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When a Parent’s Changing Life Upends Yours

WTMJ-4 Milwaukee

Susan Marshall, founder of Backbone Institute, is the author of the recently released memoir, Mom’s Gone Missing…when a parent’s changing life upends yours ….a poignant story written by Susan about the challenging journey as a caregiver to her father’s decade-long Alzheimer’s journey and a mother’s lightning-fast dementia and both of their deaths. Susan writes about what happens to the family during these challenging times, and how she, as the spokesperson for her family, was on a daily, emotional roller coaster with associated organizations in finance, legal and health. Susan’s book is a powerful inside look when a family member negotiates the myriad, often exhausting details of a healthcare crisis for each parent. This is a book like no other since it is a passionate, inside look at what it’s like to have a loved one ‘missing’ due to a disease with no cure.

We are joined by Susan today to get insight into her experience with a loved one’s mental decline, and how this book can help others struggling with the same thing.

You can grab a copy of Mom’s Gone Missing on Susan’s website, Barnes and Noble,, or Books & Company in Oconomowoc. Her book will be increasingly available at retail outlets in the coming months. Just in time for the holidays!

Watch the video here.

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In the End, Will Blood be ‘Thicker Than Water’?

Shepherd Express

David Luhrssen
The Shepherd Express

Eddy and Will are brothers on separate paths. Although they live only a few miles apart, in the Northwoods town of Moon Lake, they might as well be on different planets. Eddy is a low-energy hustler, content to play small time in their father’s realty business. Will is a DNR ranger, in love with nature and at home—literally, in a makeshift cabin—in the woods.

When their father, dying of cancer, schemes to turn a nature preserve into a real estate development (and make both sons rich), the brothers are on a collision course.

And that’s not the end to the family drama in Thicker Than Water, the new novel by Milwaukee author Geoff Carter. Also heard from are the women of Moon Lake, as Carter explores the resentment and regrets of Eddy’s wife Naomi. Although working fulltime, she is left with all domestic and childrearing duties and sees herself at a dead end. Thicker Than Water endows each major character with a measure of sympathy.

Carter is hosting a virtual launch at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 26 on Facebook Live with live music that will start a little beforehand.

He answered some questions about Thicker Than Water.

Do you have a connection with a place like Moon Lake? And your opening sentences sound as if you have at least a nodding acquaintance with ice fishing?

Yes, I do know a place like Moon Lake. We used to spend every summer at the family cabin near a town called Lake Tomahawk in Oneida County. It’s a nice little town, about four blocks long, and the people there are much nicer than those in Moon Lake. Places in the novel like The Purple Onion, The Market Basket and Pinky’s Bait & Tackle were modeled on places that once existed there.

I have done some ice-fishing, and I sort of agree with Al McGuire’s assessment of it. He said something like, “Ice-fishing is like hitting yourself in the head with a two by four. It feels really good when you stop.” It is cold, although if you’re in a shelter, it’s not too bad. Especially if you have some peppermint schnapps.

I do like the quiet and the purity of ice-fishing, although it is a little eerie sitting out there on the frozen lake. It’s dead quiet and when the ice creaks beneath your feet—and it can be loud—you feel just how insignificant you really are in that vastness.

 Did you have any literary models of family tension in mind when writing Thicker Than Water?

I did have a general idea of the nature of the sibling rivalry between Will and Eddy when I started the book, but it wasn’t based on a specific literary model. I had sort of a Cain and Abel story in mind, sort of like John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, but I didn’t consciously use that book as a model.

I was struck by the silence you describe in the woods. Do we need more silence in contemporary society?

Yeah, I think more silence in our society would be a positive thing. I think too many of us are so constantly plugged in and bombarded with chatter and noise that we don’t have the time or the space to think—which is probably part of the point of being plugged in. Distraction seems to be our new mantra.

Personally, I always loved being in the woods or out on the canoe (or on the ice) as a way to not only enjoy the quiet, but to also absorb the rhythms of the lake and the forest. Letting yourself sink into the natural world is relaxing and therapeutic.

What are own thoughts about the rapid decline of our environment and the diminishing wild spaces in our world?

Like many others, I am appalled and disgusted at the continuing destruction of habitat and wild spaces worldwide. Not only are our Wisconsin wild spaces at risk, but climate change is threatening the health of the planet. Look at the devastation of the Australian wildfires last winter. The rain forests are disappearing, and the ice caps are melting. And for what? Profit. We have the solutions and the technology to make ourselves entirely renewable and to stop this destruction. We have to continue to exercise the people’s will in order to implement these solutions.

