American Amnesia (D.C. Launch)

How the War on Government Led Us To Forget What Made America Prosper

When the United States enacted universal public education, created progressive taxation of income and inherited wealth, and developed a mixed economy that channeled the spirit of capitalism into strong growth and a healthy middle class, we demonstrated that strong government and efficient markets are complementary—not substitutes.

Yet, since the 1970s, a wave of antigovernment ideology has blinded us to these lessons, and made America less equal and more plutocratic, and our families less secure. In Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson’s new book, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper, the authors show that the mixed economy was the most important social innovation of the twentieth century, spreading a previously unimaginable level of prosperity to a broad swath of the population. It enabled dramatic improvements in education, health, longevity, and economic security. And still, economic and political elites across both major parties treat government as an impediment to economic well-being. 

Join New America, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and authors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, for a conversation about how political elites have enabled and propelled plutocracy, and about what is good for American business and what’s good for Americans—and how we can once again align those interests. 

Lunch will be served. 

Copies of the book will be available for purchase by check or credit card.

Follow the conversation online by using #AmericanAmnesia and by following @NewAmerica.


Jacob Hacker 
Director, Institution for Social and Policy Studies 
Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University
Co-Author,  American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us To Forget What Made America Prosper

Paul Pierson
John Gross Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley 
Co-Author, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us To Forget What Made America Prosper

Rebecca Burgess
Manager, Program on American Citizenship, American Enterprise Institute 

Deepak Bhargava
Executive Director, Center for Community Change