At summer’s end, the U.S. economy looks to be sizzling. Unemployment is low. Growth is higher than expected. Consumer confidence is soaring and Wall Street just set a record bull run.
Over a 40-year career, Philadelphia attorney Daniel Berger has obtained millions in settlements for investors and consumers hurt by a rogues’ gallery of corporate wrongdoers from Exxon to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. But when it comes to what America’s prescription drug makers have done to drive one of the ghastliest addiction crises in the country’s history, he confesses amazement.
Reports from the World Health Organization have shown that Americans are among the most anxious, depressed people in the world—and that was before a reality television star settled into the White House, bringing with him a percussive beat of mean-spirited executive orders, obnoxious presidential tweets and bare-knuckled attacks on civil society as we know it.
In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, professor emeritus of economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations and fates.