Great details in your book—a “skulk of foxes.” Did you know this stuff or did you have to look it up?

I knew about the terms of venery like “skulk of foxes” and “romp of otters” from research I did for a blog post I wrote a while ago. It started when I did a search for myself on Facebook and a few dozen “Geoff Carters” appeared. Then an invitation to join The Geoff Carter Consortium popped up; apparently, myself and my namesakes were organized. But I began to wonder if consortium was the best name for our club. Maybe an identification of Geoff Carters or a cornucopia of Carters might be more apt. That’s when I started researching the collective nouns for animals. These terms do apply to people, too—a superfluity of nuns, a fighting of beggars, a reluctance of Republicans, or a dithering of Democrats.

For more information, visit


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5-Star Review of “Nancer the Dancer”

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

Nancer the Dancer: Myositis and MeNancer the Dancer is a work of non-fiction in the health and medical experience and personal memoir sub-genres, and was penned by author Judith Gwinn Adrian. As the title suggests, the work focuses on the condition of a person called Nancy, whose life was torn apart by the autoimmune disease dermatomyositis. Written by her sister, this memoir recollects Nancy’s battle with the disease, whom she nicknamed Reuben to personify her adversary, and explains not only the struggle with the condition but an uplifting portrayal of living life regardless of limitations. Whilst the book discusses the loss of a person’s health, it also shows us that spirit and livelihood will never be stolen from us if we choose to fight to keep them.

Author Judith Gwinn Adrian has triumphed with this heartfelt work that expresses so much more than a simple health advice book could ever give you about living with a chronic and debilitating illness. There is a beautifully nostalgic air to the narrative which gives it a literary quality, painting gorgeous backgrounds filled with exciting people that peppered Nancy’s life despite some of the terrible goings-on within her body. More than this, there is a clear and passionate expression of love and joie de vivre, something that is sure to leave other readers feeling emotional but powerfully inspired by the experience they have read through. Overall, I would highly recommend Nancer the Dancer: Myositis and Me to readers of deep memoirs and stories of triumph against adversity.
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Author Lora Hyler

I’ve taken many leaps throughout my career, confident that at the right moment, the net will appear.

I started my career as a radio news journalist (with NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN), both in Milwaukee, WI. That was certainly the start of my writing career, which further developed as I worked in corporate communications for large media and energy companies. In 2001, I founded my own public relations and marketing company, Hyler Communications. I helped clients launch products and services to diverse retailers and companies, such as Schnucks supermarkets, Disney and Nickelodeon.

Creatively, I’ve shopped screenplays around Hollywood, wrote numerous short stories and an adult novel.

The launch of my career as a children’s book author

Inspiration arrived through watching my only child enjoying time with his friends. The friendly banter and raucous boy talk was amusing. The deal was sealed when I bought Will a nerf toy featuring a child of color wearing goggles. A superhero!, I thought. That was the genesis of my main character in my traditionally-published middle grade series featuring multicultural superheroes, working on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, who share a love of spy gadgets.

In my series, I also celebrate family love, touch upon the Civil Rights era, Tuskegee Airmen and famous historic Black spies.

Mighty Marty HayesThe Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes debuted in March 2018. The book has taken me on wonderful journeys throughout the country (nearly 40 appearances to date!) meeting kids, teachers, parents and educators.

A fairy tale?

Before you begin to salivate about what appears to be a fairy tale life, I should touch upon all of the research that goes into writing a book about CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. I first read about it a couple of years before I wrote my debut novel and was absolutely fascinated by the technology described as having ‘the ability to edit our human species.’ My quartet of kids in my books are science whizzes helping to advance this technology in the world. STEM on steroids!

I did my research–thoroughly. Yet, it was a relief to get introduced to a source working in R & D in genome engineering for a major multi-national corporation. He’s my expert for the remaining books in my series.

How it all began

Taking a step back, I have to give a shout out to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) which I joined in 2015. I immersed myself in as many conferences and workshops as possible, and devoured THE BOOK cover to cover. It’s a children’s book publishing bible of sorts, with a wealth of information on how to deal with the difficult publishing industry.

