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Download The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement--And How You Can Fight Back epub

by Jacob S. Hacker

America's leaders say the economy is strong and getting stronger. But ordinary Americans aren't buying it. They see what the rosy statistics hide: We are all struggling under the weight of terrifying economic instability. No matter how well educated and hard working we are, we know that the bottom can fall out at any moment. Meanwhile, the safety net that once protected us is fast unraveling. With retirement plans in growing jeopardy while health coverage erodes, more and more economic risk is shifting from government and business onto the fragile shoulders of the American family. The book documents how two great pillars of economic security--the family and the workplace--guarantee far less financial stability than they once did. The final leg of economic support--the public and private benefits that workers and families get when economic disaster strikes--has dangerously eroded as political leaders and corporations increasingly cut back protections of our health care, our income security, and our retirement pensions. Hacker concludes by advocating an "insurance and opportunity society" that would safeguard economic security and expand economic opportunity, ensuring that all Americans have the basic financial security they need to reach for and achieve the American Dream.
Download The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement--And How You Can Fight Back epub
ISBN: 0195179501
ISBN13: 978-0195179507
Category: Other
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Author: Jacob S. Hacker
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (October 9, 2006)
Pages: 256 pages
ePUB size: 1121 kb
FB2 size: 1265 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 868
Other Formats: mbr txt lrf lit

Went Tyu
This book was written over 10 years ago. It’s thesis has played out over time. Americans are at greater financial risk than ever. It’s time to do something reasonable. Main things in this book make sense. Risk pooling; use existing social programs etc. However, this book lacked facts and does not deal with the reality that are political system is ran by constituents that feed off the current system and our political leaders lack the courage to deal responsibly with problems. After all, our politicians are not at financial risk and want to keep it that way be staying in office.
This is not the easiest book to read, but the subject should hit home for a number of Americans and it's well-done.

Hacker shows how over time, government and corporate actions have led us to a point where just about every risk imaginable is being borne by individuals. Once upon a time, the government and corporations shared in the risk, but we're getting towards a point where that is not the case. With the stories he shares and the points he makes, one can see that it's no accident that stories abound of people who have lost just about everything - be it their retirement funds, their homes and any other savings they have. Oftentimes, something as simple as job loss due to a layoff or an injury/illness (not necessarily to the person, either, as a sick or injured child can do this as well) is what triggers it, and Hacker spends a good deal of time talking about health care since that's about as broken as anything in America.

None of this, of course, has been talked about as much as the "prosperity" of the past few years in the American economy, one that was a house of cards and is now in loads of trouble that anyone with common sense could have foreseen.

At the end, Hacker shares some ideas well worth considering. Cynic that I am, I don't expect our elected leaders to do that, especially as they've been bought by corporations left and right.

The book is not always easy to follow, as Hacker makes extensive use of statistics and at times puts several together, and it at times has the feel of an academic paper being presented at a conference of some sort. But that's a relatively small knock, and it's a book every politician needs to read and probably won't (or they will just dismiss it because they're out of touch and don't have to live the lives ordinary Americans do).
A terrific read. An eye-opener. Everyone should read this book.
Must read.
insightful and still timely
I used for a class and was fine :)
This book is fundamental in understanding the issues facing Americans. I am a fiscal conservative, with enough education to gain a undergraduate and post-graduate degree. While I do well for myself, this book outlines the truisms of American life. Unfortunately, America is on the decline because we have shipped our means of production to China and other third world countries.

How long can China produce 80% of what we purchase, while Americans HATE American products? The truth is Americans are the hardest working in the world and produce the best products. Unfortunately, someone has instilled upon their children a self hatred of American products to justify sending jobs overseas.

Oh well, read the book. While this book doesn't contain "silver bullets" to "solve" the problem, no book does. Anyone who purchases this book and thinks its a get rich quick book is a moron. Any book that promises get rich quick schemes, is just that - a scheme.

This book is reality. The reality is be careful, save, watch spending....
Hacker is being touted as a prophet with the recent bail outs and Wall street woes with Lehman, AIG and the subprime fiasco: individuals CANT manage their own money after all, Hacker was right, yes? Hannah Arendt is turning over in her grave at two subtle miscues: reaction and received opinion.

Personal responsibility vs. totalitarian control comes down to one simple bad assumption: that government is any less corrupt or any more smart than Wall Steet. The Soviet economy collapsed (the first time) over a tripart deadly combination of excess military spending (with no related revenue stream), a central command economy with no price signals (the free market's central value in a global economy: no human "team" on earth can keep up with the speed or complexity) and, of course: corruption. Does anyone really believe that a roomful of bureaucrats in DC can manage any better than a roomful of traders on Wall Street?

Are they less stupid or less corrupt? The lynchpin is ethics in making any balance between individual responsibility for investment and government control and regulation work, and it's sadly lacking, and there are not enough resources in law enforcement or at OMB to police individual ethics, they have to come from within. Neither party has really talked in detail about interfacing risk sharing and safety nets with global trading and ethics, they, and Hacker, miss all three points of ethics, price signals, and excessive defense spending.

Reaction is the mother of all screw ups, whether in a marriage, or a social contract. Reaction to terrorism creates crazed defense spending. Reaction to simple markdowns to market creates trillion dollar bailouts. Reaction to bad individual investment choices creates huge new regulatory bureaucracies. This creates the insane pendulum that can't find the moderate balance, and the divisive conflicts between partisan policies.

Hacker, as a Clinton insider, has to take a position, and is being touted as "prophetic" with the 2008 corrections. Give him his due, but watch for the next catastrophe when the overreaction creates multi trillion dollar offices filled with government bureaucrats trying to play Wall Street gurus. A whole new generation of GS 11's is what will save us! Then, we will dig up the death-by-regulation Caterpillar Tractor quote from 1970 "When small men cast long shadows, it is a sure sign the sun is setting." The bad assumption in the coming reaction is that the GS crew will be any more ethical or competent than the greedy Streeters! Does anyone really believe that? BTW, who underwrites Hackers "Insured Society" -- Lloyd's, GE Reinsurance, or AIG? Sorry, Jacob, risk is there, and every solution involves shifting! You can't afford war, a welfare state AND a huge dept of govt. risk managers-- quality, service, price-- pick two. Sure, it's easy to say forget war: until Israel and Iran go at it, and the ancient dream of the Russian czars of a warm water port becomes a reality. If God were playing a chess game intended to relegate the U.S. to history, this latest pendulum swing would be a brilliant move.

Is this worth reading? Yes. Does it provide a balanced view? No. Does it miss a key conclusion? Absolutely: the assumptions of competence and ethics in big government are glaring, and the economic effects of regulation on businesses and resulting job creation are skimmed over. Look at the relationship of Siemens and the German government: shared assignments and interlocking jobs. Success? No, the global economy will have its way. What about Japanese companies with access to M1 creation and their own government banks? Nope, the global economy trumps them again. Look up the word PARASTATAL on Wikipedia. It is VERY well known in Europe and Japan, but very novel and unstudied here in the U.S. Both German and Japanese economic literature have a lot more reservations, and a lot more research, on the parastatal structure than we do in the US, but will that stop DC from launching right into it? Oh, wait, we just did...