Jacob Hacker’s New Book “American Amnesia” Just Released

Publication date 
March 29, 2016

(Updated April 18, 2016)

ISPS Director Jacob Hacker and co-author Paul Pierson have just released their new book, “American Amnesia: How How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper” (Simon & Schuster).

This timely and topical book is a vigorous defense of government¹s essential role in advancing our health, wealth, and well-being. To get and keep prosperity, the authors argue, you need strong effective government as well as dynamic competitive markets. You need, in a phrase, a “mixed economy” in which the strong thumb of government and nimble fingers of the market each play a vital role. They show that Adam Smith and all of the leading Founders – Hamilton, Madison, even Jefferson – understood how vital effective public authority is. And they show that it was precisely because the United States created a mixed economy roughly a century ago that we escaped the widespread poverty, bad health, and limited education of our ancestors. What made these successful policies possible, they argue, was a broad political coalition that included Republicans and major segments of the business community. Unfortunately, this coalition has unraveled, and our society is paying the price – falling behind the pace of social improvement not just of our own past, but also of other affluent democracies today. Nonetheless, they argue, the mixed economy can be reconstituted for a new century with the right political and economic reforms and, perhaps even more important, with a renewed understanding of how vital a strong effective government is to long-term prosperity.

Related writings:

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Don’t Get Mad at the IRS on Tax Day, Pray for It to Get More Powerful, LA Times, April 15, 2015

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Why Trump Can’t Break the GOP, The New York Times, April 2, 2016

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Why Technological Innovation Relies on Government Support, The Atlantic, March 28, 2016

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Making America Great Again: The Case for the Mixed Economy, Foreign Affairs, March 21, 2016

Interviews and discussions in the media:

Episode 30: What Made America Great, Again?

Podcast, No Jargon, Scholars Strategy Network

April 26, 2016

Jacob Hacker on ‘Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All’

WMPR, Minnesota Public Radio

April 14, 2015

Critiquing the War on Government: A Conversation with Jacob Hacker

Yale News, by Mike Cummings

April 13, 2016

“Is Government the Problem or the Solution?” 

To the Point, KCRW, podcast (33 min)

April 8, 2016

“American Amnesia,” by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

New York Times Book Review by Matthew Bishop

April 6, 2015

How Big Government Helped American Free Markets Flourish

NPR’s The Leonard Lopate Show, Radio

March 31, 2016

American Amnesia (DC Launch): How the War on Government  Led Us to Forget
What Made America Prosper

New America Foundation, Video

March 30, 2016

Political Scientist Jacob Hacker Explains the Crisis of America’s Mixed Economy

WNPR, Lydia Brown

March 28, 2016