1 The Big Squeeze

Why do I feel so squeezed?

As I solicited questions for this book, the one above kept coming up, in one form or another. And while I’m not happy about that, it is affirming, because it is, in my view, the great, unanswered economics question of our time.

It’s not that middle-class people are sliding into poverty, hunger, and homelessness, though in an economy as wealthy as ours, too many people do face those conditions. The sense I got from questioners, a sense I’ve tried to convey in the answers I offer below, is that something is “off” in the new economy. We hear great economic news about financial markets, prices, profits, growth, productivity, and globalization, yet many of us live with a weight of economic anxiety that ...

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