Tonight, “The War Room” takes you back — way back — to June 1979, to highlight a headline you’ve probably never heard. In June 1979, more people were employed in U.S. factories than at any other time before or since. Fast-forward three decades and you have just 8 million manufacturing jobs in the United States. That’s a 40 percent decrease from 1979.
What happened? How did we get to this point?
Tonight, Jennifer Granholm and her guest, author James Steele, will pinpoint the moment when America began its decline, in June 1979.
Steele is co-author of “The Betrayal of the American Dream” and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. He writes that at a time when more people were employed at U.S. factory jobs than during any month before or since, the share the wealthiest Americans paid in taxes also began to fall sharply. At the dawn of the Reagan era, American factory jobs began to flee overseas, and laissez-faire business strategies and government policies undercut the American middle class — and in so doing, threatened the underpinnings of American democracy.
Since the 1980s, a host of politicians — Republicans and Democrats — have sold their business-friendly reforms to the American people in the name of economic efficiency. Corporate America saves, and we all save! But the real winner, Steele says, is the American “ruling class.” The plutocrats win just about every political fight, he says. Quietly, methodically and ruthlessly restructuring the tax code on behalf of the wealthiest Americans.
We’ll also check in with Republican political strategist Dan Schnur on the final moments of the veep race and the upcoming GOP convention, Charles Pierce on Romney’s never-ending tax questions, plus Jennifer Granholm on the need for dissent within the GOP.