These publishing industry workshops about what I call a secretive industry, were not all peaches and cream. Yet, viewed with a discerning eye coupled with my career experience, the information was very helpful. I observed obstacles and strategized how to work around, climb over and under, and bolster my skillset, not unlike what one has to do in any other career. Gatekeepers are plentiful. Dedication and perseverance is key to success.

Speak it into existence. I went public in an August 2017 Writer’s Digest magazine article in which I proclaimed to a national audience, “I’m determined. The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes will soon rest on the shelves of bookstores, libraries, and retail stores everywhere…but, first I need an agent.”

In the December 2017 issue of the same magazine, I wrote, “I have an update. I’m excited to share that I have a publishing deal and my middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes debuts in March 2018!”

Fast forward to present year

In March 2020, I received cancellations for six or seven events I had planned for the coming months. The coronavirus hit. In true investigative reporter style, I began to read, listen and watch every media outlet I could to learn about this pandemic and the best way to cope. Paramount was keeping my family safe.

In April, I stumbled across a competition by Emory Global Health Institute challenging authors to write a book to help children ages 6-12 cope with the effects of the virus on their lives. The book had to be completed in two weeks!  I shied away for that reason, plus I was in the middle of writing book two in my multicultural superhero, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, and spy gadget series. I danced around the idea for a few days. I thought, “Who writes a book during a pandemic?” Then, I got to work.

I assembled my team: publisher, editor and illustrator. I knew I would get my book published, win or no win. I live in a lovely, wooded subdivision in a suburb in Wisconsin. I heard  anguish in the voices of children, their parents, and concerned neighbors young and old, as they faced an uncertain future. Missed classroom schooling, missed playdates, social distancing-even  from extended family members, and of course, the ever present fear of contracting Covid-19.

Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free was born

My coronavirus book for children, which I began in mid-April debuts globally on or near July 1. Yes, I learned to write fast. I intend to apply this technique in all my books moving forward. I can wax poetic about the challenges of writing a book in ten days. The truth of the matter, fellow authors and pre-authors, is that I didn’t have time to get in my own way. No time for second guessing, or re-writing until I was tired of my own story.

I kept my passion in front of me: I wanted to write this story to help children. Truly, lives are at stake as some children are facing mental health crises during this pandemic. Adults are struggling also. I like to think adults have learned some resiliency over our decades of living. Children are not in the same boat.

Advance reviews have been humbling. As I’ve participated in media interviews, I’ve reflected upon the double pandemic children are facing. I worry about the scars of coronavirus and the scars of racial trauma, which a Milwaukee medical professional warns causes “psychological symptoms whether covert or overt.” Children of color and their empathetic friends are suffering.

I urge you to listen to the dear children in your lives or community. Do more listening than talking. Read a book to them. Provide nurturing and comfort.

Artists, we have work to do

I’m a member of Nō Studios, a beautiful 40,000-square-foot space located just west of downtown Milwaukee. It’s both a workspace and social environment for artists of all kinds. Founded by Oscar winner John Ridley, born in Milwaukee, I’ve been able to take advantage of book and film events, and various programming. In a recent webinar, Ridley urged writers to “Take the thing you can do as an artist and activate it. We can only do as an artist what God has given us. We need you. Get your voice in the mix.”

Your time is now. Seize the moment. Art will save us.

About the author

 Lora Hyler is a former reporter for NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN, both in Milwaukee, WI. She worked for media and energy companies. In 2001, she founded her marketing company, Hyler Communications. She also worked in television for two years on NBC affiliate, Today’s TMJ4.

Her debut novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes is the first in a three-part children’s middle grade series traditionally published. The novel has received several awards from the international Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and the Best Book Awards.

Writing book two was interrupted when she accepted the challenge from Emory Global Health Institute to write a book to help children around the world deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The book’s publication date is July 1. Suitable for children ages 6-12, the 40-page book is a work of fiction with facts about staying safe during an epidemic. We follow 7-year-old Maya, and her 10-year-old brother, Bryan as their lives are turned upside down. Ultimately, they learn how to cope, help their family and community, and look forward to the future.

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A Call to Live in ALL CAPS

More Untamed Devotions

Terminally ill pastor writes book of sharing love, living fully

Patrick Slack

And do so loudly.

It’s a simple, yet powerful message that Pastor Shane Allen Burton wants to share with everyone. And Burton, a 1987 Anoka High School graduate who served at churches in Andover and Fridley, among others, is shouting it out for everyone to hear in his June release of “More Untamed Devotions,” a follow-up to his first book.

It was a project Burton wasn’t planning to undertake, but one that became important to him upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2019. He had previously beaten esophageal cancer be-fore the disease returned. With so much material left to share, Burton wants to call out a God that loves everyone, and that every person is capable of love.

“The idea of #LIVEINALLCAPS was something that came about before I got diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Burton said. “I always talked about Red from ‘Shawshank Redemption’: ‘Get busy living or get busy dying.’ That was always a concept for me. Talking with my wife Dani about a year ago, I said, ‘I want to live, I want to live life in ALL CAPS.’ Because when you write something in ALL CAPS, it means you’re shouting.

“I want to shout that life is about love: loving God and loving each other. Basically, if it’s loving, do more of that, and if it’s not, knock it off. When I got diagnosed it took on a new meaning: to be fully alive.”

Burton grew up in Anoka County, living in Blaine and Ramsey. He remembers marching in the Halloween Parade as a child and later he graduated from Anoka, with family ties going back generations. Between stops as a pastor he held many different jobs, including insurance agent, pawn broker, mortgage broker, executive director of a publishing company, supervisor in an oil refi nery, editor and store manager in his now hometown of Hudson, Wisconsin. The array of experiences has given him the ability to connect with many different people.

“It was certainly not by design,” Burton said. “There were times in-between serving churches where I just needed a job. Some were just by necessity. But if you’re working with a church, it’s great to know what real life is like. Working for 5 1/2 years in an oil refinery as an average guy, it helped me get a closer look and have a lot more understanding of the people sitting in my church pews. I often say, you can get more understanding and grace on a barstool than a church pew. If life doesn’t go the way you want it, the people on a barstool understand that.”
Burton took that understanding with him as he founded Lifelines, A New United Methodist Faith Community in Andover in 1998 to 2001, later working at Fridley Covenant Church from 2012-2013.

“Meeting all of my neighbors, knocking on doors, and starting in my living room, and then renting out the Andover Cinema and having 100 people show up each weekend was an incredible time,” Burton said. “In Fridley, my fondest memory was of leading worship out-doors in the summer time.”

In 2014, Burton came out with “Untamed Devotions: Stories of a Wild God.” In both of his books, personal sto-ries intertwined with messages of hope and God’s abundant love are shared, with both strongly received.

“Oh goodness, very, very positive,” Burton said. “I suppose I sold quite a few copies on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and direct sales.

“It was funny, I started writing the thing way back when I was working at the church in Andover. My leadership came to me asking for devotions. So I started writing. After a couple months of doing it they asked how it was going and they said, ‘We thought you were just going to go buy us a book of devotions, not write them!”

In the end, the books are calls to all to make the most of their lives, and to bring love, joy and hope to others.

“To have a life that has been lived to the fullest, an abundant life,” Burton said. “To not wake up one morning on your death bed gasping that you have regrets, that you didn’t have the time, the money, to have done that the whole time with love.

“I know it sounds simplistic, but I re-ally truly believe that when we put love in the center as our primary focus, it changes people. It changes events. It changes lives.”

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The Morning Blend Interview with Lora Hyler

There’s no doubt that the world has changed due to coronavirus, and Lora Hyler is on a mission to help kids navigate the new norms. Inspired by Emory Global Health Institute’s competition to help children deal with the effects of coronavirus (no schoolroom, no playdates, changes in family celebrations, etc.), Lora wrote Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Coronavirus COVID-19 Book for Children in just ten days! Today she joins us to talk about her new book and what her hopes are for it globally.

Watch the interview here>>>

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What FDR Did That Addresses the Pandemic

Urban Milwaukee

Op Ed

Creating unemployment compensation, other reforms that are helping us weather this crisis.
By David Riemer and June Hopkins

putting gov in its placePresident Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of 1933-1938 has risen from the history books as Washington frantically struggles to solve today’s crisis. It has become commonplace to state that FDR’s bold leadership is desperately needed again.

What would FDR do to revive the economy and protect Americans from a future economic catastrophe? What steps would New Deal policy makers like Harry Hopkins (whose jobs programs put millions back to work) and Frances Perkins (whose team crafted the Social Security Act) recommend that we take?

Good questions, but incomplete.

