Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as author Jane Mayer shows in her powerful, meticulously reported new book, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Join Mayer, in conversation with Rob Reich and Lucy Bernholz, to discuss the future of American democracy.
Jane Mayer has been a New Yorker staff writer since 1995. She covers politics, culture, and national security for the magazine. Previously, she worked at theWall Street Journal, where she covered the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, the Persian Gulf War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1984, she became the paper’s first female White House correspondent. She is the author of the 2008 Times best-seller “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,” which is based on her New Yorker articles and was named one of the top ten works of journalism of the decade by N.Y.U.’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She is also the co-author, with Jill Abramson, of “Strange Justice,” and, with Doyle McManus, of “Landslide: The Unmaking of the President 1984-1988.” In 2009, Mayer was chosen as Princeton University’s Ferris Professor of Journalism. Her numerous honors include the John Chancellor Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Goldsmith Book Prize; the Edward Weintal Prize; the Ridenhour Prize; the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism; the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, the Sidney Hillman Prize, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the James Aronson Award for social justice journalism, the Toner Prize for political reporting, and, most recently, the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence.
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