The Age of Austerity by Thomas Byrne Edsall
How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics

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...“The Age of Austerity” is at its strongest when Mr. Edsall refrains from making overly broad generalizations, or at least illustrates his hypotheses with persuasive evidence.
-NY Times

Synopsis

One of our most prescient political observers provides a sobering account of how pitched battles over scarce resources will increasingly define American politics in the coming years—and how we might avoid, or at least mitigate, the damage from these ideological and economic battles.
 
In a matter of just three years, a bitter struggle over limited resources has enveloped political discourse at every level in the United States. Fights between haves and have-nots over health care, unemployment benefits, funding for mortgage write-downs, economic stimulus legislation—and, at the local level, over cuts in police protection, garbage collection, and in the number of teachers—have dominated the debate. Elected officials are being forced to make zero-sum choices—or worse, choices with no winners.
    
Resource competition between Democrats and Republicans has left each side determined to protect what it has at the expense of the other. The major issues of the next few years—long-term deficit reduction; entitlement reform, notably of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; major cuts in defense spending; and difficulty in financing a continuation of American international involvement—suggest that your-gain-is-my-loss politics will inevitably intensify.
 

About Thomas Byrne Edsall

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Thomas Edsall is an American journalist and academic, best known for his 25 years covering politics for the Washington Post. He holds the Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professorship in Public Affairs Journalism at Columbia University, and writes an online 2012 election column for the New York Times. In addition, he is a correspondent for The New Republic, and the author of Chain Reaction, a Pulitzer Prize finalist (1992), The New Politics of Equality (1984), and Building Red America (2006), among other works. Edsall is also the winner of the Carey McWilliams Award of the American Political Science Association. Mr. Edsall lives in New York and Washington, D.C. with his wife, Mary.
 
Published January 10, 2012 by Anchor. 272 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Age of Austerity
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Mar 05 2012

...“The Age of Austerity” is at its strongest when Mr. Edsall refrains from making overly broad generalizations, or at least illustrates his hypotheses with persuasive evidence.

Read Full Review of The Age of Austerity: How Sca... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Schmitt on Jan 20 2012

There are two real scarcities in our near future, and Edsall touches on both only lightly.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by W James Antle Iii on Jan 10 2012

Throughout "The Age of Austerity," Mr. Edsall points to the deleterious effects of zero-sum thinking when it comes to politics and the economy.

Read Full Review of The Age of Austerity: How Sca... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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