Sweat ‘s unflinching mission is to lay out the slow strangulation of the American Dream.
Playwright Stephanie Alison Walker was among the thousands of homeowners to receive a foreclosure notice in 2008. The experience prompted her to write American Home, a textured melodrama centered on a young couple whose lives come apart once they start to lose the house they love.
In 2009, as the U.S. economy teetered on the brink of catastrophe, a newly elected Barack Obama leaned heavily on the counsel of a small circle of experts. Perhaps the most unlikely member of Obama’s inner sanctum, which included Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Christina Romer and Peter Orszag, was Jared Bernstein, a meditation devotee and professionally trained musician with a PhD in social welfare.
Chosen by Joe Biden to be the Vice President’s top economic advisor, Bernstein had distinguished himself as a passionate critic of inequality during his long tenure at the Economic Policy Institute, one of the country’s leading think tanks. His views on economic issues were well to the left of Obama’s and the rest of the President’s team, ensuring that progressive ideas would get a hearing inside the White House as the administration wrestled with the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
While Obama and his advisors succeeded in reversing the Great Recession’s massive job losses and saving the bacon of the financial industry,
(Editor’s Note: This is an encore posting from our State of Inequality series.)
March 1, 2060
Just the other day, you asked me two questions that I failed to answer. How did California get into the fix it’s in today? And, a half century ago, when I was writing regularly about our home state, did anyone see this future coming?
I must confess the real reason for my evasion was that your questions reminded me of a document from those days that I couldn’t immediately put my hands on. It took me a week but I finally found it on a very old laptop computer I still hang onto. (I know, I know, I’m a dinosaur!)
This artifact is dated 2010, and it’s a map of sorts — not of a city but of a future.