Read Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Ordinary Citizen by Arianna Huffington Free Online
Book Title: Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Ordinary Citizen|
The author of the book: Arianna Huffington
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: March 1st 2011
ISBN 13: 9780007437313
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.11 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.5
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Something needs to be done about democracy, particularly democracy in America. It seems clear that the vast majority of American people actually want to see America become a more equal society, a society where there is a ‘level playing field’ and where most people actually are in the ‘middle’ and not clustered about the ‘extremes’ of the very poor and pointlessly wealthy. That they want their politicians to do things to put people into jobs and to provide a reasoned debate about things that matter. And yet, looking in from afar, the main person in the news over there (and it seems the person most likely to become the next President) is some nut job from Texas – someone that makes Bush II look good in the way I understood Shrek 2 to be much better than I had remembered it after I had seen Shrek 3. It is almost as if Rick Perry’s sole aim in life is to take from the poor so he can give to the rich. It is all very depressing.
The main thing I will remember from this book is the idea that if you were to get everyone in America and stand in a line from richest to poorest then the person right in the middle would be the middle class. This seems like as good a definition of middle class as any other I’ve ever heard. The terrifying thing this book points out though about this guy in the middle is that since the mid-1970s they have seen their real income drop. This is despite the fact that their productivity as a worker has substantially increased since then. This should be a national scandal, instead people just shrug their shoulders.
An article I read recently suggested that despite being prepared to bring the world economy to the brink of economic collapse rather than contemplate taxes on the obscenely wealthy (and despite some of the obscenely wealthy saying they should be taxed), the Republicans are looking at ways to increase taxes on the middle class. The US can hardly be considered a democracy anymore, it is now a plutocracy – so much so that even trying to imagine someone from the poor even thinking they have an equal say with someone from very rich is so unthinkable as to be nearly satire. Even Obama became president as a millionaire (estimated wealth at the time – it has grown substantially since, apparently – was between $1-2.5 million) – although, admittedly, that did make him the poorest of all of the candidates. If Pascal was right and we laugh and cry about the same things, it is time for a sitcom about a non-corrupt politician, not beholden to corporate interests and lobbyists. Someone who could say classic one liners like, “I’m not sure how that would wash with my electorate”, “I can’t take your money” or “Our democracy is based on the separation of church and state for the benefit of both church and state”.
The great sucking sound of US jobs leaving the country is so loud now that people can’t hear it. Nothing is done to alleviate unemployment except words – sure there is talk, but talk is cheap. Trillions of dollars were poured into banks ‘too big to fail’ by sucking money out of families too small to bother about.
This book is supposed to leave the reader with a sense of hope. Following page after page of statistics that would make you weep and near endless examples of just how dire, just how intractable the problems facing us are, she thinks a couple of feel good stories of people Bill and Ted-ing (being excellent to one another) will be enough to bring back that inner glow. Well, it did exactly the opposite for me. I came away from this book feeling very depressed. Her examples of how we can shift our bank accounts to smaller banks as a protest against the banks too big to fail is a case in point. Don’t bother – as soon as you do the big bank will buy your small bank. I know you have been told of the joys of being a customer – and how powerful you are as a customer. Well, there is something better to be and it is called a citizen. Anyone who tells you that you should be a customer rather than a citizen is stealing something from you much more precious than you can afford to loose.
The only other part of this book that was clearly a nonsense was her repeating all of the stuff in Waiting for Superman about the evil education unions and how they are single-handedly responsible for the near total collapse of the US education system. My friend Laura put me onto this article by Diane Ravitch http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi... that answers most of the overwrought criticisms of teachers and their unions that are used in this book.
The collapse of the middle class in the USA and elsewhere is terrifying to watch. For much of the twentieth century it looked like capitalism had somehow dodged the bullet that Ricardo, Marx and Co. said was virtually inevitable – the total impoverishment of the working class they saw as a universal law of capitalism. It looked like we were heading instead for the total elimination of the working class as they became the middle class. But that is no more. And the problem is that the right people aren’t angry, the people who pay their taxes only to see those taxes be given to banks to prop them up, banks that then foreclose on the very taxpayer’s whose taxes saved them. Surely, those are the people you might expect to be angry.
I find that if I think about this stuff for too long I start to feel seasick.
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Read information about the authorArianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books.
In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
She has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.
She serves on several boards, including HuffPost’s partners in Spain, the newspaper EL PAÍS and its parent company PRISA; Onex; The Center for Public Integrity; and The Committee to Protect Journalists.
Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published by Crown in March 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.