A political system dominated by Big Oil, the NRA and other destructive special interests. A popular president fresh off re-election with a progressive agenda blocked by a Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives hellbent on extreme austerity. An Occupy movement exposing the unsustainable income inequality tearing apart the social contract that has defined the United States of America for much of its history.
The headlines are ripe with the problems facing American society in the year 2013. But where are the solutions? What can be done to fix our broken political and economic systems so the 21st Century becomes an era of shared prosperity, rising wages, and plentiful job prospects instead of massive poverty, stagnant wages, and high unemployment?
One recent book describes the decades-long decline of the American middle class and rise of the ultra wealthy: Who Stole the American Dream?, by Hedrick Smith.
The book does a good job of diagnosing the problem of plutocrats and their political enablers, and Smith devotes a section to concrete solutions to restoring the American dream for the 99 percent. He offers a 10-step “domestic Marshall Plan” that evokes the “generous American aid that put Western Europe back on its feet after World War II by financing reconstruction of its infrastructure and its war-ravaged industry. In other words, a massive collective effort— a public-private partnership sparked at the outset by government initiatives and investments.”
Here is a summary of the 10 steps: