CLBR Segment 2: Michael Grunwald discusses “The New New Deal”

The New New Deal


Thanks to the Miami Book Fair International for bringing us Michael Grunwald, the author of “The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Administration”.   Michael, a Time senior correspondent, has won the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for investigative reporting, and many other prizes. (Photo Credit: David Whitman)

From Simon & Schuster

In a riveting account based on new documents and interviews with more than 400 sources on both sides of the aisle, award-winning reporter Michael Grunwald reveals the vivid story behind President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill, one of the most important and least understood pieces of legislation in the history of the country. Grunwald’s meticulous reporting shows how the stimulus, though reviled on the right and the left, helped prevent a depression while jump-starting the president’s agenda for lasting change. As ambitious and far-reaching as FDR’s New Deal, the Recovery Act is a down payment on the nation’s economic and environmental future, the purest distillation of change in the Obama era. 

The stimulus has launched a transition to a clean-energy economy, doubled our renewable power, and financed unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, a smarter grid, electric cars, advanced biofuels, and green manufacturing. It is computerizing America’s pen-and-paper medical system. Its Race to the Top is the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It has put in place the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, the largest research investments ever, and the most extensive infrastructure investments since Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. It includes the largest expansion of antipoverty programs since the Great Society, lifting millions of Americans above the poverty line, reducing homelessness, and modernizing unemployment insurance. Like the first New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has created legacies that last: the world’s largest wind and solar projects, a new battery industry, a fledgling high-speed rail network, and the world’s highest-speed Internet network. 

Michael Grunwald goes behind the scenes—sitting in on cabinet meetings, as well as recounting the secret strategy sessions where Republicans devised their resistance to Obama—to show how the stimulus was born, how it fueled a resurgence on the right, and how it is changing America. The New New Deal shatters the conventional Washington narrative and it will redefine the way Obama’s first term is perceived.


“One of the year’s deepest books” —Politico
“A must-read book” —
“There’s plenty here for everyone to get aflutter about all over again in this riveting account of President Obama’s stimulus bill. Grunwald, a Time magazine senior correspondent, provides captivating background history on the stimulus and how it may prove to be a far greater deal than the one FDR famously launched.” —Chicago Tribune
The New New Deal is the most interesting book that has been published about the Obama administration. Even Republicans should read it.”

(The Economist)

“Michael Grunwald is one of our generation’s most original and tireless journalists—a reporter who is allergic to received wisdom, a writer with an uncommon talent for illuminating hidden truths. So it is a delight, but not a surprise, that The New New Deal demolishes clichés and vividly reframes our thinking about President Obama and his stimulus package through a gripping narrative. Even if everyone doesn’t agree with Grunwald’s provocative conclusions, every serious reader will see in Grunwald’s book a vindication of serious journalism, at a time when we need it.”
John Harris, Politico 




One successful byproduct of the Stimulus Package that we have featured on CLBR on two occasions is Chattanooga’s investment in becoming the Western Hemisphere’s first city with Gigabyte Per Second speed.  Now celebrating its 4th anniversary, here is some recent press on the success of the project.

60f802cb22a93898e3ea58fe87d704cfRebooting Chattanooga’s Fortunes

It has the fastest Internet speeds in the Western Hemisphere. It boasts the world’s only automotive factory with LEED Platinum certification, the EPA’s highest green-building rating. And Outside magazine named it “The Best City Ever.”

A Silicon Valley enclave?

No. Chattanooga, Tenn., the factory town once so polluted that people had to drive with their headlights on all day. Chattanoogans are quick to mention that in 1969 Walter Cronkite called it the “dirtiest city in America.”

They’re also quick to add that their town is now called Gig City, after making a big comeback. The nickname comes from its fiber-optic network, the nation’s first to support Internet speeds of one gigabit a second, which is probably more than 100 times faster than the connection you’re using to read this now. Chattanooga’s gig network has helped attract $4 billion in foreign investment since the downturn and a flock of new tech entrepreneurs to the city, who revel in its green spaces, hip cultural offerings—and clean air.

ABC-Australia-logo‘Gig City’ Chattanooga leads the way as US leaves high-speed internet to the free market

Three years on, high-tech businesses have moved in, bringing thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment.

Aaron Welch owns Iron Gaming, a tech start-up he wants to turn into the biggest name in online gaming – all from Chattanooga.

“What would take several days to transfer over a normal network, you can do in a matter of minutes here,” he said.

upstart-logo-ubj-280Chattanooga’s Gig City makes play to be ‘Internet of things’ capital

GIGTANK offers global startups an opportunity unique to Chattanooga. Here, startups in the growing movement toward an “Internet of things” can test their technologies with consumers and businesses on a network that’s always up and always fast, one much like we’ll see in cities around the world someday soon. GIGTANK targets startups in industries likely to change the most with more bandwidth: retail, home and media, health and wellness and transportation.

“Even if we went two hours north or south to Nashville or Atlanta you are still looking at twice as expensive for operating costs.”

Now the rest of America wants to catch up.