What Went Wrong with the American Economy?

Twenty years ago, Donald Barlett and James Steele explored some seismic changes in the American economy, including downsizing, outsourcing and income inequality. Their comprehensive series, called “America: What Went Wrong” won widespread acclaim and was subsequently expanded into a book.

Now, in a new book, “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” the two journalists have taken another hard look at the past 40 years of public policy, examining the impact on the economy and, especially, on middle-class workers and their families. Co-published by the Investigative Reporters Workshop and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the new book received support from the Public Welfare Foundation, which aims to help workers – particularly low-income workers – secure appropriate wages and have safe and healthy workplaces.

To read excerpts from the book, click here.


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

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