What’s missing is recognition that Roosevelt and his New Dealers have already shaped today’s solutions and created the template for future action. Hiding in plain sight, the New Deal’s policies laid the foundation for much of the legislation Congress just passed to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic and revive the economy. The real question is: “What additions to the New Deal should be put in place to get us out of the fine mess we are falling into?”

Here are just a few ways in which the New Deal built the foundation for today’s crisis response and how that framework can be bolstered in the future.

One of the great achievements of the New Deal is Unemployment Insurance (UI). It provides laid-off workers with cash to make up for lost wages. Congress just enlarged this program. The new legislation temporarily add new categories of qualifying workers, lengthens benefits from 26 to 39 weeks through 2020, and raises payments by $600 per week through July 31.

The jewel in the crown of New Deal legislation was the Social Security Act. It created UI. More famously, it launched the old age pensions that we simply call Social Security. One of the law’s accomplishments was to assign a nine-digit Social Security number to nearly all workers (today, all persons). Most of us use it to file our income taxes. The program provides the conduit for the $1,200 checks that most American adults are receiving. No Social Security number, no payment.

An even more important legacy of the New Deal is its fundamental premise: the federal government is responsible for Americans’ economic security. Before FDR took office—before Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins delivered jobs for the unemployed and a Social Security system—the federal government had no permanent structure for helping individuals in economic distress.

The New Deal established a new premise. Beginning in 1933, the federal government started providing large numbers of Americans with the right to assistance when they were beaten down by what FDR called “the hazards and vicissitudes of modern life.” Washington would henceforth raise the income of laid-off workers, low-wage employees, and seniors with insufficient savings. Eventually the government extended protections to disabled workers and seniors needing health insurance.

The laws just enacted by Congress strengthen the New Deal’s fundamental concept that it is the federal government’s duty to provide Americans with a floor of economic security.

To recognize that the New Deal laid this foundation, however, is not to assert that the New Deal’s structure is perfect. Numerous additions and reforms are needed.


As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans will have trouble finding jobs until the economy revs up. The solution is a Transitional Jobs program, a refashioned version of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that Hopkins ran. Transitional Jobs, federally subsidized, would offer temporary paid work to the unemployed and underemployed until they move into regular employment.

A higher federal minimum wage is long overdue. Our system of supplementing earnings—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit—should also be overhauled to cover more workers and provide larger refundable tax credits to wage earners without children as well as working parents.

Congress made a start on paid leave by requiring it for some workers affected by COVID-19. The New Deal’s logic, however, requires that paid leave be available for all workers who need temporary time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or an ailing relative Additionally, the New Deal should be expanded to guarantee affordable—ideally free—childcare.

As members of Congress shelter at home, let us hope they recognize how much they relied on the New Deal of FDR, Harry Hopkins, and Frances Perkins in framing their response to the nation’s crisis. Let us then hope, when they go back to work, they will be wise enough to focus once more on bolstering the New Deal model of work-based economic security for all Americans.

David Riemer is former aide to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist and the author of “Putting Government In Its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0.

June Hopkins, professor emerita at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus, is the author of “Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer,” and the grand-daughter of Harry Hopkins, who ran the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal.

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David Riemer: Strengthening broad-based economic security with a New Deal 3.0│ Ep. 17

By Arthur Thomas – BizTimes
BizTimes MKE Podcast

David Riemer says that the government structure created by the New Deal has sputtered over the last four decades in the face of international competition and disruptive technology. He also says it will take big changes to reverse declining trust in the federal government.

“The tinkering, making small changes within those four clusters, we’ve been doing for almost 80 years now, is not going to get us out of the mess that we’re in,” Riemer, senior fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, said during a recent Rotary Club of Milwaukee program. Riemer was also previously chief of staff to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, a legal advisor to Gov. Patrick Lucey, legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s subcommittee on health and scientific research and a health policy analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

The four clusters of public policy Riemer referenced include broad-based economic security, means-tested welfare programs, market regulation and market manipulation. In his new book “Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0,” Riemer argues for bolstering broad-based economic security programs and market regulation while eliminating means-tested welfare programs and subsidies.

“I favor making sure that when the market functions it doesn’t harm people, it doesn’t damage the environment, it doesn’t damage workers or consumers or investors,” Riemer said. “That’s not a proper way for a business to make profit or succeed. They ought to succeed because they’re better at producing what they produce, they’re more creative, they sell things that people want. They shouldn’t succeed because they manage dump harmful substances in the air or in the water or have their workers work in dangerous work places.”

