The Nail File

Economic insights from an industry too embarassing for talking heads.

Reason , October 1997

Remember the Great Depression of 1995? The New York Times consumed a zillion column inches--the most since the Pentagon Papers--chronicling economic disaster and "unrelenting angst." The Downsizing of America, the book version of that seven-part series, declared America a Dickensian hell, analogous to "when the peasants in England were shunted off the land and left to toil in misery in the slums." Pat Buchanan and Jeremy Rifkin shattered Crossfire's left-right conventions, agreeing that technology was destroying the job hopes of everyone but a few elitist nerds. Once the presidential campaign kicked in, political reporters couldn't get enough of Buchanan's populist economic platform. They knew it would sell--until voters humiliatingly shunned it in Arizona and South Carolina