Civics & Politics The Environment Health Economics Social Issues Full Archive
NOW on Demand
Week of 8.10.07

Book Excerpts

David Cay Johnston, author of "Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich —and Cheat Everybody Else," and Beth Shulman, author of "The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans and Their Families," appeared on NOW to discuss income inequality in America. Samples of their books are available below.

Perfectly Legal

Perfectly Legal
Read an excerpt from "Perfectly Legal" [pdf]
In his book "Perfectly Legal," David Cay Johnston tells the story of how, from 1970 to 2000, the income share of just 13,400 households —the richest hundredth of 1 percent —rose from 1 percent to 5 percent of all income. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reveals how lobbying practices and tax policy manipulation over the past 30 years have disproportionately benefited the wealthiest people in American society. This excerpt of the book is Chapter 3 entitled "The Rich Get Fabulously Richer," which examines the widening gap between rich and poor from 1970 to 2000.

The Betrayal of Work

The Betrayal of Work
Read an excerpt from "The Betrayal of Work" [pdf]
Over 30 million Americans work hard every day, and yet struggle to take care of their families, Beth Shulman writes in her book "The Betrayal of Work." They are nursing home staff, poultry processors, pharmacy assistants, ambulance drivers, child care workers, data-entry "keyers," janitors. One in four American workers lives in or near poverty. Shulman reports that these low-wage employees have lower living standards than comparable workers in other industrial nations. To provide a portrait of America's working poor for her book, the author spent several years traveling across the country talking to people living on low wages. This excerpt is the introduction to "The Betrayal of Work." In it we meet Cynthia Porter—a full time nursing assistant who earns $350 every two weeks—whom Shulman met while traveling through Alabama.