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William Greider
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March 27, 2009

William Greider wants Americans to start shaking things up. His new book, COME HOME AMERICA: THE RISE AND FALL (AND REDEEMING PROMISE) OF OUR COUNTRY, doesn't mince words from the very first sentence: "I have some hard things to say about our country." And he does.

After outlining many of the systemic problems he feels the United States faces, Greider lays out the case for a fundamental restructuring of America's economy and society. He compares the moment — a decline in American power exarcerbated by the financial collapse — to World War II, not literally, but as a moment of economic transformation. "Just as World War II presented a chance to thoroughly reorder American life," he writes, "this generation of Americans has the opportunity — the obligation — to envision a country very different from the one we have known for more than half a century."

The Financial Bailout
Greider worries the Obama administration won't seize the chance for change without pressure from citizens. Referring to the stimulus package and Secretary Geithner's new bailout proposal, Greider tells Bill Moyers on THE JOURNAL, that President Obama "does seem absolutely committed to restoration of the old order."

Greider further criticizes the Obama administration's bank bailout plan in a recent article for THE NATION, likening it to a game of Monopoly just for Wall Street:

It's very much like the regular Monopoly game that kids play--only better--because this one uses real money, provided courtesy of the taxpayers. The best thing about Obama's game is nobody loses. Usually, the winner in Monopoly is the one who winds up with the most money. In the Obama version, the losers get any losses back from the government at the end of the game.

Greider doesn't believe change is going to originate in Washington or that the Obama administration will make the right changes alone. In the final chapter of his book, Greider lays out the case that real democratic change must start with people organizing themselves and forcing change up from the grassroots.

He tells Bill Moyers on THE JOURNAL, "I think that's what I hope for now: that people of every stripe will stand up and say, 'We love you Mr. President, but you don't have it right yet. And we're gonna bang on your door until you get it right'."

Now THE NATION's national affairs correspondent, William Greider has been a political journalist for more than 35 years. A former ROLLING STONE and WASHINGTON POST editor, he is the author of the national bestsellers ONE WORLD, READY OR NOT, SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE, WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE, THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM and, most recently, COME HOME AMERICA.

Published March 27, 2009.

Related Media:
William Greider, photo by Robin HollandWilliam Greider on Wall Street
Veteran journalist William Greider on the current financial crisis and what he calls "the great deflation of Wall Street." (July 18, 2008)

Michael Zweig, photo by Robin HollandMichael Zweig
Michael Zweig, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, on the economic realities of the downturn. (October 17, 2008)

Katherine Newman, photo by Robin HollandThe Downturn on the Homefront
Sociologist Katherine Newman on the global markets' effect on kitchen table issues. (January 25, 2008)

FBI Domestic Spy PosterFacing up to the Economy
Bill Moyers talks with economist Dean Baker and journalist Bob Herbert about the economic challenges facing the government and the populace. (August 8, 2008)

FBI Domestic Spy PosterMortgage Mess
THE JOURNAL travels to ground zero of the mortgage meltdown — Cleveland, Ohio. Correspondent Rick Karr takes viewers to Slavic Village, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the nation when it comes to the spate of foreclosures caused by the subprime mortgage crisis. (July 18, 2008)

OBarbara Ehrenreich
Bill Moyers talks with author Barbara Ehrenreich about inequality in America. (August 3, 2007)

OKathrine Newman
Sociologist Katherine Newman on the global markets' effect on kitchen table issues. (January 25, 2008)

References and Reading:

"Obama's New Monopoly Set"
By William Greider, THE NATION, March 24, 2009.

"Obama Told Us To Speak Out, But Is He Listening?"
By William Greider, THE WASHINGTON POST, March 22, 2009.

"Fixing the Fed "
By William Greider, THE NATION, March 11, 2009.

"Wall Street's Great Deflation"
Read William Greider's July 14, 2008 article in THE NATION. You can also read a selection of Greider's earlier reporting for THE NATION in the NATION archive.

A New Way Forward

Guest photos by Robin Holland

In his conversation with Bill Moyers, William Greider mentions a new book about SNCC: C. Wesley Hogan's MANY MINDS, ONE HEART, University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Also This Week:

For years best-selling author William Greider sounded the alarm about Washington's unholy alliance with Wall Street and the failure of the Federal Reserve and other regulators to take preventive measures to avoid disaster. Now, he offers some suggestions to the question everyone is asking: "What do we do now?"

Is Geithner's plan a 'triumph' or a 'flop?' Who wins and who loses?

James Thindwa, whose campaign for economic fairness for working people in Chicago has brought him up against the city's powerful political establishment and corporate giant Wal-Mart.

The Living Wage, Employee Free Choice Act and the state of the unions.

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