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« Hubris: The Inside Story, by Isikoff & Corn | Main | The Covenant with Black America, by Tavis Smiley »


Strapped, by Tamara Draut

By an everyday book reader
May 1, 2007

A college degree is the new high school diploma - but it now costs a fortune to get that degree and students graduate with crippling debts. Good jobs are scarcer thanks to stagnant wages and disappearing benefits. And, the cost of everything - starter homes, health coverage, childcare - keeps going up and up. Budding families, even those with two incomes, struggle to pay the bills, while Visa and MasterCard have become the new safety net. Young adults are starting out behind the financial eight ball-borrowing their way into adulthood and wondering whatever happened to the American Dream.

Witty and wise, Strapped brims with ideas for fashioning a new kind of America in which every young person can go to college, buy a home, and start a family. The future starts here.

Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead
by Tamara DrautBook Picture

Softcover: 304 pages
ISBN: 9781400079971, 1400079977
Anchor
January 2007

Drowning in student loans? Can't afford to get married, buy a home, have children? Up to your ears in credit card debt? At last, a book for the under-35 generation that explains why it's not their fault, and what can be done about it.

Is this the way things have to be? Not at all, argues Tamara Draut, a leading young commentator and a fresh voice for change.

Strapped offers a groundbreaking look at the new obstacle course facing young adults-the under 35 crowd-as they try to build careers, buy homes and start families. As Tamara Draut explains, getting ahead is getting harder.

"This month marks the 35th anniversary of 18-to-20-year-olds winning the right to vote. While the presidential election of 2004 saw more than 20 million under-30 voters flooding the polls -- a 9 percentage point increase over 2000 -- the term 'politically engaged' is seldom used to describe Generations X and Y. However, that may be about to change, as more and more 18-to-34-year-olds are realizing there's a big difference between the right to vote and a reason to vote. Though surely it was unintended, our policy-makers have provided this generation with a big reason to vote: economic insecurity," the author points out.

"A convincing, impressively researched call-to-arms... Fast-paced, informative prose, amply supported by statistics." - San Francisco Chronicle

This book shows the obstacle course bedeviling young adults didn't just happen - it was allowed to happen by a generation of leaders more interested in serving wealthy interests than in investing in the nation's future. Strapped brims with ideas for a new kind of America where every young person can go to college, buy a home, and start a family.

Strapped will help jump start a national conversation about where the country is failing-and how we can make it right again.

"Strapped tells a story that is compelling, frightening, and ultimately liberating. By giving a clear analysis of what has gone wrong, Draut points the way to how to make it better. This is a must-read for anyone who is young - or anyone who cares about anyone who is young." - Elizabeth Warren, co-author of The Two-Income Trap

"It's no time to be 21, and we have Tamara Draut to thank for describing to us, in precise details, the forces arrayed against young people - and what can be done to alleviate the situation." - Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas

"It's hard to believe: 'Today's college grads are making less than the college grads of thirty years ago.' In fact, men aged 25 to 34 with bachelor's degrees are making just $6,000 more than those with high school diplomas did in 1972. This is just one of the many shocking statistics uncovered by Draut, a think-tank adviser and media pundit, in this incisive and revealing look at why today's young adults find financial independence so difficult. With catchy terms such as 'debt-for-diploma' and 'paycheck paralysis,' Draut shows why this age group's ability to accomplish the traditional adult markers of school, career and family is stagnating. Her presentation features the one-two punch of well-sourced data and a series of stories from a diverse group of interview subjects to prove her thesis that depressed wages, inflated educational costs, soaring credit card debt and skyrocketing health and child-care expenses present nearly insurmountable obstacles to young adults' success. While Draut's conclusions take conservative politicians to task, they are hardly polemical, and her analysis and solutions are refreshingly free of glib how-to advice. Her book should be a jarring wake-up call to both the generation affected most by the current economic reality and the policy makers facing the consequences for decades to come." - Publishers Weekly

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The blog post previous to it is titled "Hubris: The Inside Story, by Isikoff & Corn"

The post that follows this one is titled "The Covenant with Black America, by Tavis Smiley"

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