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The United States Since 1980

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521677554
ISBN-10: 0521677556
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Editorial Reviews


"The bottom line on The United States Since 1980: a fine introduction to a crucially important period whose history - and impact - has only begun to be understood."
-Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality

"... a highly readable and concise overview of economic and political developments in the US in the last quarter century."

Book Description

This book, first published in 2007, describes the sharp right turn the United States has taken following the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. The treatment details how the policies pursued by the Reagan administration were a break from both the policies pursued by prior administrations and those pursued in other wealthy countries.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521677556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521677554
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Baker has written extensively on the bubble economy over the last decade and was one of the first economists to recognize the stock and housing bubbles and explicitly warn of the risk of their collapse. Previously a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and a consultant to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Baker now co-directs the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. His blog at American Prospect, 'Beat the Press,' features commentary on economic reporting. In addition to Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy (PoliPointPress, 2008), he has written The United States Since 1980 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2006). His columns have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Guardian, American Prospect, and Truthout. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Edward John Gross on March 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book isn't what I expected. I wanted more facts and information on how the middle class has lost ground since 1980. This book is a good overview of government policy for the past twenty five years. You walk away from this book with a good overview of history. I'm going to have to dig a little deeper for the actual data that this book was based upon.

I'm a huge Dean Baker fan. Most economists are slaves to their perspectives. It's really hard to get good economic and fiscal views outside the corporate American view. Baker allows us to be free.

Baker predicts a recession this year because of the housing bubble. Lets see how accurate he is. I'm betting on Baker. Don't bank on the Wall Street guys, they seem more interested in protecting their clients than getting you truth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am old enough to remember what this country was like before "trickle down" supply side economics. But many people don't. And that is exactly why those same hackneyed arguments about lowering taxes and shrinking government bureaucracy continue to have any impact at all. Even George Bush Senior referred to Reagan's plan as "voodoo economics." Hey, let's give all the money to the rich and maybe they'll give some of it back? Hmm.

Clearly the rich benefit more from tax cuts than anyone else. Say you make $25,000 a year, which would put you above the poverty line in 1980. That gives you a little over $2080 a month to live on, which, in 1980, was possible, depending on where you lived. But if you pay 15% in taxes, you're going to lose $512 per month to Uncle Sam. Wish you could keep it? Of course. $512 a month means a lot to you.

Now say you're making $25,000,000 a year. Uncle Sam is clipping you for more than 50% of that. But that still leaves you with $12,500,000 a year to live on. That's a million dollars a month. If your taxes get lowered to 35%, that gives you an additional $350,000 a month. A lot of money, sure, but you're not going to miss it as much as the guy who's making $25,000 misses his extra $512. And you're not going to miss it nearly as much as Uncle Sam, who's trying to fund programs that benefit, not just the middle class, but everyone, including the rich: education, infrastructure, public works.

Oh, but you're going to invest your tax windfall in job creation, right? Sure, job creation -- in Korea, or India, or China, or Outer Mongolia. If, since 1980, you've been investing in anything that benefits the average American, I would sure like to see what it is.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By June Miller on May 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fast reading and informative. I'll never view our goverment in the same light. The work was carfefully researched, the footnotes are plentiful. Once you read the first page its unlikely you can put the book down till its completed.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Doepke on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Good compact survey of economic and political trends since 1980. Baker correctly (I believe) sees that date with the election of the arch-conservative Ronald Reagan as a watershed year. The narrative follows chronologically from the 1980 threshold and its background in the feckless Carter administration. Graphs and tables are included to buttress his points but do not disrupt the flow. It's not a polemical or particularly partisan work, though a critical undercurrent is sensed from time to time. Social issues such as gay rights, abortion, and other leading movements including the rise of religious fundamentalism are also discussed but not emphasized. There's not a lot of depth, though he's clearly most comfortable discussing causal factors shaping economic policy. Thus considerable light is shed on economic policy, particularly during the Reagan years. Put in perspective, the rightward swing over the past 25 years is unmistakable, as business backers see an opportunity to jettison or fatally weaken decades of fettering regulation. Now is a good time-- with the Bush debacle-- to get a handle on what this swing has wrought. Baker's handy little tome is a good place to start.
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