Riemer said broad economic security programs doesn’t mean just giving people money. It does include offering the un- and underemployed fall back job opportunities, raising the minimum wage to $10 or $12 per hour, making it easier to get childcare, eliminating disincentives for work and marriage in programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and favoring the ability of unions to collectively bargain.

Hear more from Riemer’s presentation on the latest episode of the BizTimes MKE Podcast.

In partnership with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee

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The Case for a New Deal 3.0

shepherd express

Shepherd Express
Louis Fortis, Editor/Publisher

Dputting gov in its placeavid Riemer graduated from Milwaukee’s Riverside High School. After attending Harvard College and Law School, he returned to Wisconsin in 1975 to serve as legal advisor to Gov. Patrick Lucey. He later held positions with U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, Mayor John Norquist and Gov. Jim Doyle. In 2004, Riemer ran against Scott Walker for Milwaukee county executive. He served as founding director and senior fellow for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. His book, Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0, appeared this fall. Off the Cuff sat down with Riemer to ask about his provocative proposals for sweeping change in U.S. domestic policy

Much of your book deals with economic insecurity. How bad is the problem?

Economic insecurity is bad and getting worse. The official unemployment rate masks a lot of joblessness. Millions who want jobs don’t get counted as unemployed. Likewise, if you work just a few hours, you’re not counted as unemployed. In neighborhoods like Milwaukee’s Zip Code 53206, unemployment—and its cousin, underemployment—remain pervasive.

What is causing economic insecurity to worsen?

The heart of the problem is the labor market’s shortcomings. Compared to the true number of unemployed adults, the supply of vacant jobs is usually inadequate. An equally serious problem: A huge swath of employees—sometimes with two or three jobs—get paid wages so low they cannot escape poverty, much less earn a comfortable living. Unstable positions and volatile hours compound the problem.

When did America stop making progress?

The mid-1970s. Since then, we’ve made no progress in reducing the poverty rate. It’s no surprise. Men’s earnings since the 1970s have been flat. Women’s earnings have not advanced since 2000. For more than four decades, median income has flatlined.

So, what can we do about it?

We need a sharply different approach. I call it a New Deal 3.0. America needs to greatly strengthen two of the “policy clusters” that emerged from the New Deal: broad-based economic security guarantees and market regulation. We should at the same time eliminate the two other “policy clusters” that the New Deal created: means-tested welfare programs and market manipulation.

Can you spell out in more detail what you’re proposing?

To achieve true economic security, we need to focus on making work available—and making work pay. This means:

  • Guaranteeing unemployed and underemployed Americans access to Transitional Jobs, so they can have 40 hours of paid work, if that much isn’t available in the regular labor market.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, then quickly to $12 per hour, with inflation adjustments.
  • Strengthening our policies for supplementing earnings—the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit—so full-time work always yields an income way above the poverty line.
  • Making it easier to form unions and bargain collectively.
  • Other economic security guarantees are also needed. They include paid leave, excellent childcare and ensuring that adults with disabilities—as well as retired seniors—get benefits well above the poverty line.

And there’s more: Whether health care is a right or not, it’s a necessity. Every American should have affordable and excellent health insurance, as well as long-term care insurance. With this system of broad-based economic security guarantees in place, we should end means-tested welfare programs. We’ll no longer need TANF, SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and more.

You also talk about creating an effective market? What do you mean?

Two fundamental reforms are needed. First, stop corporations from “dumping.” Second, end the costly subsidies that distort the market. To begin with, the U.S. government needs to stop denying climate change. Instead, we should become a leader in stopping and reversing it. Americans likewise deserve water that is always safe to drink. In addition, government needs to do better in safeguarding workers, consumers and investors from damage. Ensuring that corporations stop “dumping,” and instead profit due to their creativity and productivity, will make the market far more effective.

A second requirement is to get rid of the hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies that government doles out. Manipulating the market in order to favor politically preferred types of consumption and investment weakens its effectiveness.

All this sounds wonderful. But in a world of gerrymandering and “dark money,” can we actually make the kind of progress you propose?

It won’t be easy. Change will be incremental. But the Bible tells us that we perish without a vision. As we proceed into the 21st century, it is essential to know where we want to head. My book is meant to be a roadmap that shows the path towards the kind of America we should aim to become.