Andrew Sprung reviews Stephen Rose's new book:
Rose is in his element in the book's middle chapters, in which he parses Census, Current Population Survey and other data on Americans' incomes and wealth to debunk what he defines as five myths: that all income gains in the last thirty years have gone to the rich; that the middle class is declining; that good jobs have been disappearing; that international trade is to blame; and that employee benefits are disappearing.
Some of these myths he dispatches more thoroughly than others; his argument with liberal economists such as Jacob Hacker and Elizabeth Warren is often aptly characterized as a glass half empty/half full dispute because at times he emphasizes different aspects of a data set that is not in dispute. This is almost literally true when Rose points out that "54 percent of households had no credit card debt after paying their monthly bill; this means that the median credit card debt of Americans is zero" (212). Okay -- it also means that almost half of Americans are paying double-digit interest rates on a credit card balance every month.
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