Ok, 2 confessions up front. I really like Robert Reich. I think I first heard him speak on CNN or the like back talking about Black Monday (back in 1987). I read his book “The Work of Nations” published back in 1992, and I was hooked. He’s seen all over the media, usually espousing what’s seen as an extremely liberal view of the economy. But his written works are a lot more pragmatic (IMHO).
Second confession (which I’ve made elsewhere). I’m what most folks would call a liberal. Yeah, an ugly word by most. But I yam what I yam.
On to the book. It’s actually a pretty easy ready, which is surprising given the level of detail the book goes into. Not surprisingly, Reich makes a case (a strong one methinks) that powerful folks pretty much have the deck stacked in their favor, and that deckstacking has been ongoing for the past 30 years or so.
Thankfully Reich stays away from the simple labels. In fact, he goes out of his way explaining that there isn’t an evil force here (those evil rich people). Everybody is supposed to push their agenda, their interests, their needs. It’s just that the very small minority of uber-rich (my term) have constantly had their interests pushed forward, and the rest of us have not. This in the form of legislation, law, politics, technology, culture and just about every measure.
The argument is compelling. Add to that the demonizing of any discussion (such as giving a tax break to a person of wealth is a positive thing, but giving a benefit to a person working 2 jobs so they can feed their kids is a handout…both have the same dollar cost to the country), and we’re in a tough spot.
He doesn’t hold back on any sacred cows, including intellectual property, the loss of jobs through the advances of technology. Not to mention the lucrative jobs that are now awaiting our Congressman (both Blue and Red) unheard of only 30 years ago.
And yup, he’s got solutions. And yup, some of them are radical. And I suspect seen as absolute poison to many folks.
But it’s a start. Check this guy out. And leave your red/blue thoughts to the side just for a few minutes.