Friday, September 21, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Hedrick Smith: ‘Who Stole the American Dream?’

Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5.

Civics, Media Library

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You might remember The American Dream: a steady job with decent pay and health benefits, rising living standards, a home of your own, a secure retirement, and the hope that your children could enjoy a better future. But are you living it? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith bets not—but it’s not your fault. By taking on big business and Washington, D.C., the author of Who Stole the American Dream? explains how that promise was chipped away through landmark legislative, electoral, and corporate decisions. Presented by the Town Hall Center for Civic Life, with Elliott Bay Book Company.  Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True/Brown Foundation.

Hedrick Smith’s website

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  1. Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Finally someone is telling the truth about who is responsible for destroying the American dream. Read all about it in Hedrick Smith’s book “Who Stole the American Dream”.

  2. patrick t wilkerson
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Very true!

  3. Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Veteran investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith gave a talk on the the destruction of the middle-class – how it happened, and what to do about it, this past weekend. It was a standing room only event, put together by Orcas Crossroads Lecture Series. For those that couldn’t make it, I posted a video of that talk, along with info on his new book “Who Stole the American Dream?”


  4. Samuel Zalanga
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I just finished reading the first chapter of Hendrick Smith’s book in reference. I have great admiration and respect for his work. I have used his PBS documentaries for teaching because they are facts-based and very incisive in terms of investigating and presenting the truth of what is going on either in politics or public policy e.g. “Tax Me if You Can” and “Can You Afford to Retire.”

    I have been exploring the idea of the “American Dream” as an immigrant from Africa and read other books, but when I saw this new book, I rushed to Barnes and Nobles to get a copy instead of waiting for the paperback. I am a sociologist and teach social science courses and over the years as an immigrant, I became very concerned about the direction the U.S. is going. I wanted to get library copies of Hendrick Smith’s documentaries to screen publicly in our community so as to create a forum for Americans to start talking about the issues this country is facing but it has not been possible.

    I absolutely agree that public policy and government have important role to play in America and indeed any society when we support the institution and are committed to making it work. We cannot leave everything to the market. There is a place for the market but there is a place for the government. The book provides an opportunity to interrogate neoliberal orthodoxy using empirical data.

    Yes, one appreciates the zeal of the Tea Party, but definitely their policies go contrary to any thorough understanding of where this country is, where we are going and what brought us to where we are today. And yes, the only way to shake the American system is a mobilized peaceful and civic popular participation of ordinary citizens. We need to make it clear that this country belongs to all of us and not to the 1% and big corporations. I am glad that some corporate elites are voicing their concern about the polarizing trend that Smith and Charles Murray document, in spite of the fact that they do not come from the same political tradition.

    I recommend this book. It is easy reading and very concise. I recommend it to anyone who wants to go beyond soundbites in understanding why we arrive where we are today, which was not by accident.

    I hope Hendrick Smith continue with his investigative work. Without journalists who go to the bottom of the issues, we will be less informed and ignorant of what is going on in this society given that most tv channels will not deeply investigate and carefully document what is happening in order to get at the truth.

    Moreover, just us neoliberal orthodoxy spread from Chicago to Washington and to the developing world, if Americans can engage their society and change it for the better, it will have great ramifications and impact around the world. Much of what Smith documents can be documented in many other countries too that embrace the U.S. system hook, line, and sinker. I truly appreciate the publication of this book. It will be helpful to anyone interested in a careful fact-based explanation of the genealogy of the current economic situation and the social and economic polarization in the U.S.

    • Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      “Yes, one appreciates the zeal of the Tea Party, but definitely their policies go contrary to any thorough understanding of where this country is, where we are going and what brought us to where we are today.”

      It is you who do not understand what made the country great – which is freedom, constitutionally limited government, free markets and individual initiative. You, as an immigrant, have been conditioned and restricted in perspective by the big government liberalism that has been a cancer on this country in recent decades and accelerating under Obama. Just recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that half of the households receive government welfare of some kind. In four years of Obama, food stamps have doubled and his administration has been colluding with the Mexican government to get even more on food stamps. This once prosperous country has turned into a welfare state and will fail – just like Greece.

      • Posted December 30, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

        Welcome back Hedrick Smith.we missed you!
        Actually the President who hugely
        expanded the U.S. govt in recent yrs
        and put us in such paralyzing debt was
        none other than Pres George W Bush.
        Whether it was massive appropriations
        for the Defense Dept for wars overseas,
        Homeland Security or ridiculous tax breaks,
        Bush ruined America much more than Obama has
        as you claim…history will show Obama spent his
        first few yrs in office correcting Bush’s mistakes!

  5. Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    This new book is a must for thought ful folks. Hendrick Smith is one of the great journalists of our time…He outlines the decline of the economic status of the middle class in the past four decades, and the soaring wealth of the top one percent. This has emerged as a key issue in the current election.

  6. Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    a must read for thoughtful folks…Hendcrick smith one of the great journjaist of my era…

  7. Pat Collins
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I had a government and business course in the late mid to late 70′s when everyone in the class wanted (read- guaranteed pension & job security) to work for IBM. They also thought the US economy should be more like the Japanese which was burning hot then, while the US economy was not. The largest lesson being conveyed about business in that class was that corporations were becoming increasing international, and owed their alliegence to no nation, but to the stock/shareholders in the corporation. The handwriting was on the wall then as to how this scenario would play out, and the results are being felt by all formerly middle-class workers in the older industrialized nations with economies that once had a balance between labor and capital. Sadly, that is no longer the case now. When a corporation, or obscenely wealthy individual can continue to grow and seek profit beyond all else, we find ourselves in the position that Mr. Smith writes about.

  8. Christina Forbes
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Why don’t the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of the world exhort the other top 1 percenters to pay their workers more? If corporations are sitting on mountains of cash right now, and not investing (which is a correct strategy, since consumption is down), why don’t they increase the wages of consumers, namely their workers, and so put fuel on the fires of the economy? Labor doesn’t need to regain its former power for industrialists and the entrepreneurial classes to see that to invest in the econ0my’s furnace, their workers, wages, would bring back the positive cycle of consumers consuming and business producing (whether goods or services)? A win win win? True self interest (with slightly longer term time horizon than quarterly profits)?

  9. wm hilliard
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I believe this is the defining work of our time. I hope that many read it and understand what is happening to our country.

  10. Jiro Tomiyama
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Having business gut the middle class and take away the opportunities for the poor to move up is no different than the
    country being taken over by a foreign power and making us work
    at a disadvantage except that it is our people that are doing it.
    This book demonstrates that business has conducted class warfare on this society for 40 years. How much worse can it get before people get fed up and fight back?

  11. James
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    So true what i think every American needs to stand up and SAY NO MORE!!!! It is a sad tragedy what has become of what was a great country.

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