The Middle Class

We welcome to our show Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He was appointed health director of Detroit, Michigan, at age 30, and he was formerly a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. El-Sayed's new book, which he tells us about, is "Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic." As was noted of this book by Bill McKibben with 350.org: "This is a very important book.

When "America: What Went Wrong?" originally appeared in the early 1990s, the book got a lot of attention, and became a bestseller, because it documented, in a sound, thorough way, the causes behind the shrinking of the American middle class. Now, the authors of that groundbreaking book, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele -- "two of the most talented investigative journalists in U.S. history," per The San Jose Mercury News -- have put out an updated edition of their text. Mr. Steele is our guest on ST today.

Our guest is Devin Fergus, the Strickland Distinguished Professor of History, Black Studies, and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. He's written on politics, policy, and inequality in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Guardian, and so forth. He joins us to discuss his latest book, which is just out in paperback: "Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class." This book exposes the effects that fees have on wealth redistribution, from the poor and the middle class up to wealthy corporations.