation with runaway consumerism, big institutions and unsustainable living.
Next, economist Juliet Schor believes it's possible to fix the American economy and put people back to work, but only if we revise the old American mantra of "more, more". Schor outlines a new "economy of plenitude", which includes 30-hour work weeks and 3-day weekends.
After that, the tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. Michael Lewis investigates the bubbles beyond our shores in his sadly hilarious book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World.
And finally, does the Occupy Movement represent the middle class? Reporter Sarah Kate Kramer brings us some voices from an Occupy Wall Street protest at 60 Wall Street. [Broadcast Date: December 21, 2011]
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