What Went Wrong: Outsourcing


As Apple grew, American workers left behind

Nov. 16, 2011

Apple moved its production offshore in less than a generation and changing the career path of many of its workers. One of its workers describes a current and future life of temporary jobs that will keep him on the move, with retirement not in sight.


American Steal: How U.S. steelworkers lost to China

Oct. 15, 2011

The reconstruction of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is well timed to create much-needed jobs. And it has. Only the jobs are in China. Will the outsourcing of this $12 billion project deliver a death blow to the American steel industry?

Profile: Alan Gunderson, computer programmer

March 10, 2011

Alan Gunderson, 52, worked as a systems analyst and computer programmer in Tulsa, Okla.  When he quit his job in July 2008, he had never been out of a job longer than a month. After two years out of work he landed a new job nine months ago, earning $15,000 less with no guaranteed benefits.


Profile: JD Galvin, IT worker

March 10, 2011

JD Galvin studied substance abuse counseling in college, and started his career in human services. He switched to IT in 2000 and was laid off two years ago. He has yet to find a new job. He's now active in the 99ers movement, an effort to organize people who have exhausted all available unemployment benefits.


Profile: Wayne Drescher, automotive IT worker

March 10, 2011

Wayne Drescher worked in automotive IT in Indiana.  He was with his company for 23 years before being laid off from his position more than two years ago. Here is an edited excerpt of their conversation.


Programming jobs fall, despite Labor Department's outlook

March 10, 2011

In 1990, the U.S. Department of Labor predicted there would be more well-paid  jobs for programmers with four years of college. They were wrong. Employment fluctuated in the years following the report, then settled into a slow downward pattern after 2000.

What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.


Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

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Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.