The Middle Class, Under Attack

August 20th, 2013

As first run by The Sacremento Bee on August 11, 2013

By Hedrick Smith
Special to The Bee

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the nation’s economic recovery is that it has not healed America’s gaping financial inequalities. In fact, just the opposite. Our highly touted New Economy, abetted by a Congress with its thumb on the scales against average Americans, has actually widened the gulf between the 1 percent and the rest of us since the United States hit bottom in 2009.

That’s bad news for everyone. Economic studies are unambiguous: U.S. economic growth is hurt when wealth is hyper-concentrated in a small super-rich elite. History shows that America grows best when income differences are smaller and the middle class gets a larger share of the nation’s gains, as it once did.

See the article in its entirety here…


One Economy, Two Americas

March 8th, 2013

This blog post first appeared on

By Hedrick Smith

Before you gulp down your favorite champagne to celebrate Wall Street’s new stock market highs, remember that we are two Americas: The nation’s economic divide is costing us all dearly in terms of lost jobs and growth and is fueling the angry, gridlocked politics in Washington.

As The New York Times reported Monday, corporate profits have been skyrocketing ever since 2008 -– rising an average of 20.1 percent a year for four years in a row. But out on Main Street, average household incomes have risen only 1.4 percent a year. CEOs and big investors have been hogging the profits…

See the entire piece at

Is a new progressive era upon us?

February 19th, 2013

As carried by MSNBC’s Hardball on February 16, 2013

By Hedrick Smith

The pundits are now parsing President Obama’s State of the Union to calculate its impact on upcoming battles over the budget, gun safety and immigration. But their focus is too narrow. Their time horizon is too short. Something much bigger is afoot.

See the entire piece here…

Obama’s populist crusade

February 19th, 2013

As published by Politico on February 11, 2013

By Hedrick Smith

There’s a riptide running in American politics, and with his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama has an opportunity to turn it in his favor.

As fishermen and other seafarers know, riptides mark a powerful moment of change. The waters look chaotic. But riptides are pregnant with potential for the future. On the surface, the current flows one way — in the old direction. But in the depths below, larger and more decisive currents are running in the opposite direction, a new direction.

See more here…

The Three Surprises in 401(k)s

February 19th, 2013

As first published by Forbes on January 13, 2013:

By Hedrick Smith

Most people assume they’re savvy about 401(k)s, but here are three surprises for Boomers counting on 401 (k)s as their future financial lifejackets: (1) how it got started – accidentally; (2) how much they should regularly save to build a safe retirement nest egg; and (3) how big a bite mutual funds take out of their gains.

See the entire article here…

Gerrymandering our way over the Fiscal Cliff

December 8th, 2012

As first published at The Daily Beast

By Hedrick Smith

If the latest Washington gridlock rankles you, turn your eyes to the structural flaw in American elections that perpetuates these stalemates and that will plague us for another decade, unless we fix it.

Read the rest here…

Who Stole is a top read, C.S. Monitor

December 4th, 2012

The Christian Science Monitor recently named ‘Who Stole the American Dream?’ one of the top three books to read if you’re interested in actually tackling the country’s current problems.

See the write-up here.

Nieman Reports, “A Gripping History…”

October 17th, 2012

A gripping history of the 40 years since wealth started falling up

By Dan Froomkin

“Who Stole the American Dream? The short answer….is: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wal-Mart. But the longer answer is one heck of a story, told by one of the great journalists of our time. In his sweeping, authoritative examination of the  last four decades of the American economic experience, Smith describes the long, relentless decline of the middle class – a decline that was not by accident, but by design. He dates it back to a private memo – in effect, a political call to arms – issued to the nation’s business leaders in 1971 by Lewis F. Powell, Jr., a corporate attorney soon to become a Supreme Court Justice….Smith’s extraordinary clarity in describing this sometimes obscured narrative arc evidently emerges form his sense of journalistic outrage. he sees a country splitting into two, divided by a vast wealth gap. He sees the social fabric of the nation tearing. He wants to make it better.”

See the entire review here, as first published in the Fall 2012 edition of Nieman Reports.

The Chicago Tribune, A Journalist’s Eye

October 17th, 2012

“Hedrick Smith book seeks roots of US economic inequality”

By Bernard Vaughan, of Reuters

“[Smith’s] account is informed by the lively eye and ear of a journalist, as when he details for example the cascading impact of the 95th Congress in 1978. That session is one he says many political analysts overlook despite being “one of the most pivotal in our modern political history.” Influenced by the rising power of big business lobbying, it was the 95th Congress, Smith says, that made seminal changes in the economy’s structure…”

See the entire review here, as first published on Friday, September 21, 2012

USA Today, A Sweeping Indictment

October 17th, 2012

By Steve Winberg, Special for USA Today

“Smith is no newcomer to writing sweeping indictments. His two books about Russia (he served as a New York Times correspondent there) explained a foreign land in mesmerizing detail to English-language readers. His book The Power Game: How Washington Works exposed machinations in the nation’s capital to a large audience. Who Stole the American Dream? includes damaging information from his earlier books, plus lots of new case studies and anecdotes. It is sweeping in scope…”

See the entire review here, as first published on October 14, 2012.