Robert has been sounding alarms for several years now, most of them seeming to fall on deaf ears. He carefully spells out how things have gone awry economically in this country, which no one can really doubt, except perhaps the 1% and above. They are doing better than ever, which is a large part of the problem. The 1% and above are doing fabulously well while the rest of us are mired in stagnating or dropping incomes, while costs continue to rise.
Robert demonstrates how the "regressives" (read: GOP) want to turn back the clock to the 1920's, and how the Democrats have failed miserably to counter their push.
There is one common refrain in Robert's book that you have no doubt heard elsewhere, if you pay even a little attention to politics, and that is: you (and I) have to get involved and stay involved if things are to improve. FDR said it; Teddy Roosevelt said it; Barack Obama has said it.
You want the President to do the "right thing?" "You have to make me."
Many Americans feel that they don't have the time to "make" their elected reps do the right thing. Or they are just not willing to become seriously and consistently involved. I am sympathetic to both of those camps.
To recap a few things from Robert's book:
"Leaders get people to actively work on what needs to be done. To do this, leaders need to help people overcome the four "work-avoidance mechanisms: that most of the rest of us carry around in our heads.
Those mechanisms are denial that a problem exists, the desire to escape responsibility even when we recognize the problem, the tendency to scapegoat others for causing it, and - worst of all - cynicism about the possibility of ever remedying the problem.
In addition to listing the things that have gone wrong over the last 30 years to get us to where we are today, Robert does list things that should be done to turn the ship around. In brief, they are:
"Raise the tax rate on the rich to what it was before 1981.
Put a 2 percent surtax on the wealth of the richest one-half of 1 percent.
Put a one-half of 1 percent tax on all financial transactions.
Cut the military budget more than scheduled.
Use Medicare to control soaring health-care costs.
Fight for Medicare-for-all.
Use these added revenues and budget savings to invest in public goods - especially education and infrastructure.
Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act.
Cap the size of Wall Street's biggest banks.
Require big banks to modify underwater mortgages.
Get big money out of politics."
Piece of cake, huh? That's quite a list. I agree with every single one of them. Now, to fight or not to fight. That is the question.
Highly recommended: Beyond Outrage (2012) by Robert B. Reich