The 40-year history of how Democrats chose political convenience over addressing inequality–and how the poor have paid the price.

For decades, the Republican party has been known as the party of the rich: arguing for "business-friendly" policies like deregulation and tax cuts. But as our national and global economy confronts a crisis of inequality, the truth is that Democrats have been unwilling to take risks that would help eliminate poverty.

In this incisive new book, political historian Lily Geismer shows how the Democratic party of the 80s and 90s — particularly during the height of the Clinton years — peddled policy ideas that centered on helping the poor without asking the rich to make any sacrifices: doing well by doing good. Micro-lending became a big business, and private programs to promote democracy and equality abroad grew trendy. But as social programs in the private sector boomed, the structure of the government began to weaken, contributing to a crisis that has now fully arrived.

Geismer makes her case through artful storytelling and a savvy eye, conjuring in meticulous detail the political moments that led to these fateful decisions. We've seen skyrocketing income inequality, huge discrepancies between the haves and have-nots, and growing poverty in America. This is the story of how we got ourselves into this mess, and where we can go from here.

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