Summary of The One Percent Solution

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The One Percent Solution book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Controversial
  • Analytical
  • Engaging


In the aftermath of the Great Recession, America’s dwindling middle class and widening wealth gap emerged as dominant political and economic issues. In this analysis, Gordon Lafer spells out what he considers a corporate takeover of Congress and state legislatures by business interests. Lafer, a professor at the University of Oregon, sees the battle against public unions and employer-provided pensions as a clear attack on American workers by the wealthy. He portrays the Koch brothers, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and state chambers of commerce – among others – as villains, and pokes holes in the position that unionization and generous employee safety nets hurt overall economic growth. This is an in-depth and well-researched look at an important topic, but the arguments are predictably partisan. Indeed, Lafer’s book hews so closely to liberal ideology that he seems unlikely to change Republican minds. Lafer approaches the topic from a point of view that will almost certainly prove off-putting to conservatives and libertarians. So, getAbstract recommends it to Republicans interested in arguments they are unlikely to agree with and their Democrat counterparts who’d like to see their existing views confirmed.

About the Author

Political economist Gordon Lafer is an associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center. He is also author of The Job Training Charade.



A Growing Income Gap

Since the Great Recession, the US economy has declined – at least as measured in terms of opportunities for the masses. Household incomes have fallen, and income inequality has risen. Investors have grabbed an increasing portion of national income, while the share that goes to workers has shrunk. Fully 40% of US households have experienced flat or falling wages. The struggles are most pronounced for the two-thirds of workers in jobs that don’t require a college degree. At the same time, America’s business elite have quietly but inexorably pushed to undo the worker-friendly gains of the New Deal. Their targets include the minimum wage, pensions, Social Security and workers’ rights to organize. Organizations like the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Businesses have led the charge. Specialty trade groups such as the National Restaurant Association and the National Grocers Association have similarly fought against pro-employee policies. 

While rank-and-file workers struggle, those at the top of the American income ladder are prospering...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

The Future of Work
Anti-System Politics
Ship of Fools
The Constitution of Liberty

Related Channels

Comment on this summary