New book explores death, life of middle class

New book explores death, life of middle class

Cover for Abraham Unger's "The Death and Life of the American Middle Class" (Palgrave Pivot, 2018)

Wagner College government professor Abraham Unger has published a new book, "The Death and Life of the American Middle Class: A Policy Agenda for American Jobs Creation."

The publisher, Palgrave Macmillan's Palgrave Pivot imprint, describes the book this way:

This book addresses what is perhaps the most salient issue in American politics today: the decline of the middle class. It is this single issue that drove the outlier presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump to national prominence, and undergirded the electoral victory of Donald Trump. While there are other longer studies exploring in detail the structural forces, most prominently the loss of manufacturing in the US, that have caused the contraction of the middle class, none offer in shorter form practical policy solutions directly geared towards practitioners in government and the private sector. This work focuses specifically on combining both an academic analysis of the subject combined with detailed policy recommendations. These recommendations are designed to be implemented; they take into account the latest set of real world political variables such as actual current legislative and institutional agendas currently in play on the federal and local levels. 

Abraham Unger is associate professor and director of urban programs in the Department of Government and Politics at Wagner College and senior research fellow at the Carey Institute of Government Reform. He joined the Wagner faculty in 2007. Unger earned his Ph.D. degree from Fordham University. His career combines public service and consulting in the arena of jobs creation and urban economic development with scholarship and classroom teaching. He has served as a member of the Staten Island Borough President’s Strategic Policy Advisory Committee.

Unger is also Wagner College’s campus rabbi, and he is spiritual leader of Congregation Ohav Zedek, an Orthodox Union synagogue in Bayonne, N.J. In 2009, Unger was a co-founder of the Faith and Public Policy Roundtable, a coalition of mainstream religious clergy and academics from houses of worship, seminaries and universities, and ecclesiastical organizations throughout New York City. He was the 2011 winner of Wagner College’s Reverend Lyle Guttu Award, given to “those individuals who have somehow contributed to the Wagner community, the local community or the global world in a spiritual way.”

"The Death and Life of the American Middle Class" is Unger's third book. Earlier this year, he published “A Jewish Public Theology: God and the Global City” (Rowman & Littlefield). He was previously the author of “Business Improvement Districts in the United States: Private Government and Public Consequences,” published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. Read more about BIDs in this Wagner Magazine article, or watch this video of Abe Unger talking about rebuilding New York City with BIDs.

For more about Abe Unger, read some of the news stories featuring him from 2008 through 2014.