From New York, what if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history, and what if that coincidence has run its course? Anat Shenker-Osorio on why Americans all believe they are “middle class”: A taxonomy of how we talk about class and wealth in the United States today. Can Americans afford a broad freedom to assume personal risk? Benjamin M. Friedman on the most important issue in American politics. Still waiting for change: Sylvia A. Allegretto on how economists are ignoring a class of workers whose wages have been frozen for decades. The pay is too damn low: James Surowiecki on how low-wage workers make headlines. Robert Putnam on crumbling American dreams. Want to achieve the American Dream? Jonathan Cohn on how it depends where you live. Where the wonders never cease: Chris Pomorski on hope and consequences in Atlantic City. The first chapter from Climbing Mount Laurel: The Struggle for Affordable Housing and Social Mobility in an American Suburb by Douglas S. Massey, Len Albright, Rebecca Casciano, Elizabeth Derickson and David N. Kinsey. A question for economic historians: has any non-feudal society been able to remain stable with this level of inequality? Yes, Wall Street is overpaid: Do employees of the financial sector deserve to be paid so much more than most other workers? The American zeitgeist in one word: “Desheeting”.

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