Cover: The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It, from Harvard University PressCover: The Wolf at the Door in HARDCOVER

The Wolf at the Door

The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It

“Deep, informed, and reeks of common sense.”—Norman Ornstein

“It is now beyond debate that rising inequality is not only leaving millions of Americans living on a sharp edge but also is threatening our democracy…For activists and scholars alike who are struggling to create a more equitable society, this is an essential read.”—David Gergen

“This is a terrific book, original, erudite, and superbly well-informed, and full of new wisdom about what might and what might not help the majority of Americans who have not shared in our growing prosperity, but are left facing the wolf at the door…Everyone interested in public policy should read this book.”—Angus Deaton, Princeton University

“Graetz and Shapiro wrestle with a fundamental question of our day: How do we address a system that makes too many Americans anxious that economic security is slipping out of reach? Their cogent call for sensible and achievable policies…should be read by progressives and conservatives alike.”—Jacob J. Lew, former Secretary of the Treasury

This is an age of crisis. That much we can agree on. But a crisis of what? And how do we get out of it? Many on the right call for tax cuts and deregulation. Others on the left rage against the top 1 percent and demand wholesale economic change. Voices on both sides line up against globalization: restrict trade to protect jobs. In The Wolf at the Door, two leading political analysts argue that these views are badly mistaken.

Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro focus on what really worries people: not what the rich are making but rather their own insecurity and that of people close to them. Americans are concerned about losing what they have, whether jobs, status, or safe communities. They fear the wolf at the door. The solution is not protectionism or class warfare but a return to the hard work of building coalitions around realistic goals and pursuing them doggedly through the political system. This, Graetz and Shapiro explain, is how earlier reformers achieved meaningful changes, from the abolition of the slave trade to civil rights legislation. The authors make substantial recommendations for increasing jobs, improving wages, protecting families suffering from unemployment, and providing better health insurance and child care, and they guide us through the strategies needed to enact change.

These are achievable reforms that would make Americans more secure. The Wolf at the Door is one of those rare books that not only diagnose our problems but also show us how we can address them.

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