Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is the American Dream Dying?

Stars and stripes. Fireworks. Red, white and blue. For many Americans, summertime is a colorful celebration of freedom, independence and patriotism – particularly around the 4th of July.
This summer, however, David Coates, professor of political science and Worrell Chair of Anglo-American Studies, suggests the ongoing financial crisis has put the American dream of independence beyond the reach of many of our nation’s citizens. He says it’s a frightening reality explored in his new book, Making the Progressive Case: Toward a Stronger U.S. Economy.
Just as the nation was changed forever by the terrorist attacks in 2001, the U.S. economy was irrevocably altered by the financial meltdown of 2008, says Coates, who is also a regular Huffington Post political columnist.
“America needs a wake-up call. It’s time for all of us to realize we’re not on the same playing field anymore,” Coates says. “Politicians in both parties should take off their blinders and look at the challenges that lie before us.”
Offering facts on each side of the debate, Making the Progressive Case examines the myriad economic problems facing the Obama administration and the nation as well as possible remedies.
Given the rapidly changing political landscape and the spotlight on the 2012 presidential race, his viewpoints offer new insights on key issues. Topics include Obama’s response to the financial meltdown, the green economy, regulated markets and managed trade. The book also includes in-depth information on the roots of the crisis and an economics primer for the average American.
Coates hopes students reading the book will realize that historical solutions don’t necessarily work in new circumstances, which is why he advocates combining knowledge and efforts to put America on a stronger economic path. He says reckless budget cutting and brief stimulus packages are not enough because fundamental problems require fundamental reforms.
“My hope is that this book will help us move beyond the partisan quagmire and bring forth new ideas and new ways of solving our main economic problems,” Coates says. “By presenting both sides of the arguments, the goal is to counter the rhetoric and generate real ideas.”
More information about his latest book is available at

~ Katie Neal ('03), Office of Communications and External Relations

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