Saturday, August 02, 2008

Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class

The book of the week is "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It" by Thom Hartmann.

I enjoyed this book a lot! It's a fast read on a very serious subject: where did the middle class come from, where is it going, and why is it essential to maintaining democracy?

Hartmann shows how the Middle Class was built in America with the development of the independent citizen-farmer, dependent not on employers but on himself (...and the land taken from Indians.) This system started collapsing around 1890 as corporations took control of the transportation network, slowing strangling the farmers. The Great Depression was one result. The Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower administrations created a new Middle Class by educating veterans, improving health care, and other reforms that lead to historic prosperity. The Reagan Administration and its successors in both parties tore that down, creating rules and conditions that value corporations over people. This not only destroys safety nets for working people (from progressive taxation to antitrust legislation to Social Security) but also destroyed the empowered, educated middle class that is crucial to a functioning democracy.

Read it yourself, and think for yourself: here on Amazon. You will learn a lot.

See excerpt on Amazon

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