Infrastructure-What Went Wrong

America: What Went Wrong?
by Donald L. Barlett & James B. Steele

published in the 
Philadelphia Enquirer
October 20-28, 1991

PART 1: Dismantling the Middle Class
Across the country, people seem to sense the rules of the game have changed in some undefined way that rewards a few and hurts the many. They are right. In a nine-part series, The Enquirer examines the dismantling of America.
A: How the game was rigged against the middle class,
B: Who got caught when the rules changed?,
     1: Who-and how many-in America's middle class
     2: After 3 decades American worker loses out to Mexico
C: The middle class gets caught in crunch
     1: Tax 'reform': Small break for you--big breaks for the rich

PART 2: Getting rich off of bankruptcy
In the surge of bankruptcies caused by heavy corporate debt in the '80s, the winners are high-priced consultants hired to close companies. The losers: workers thrown out of their jobs.
A: The lucrative business of bankruptcy
B: The very lucrative bankruptcy business
     1: One week of flying, phoning, packing and unpacking for $225 an hour....
     2: The 30 biggest bankruptcies in US history

PART 3:  Shifting taxes from them to you
Hundreds of companies have drastically reduced their federal tax bills through special interest tax laws.
A: Big business hits the jackpot with billions in tax breaks
B: Big business gets the big tax breaks
     1: The federal debt
     2: Corporations discover NOL (net operating loss), a tax writeoff bonanza worth billions....

PART 4: The Foreign Connection
Foreign investors find the US a very congenial place. They buy firms, play the market, and get tidy tax breaks.
A: Why the world is closing in on US economy
     1: Congress taxes foreigners at lower rates than you

PART 5: When government controls come off
The future was supposed to be rosy for deregulated airlines, trucking and S&Ls. Results have been disastrous.
A: The high cost of deregulation: Joblessness, bankruptcy, debt
B: After deregulation, industries in chaos
     1: The collapse of the US trucking industry

PART 6:  Playing Russian roulette with health insurance
As companies cut expenses or fail, Americans lose their health insurance. Sometimes they lose their health too, and then their savings.
A: For millions in US, a harsh reality: It's not safe to get sick
B: Millions face life minus health care
     1: How death came to a once-prosperous discount-store chain

PART 7: Simplicity pattern: Irresistible to raiders
When takeover artists targeted Simplicity Pattern Co., it had $100 million in reserves. They left it $100 million in debt.
A: Raiders work their wizardry on an all-American company
B: What the raiders did to one company
     1: The raiding of Simplicity Pattern Co.

PART 8: The disappearing pensions
Many workers have no pensions at all. Someday others could find themselves with reduced benefits. That is something that will never happen to the members of Congress
A: When you retire, will there be a pension waiting?
     1: Money drained from the pension funds of 4,800 workers at Posner-controlled companies.
B: Pensions are not always a sure thing
     1: Workers saving for their retirement lose on junk bonds
C: Sweet pension deal in Congress

PART 9: How Washington really works
The influence of Washington lobbyists is felt in many ways. It is not just the laws they get enacted. It is also the ones they stop.
A: How special-interest groups have their way with Congress
B: Congress is swayed by special interests
     1: How to write or telephone lawmakers


Alternative Voices
The Voices that made all of America--
north, south, and central--

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