Twenty years ago James B. Steele co-authored a book that argued that the middle class was shrinking, that guaranteed pensions would soon be a thing of the past, and that millions would have to go without health insurance.
But the predictions made in that book, America: What Went Wrong, seem quaint in light of today's reality, as Steele will explain in a discussion of his new book The Betrayal of the American Dream on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
"We erred on only one issue," Steele says of America: What Went Wrong. "We grossly underestimated how fast the economic ruling class would pull the rug out from under everyone else. Once almost anyone could move up the economic ladder; now the movement is mostly down. Barring a fundamental change in policies in Washington, that trend will continue until all that's left is the upper end of what once was a thriving, broad-based middle class."
In their new book Steele (a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and one-time reporter for the Kansas City Star) and co-author Donald Bartlett offer an indictment of how the American middle class has been condemned to terminal decline because of actions by Washington and Wall Street over decades.
Steele and his writing partner Bartlett have worked together for nearly 40 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Time magazine,and Vanity Fair. Among their books are Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business - and Bad Medicine, The Great American Tax Dodge, and Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes.
They are the only reporting team ever to have received two Pulitzer Prizes for newspaper reporting and two National Magazine Awards for magazine work
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.