With a background that includes service in the U.S. Treasury Department and The World Bank as well as posts as founder and CEO of profit and non-profit companies, Dr. George R. Tyler is, not surprisingly, troubled about the American situation. In fact, he is author of What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class…and What Other Countries Got Right. In his interview on Smart Talk, Dr. Tyler shares his insights.
Dr. Tyler reminds listeners that in 1945, America was a dominant power with 50% of the manufacturing capacity of the world. Then, Cold War efforts to build a strong middle class in devastated Europe and Japan led the USA to move away from a protectionist system toward a more globalist free-trade system. Yet the country continued to believe success would continue unabated. This exuberance, Dr. Tyler believes, led to “abuse of the system” including “the printing of dollars to support the Vietnam War and the Great Society program.” Deficit creation ensued, and as the deficit grew, the import/export balance reversed. The U.S. was taking into its territory the net export of Europe, Japan, and even China. There was wage deflation and jobs were being lost.
A “perfect storm” of events including “an administration that wasn’t sympathetic to the middle class” and “a transition in the attitude of executive suites that turned to profit above all else” led the USA to now face “the largest income redistribution in history from employee to corporate profit.” Dr. Tyler concludes by advocating an end to “political inequity” and the “failure of the political system.”