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Beyond Outrage (Expanded, Enhanced Edition) [Format Kindle avec audio/vidéo]

Robert B. Reich

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  • Longueur : 176 pages
  • Langue : Anglais
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Introduction

I’ve written this book to give you the big picture of why and how our economy and our democracy are becoming rigged against average working people, what must be done, and what you can do about it. I’ve called it Beyond Outrage for a very specific reason. Your outrage is understandable. Moral outrage is the prerequisite of social change. But you also need to move beyond outrage and take action. The regressive forces seeking to move our nation backward must not be allowed to triumph.

I have been involved in public life, off and on, for more than forty years. I’ve served under three presidents. When not in office, I’ve done my share of organizing and rabble-­rousing, along with teaching, speaking, and writing about what I know and what I believe. I have never been as concerned as I am now about the future of our democracy, the corrupting effects of big money in our politics, the stridency and demagoguery of the regressive right, and the accumulation of wealth and power at the very top. We are perilously close to losing an economy and a democracy that are meant to work for everyone and to replacing them with an ­economy and a government that will exist mainly for a few wealthy and powerful people.

This book is meant to help you focus on what needs to be done and how you can contribute, and to encourage you not to feel bound by what you think is politically possible this year or next. You need to understand why the stakes are so high and why your participation—­now and in the future—­is so important. I’ve tried to array concepts and arguments in a way that you’ll find helpful. All the facts I’ve cited are from government reports unless otherwise indicated.

In my experience, nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington become mobilized, organized, and energized to make it happen. Nothing worth changing in America will actually change unless you and others like you are committed to achieving that change.



Connecting the Dots

The first thing you need to do is connect the dots and understand how many troubling but seemingly unrelated things are interwoven. The challenge we face is systemic. The fundamentals of our economy are out of whack, which has distorted our democracy, and these distortions, in turn, are making it harder to fix the economic fundamentals. Later in the book we’ll examine several of these dots in detail, but now I’d like you to see the big picture.

The first dot: For three decades almost all the gains from economic growth have gone to the top. In the 1960s and 1970s, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans got 9–­10 percent of our total income. By 2007, just before the Great Recession, that share had more than doubled, to 23.5 percent. Over the same period the wealthiest one-­tenth of 1 percent tripled its share. We haven’t experienced this degree of concentrated wealth since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century. The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the entire bottom half of earners—­150 million Americans—­put together. Meanwhile, over the last three decades the wages of the typical worker have stagnated, averaging only about $280 more a year than thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. Since 2001, the median wage has actually dropped.

This connects to . . .

The second dot: The Great Recession was followed by an anemic recovery. Because so much income and wealth have gone to the top, America’s vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going—­not, at least, without going deeper and deeper into debt. But debt bubbles burst. The burst of 2008 ushered in a terrible recession—­the worst economic calamity to hit this country since the Great Depression of the 1930s—­as middle-­class consumers had to sharply reduce their spending and as businesses, faced with declining sales, had to lay off millions. We bottomed out, but the so-­called recovery has been one of the most anemic on record. That’s because the middle class still lacks the purchasing power to keep the economy going and can no longer rely on borrowing.

While at the same time . . .

The third dot: Political power flows to the top. As income and wealth have risen to the top, so has political clout. Obviously, not everyone who’s rich is intentionally corrupting our democracy. For those so inclined, however, the process is subtle and lethal. In order to be elected or reelected, politicians rely greatly on advertising, whose costs have risen as campaign spending escalates. They find the money where more and more of the money is located—­with CEOs and other top executives of big corporations and with traders and fund managers on Wall Street. A Supreme Court dominated by conservative jurists has opened the floodgates to unlimited amounts of money flowing into political campaigns. The wealth of the super-­rich also works its way into politics through the corporations they run or own, which employ legions of lobbyists and public relations experts. And their wealth buys direct access to elected officials in informal dinners, rounds of golf, overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom, and fancy boondoggles.

Which connects to . . .

The fourth dot: Corporations and the very rich get to pay lower taxes, receive more corporate welfare, and are bound by fewer regulations. Money paid to politicians doesn’t enrich them directly; that would be illegal. Rather, it makes politicians dependent on their patrons in order to be reelected. So when top corporate executives or Wall Street traders and managers want something from politicians they have backed, those politicians are likely to respond positively. What these patrons want most are lower taxes for themselves and their businesses. They also want subsidies, bailouts, government contracts, loan guarantees, and other forms of corporate welfare, and fewer regulations. The tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003—­and extended for two years in 2010—­in 2011 saved the richest 1.4 million taxpayers (the top 1 percent) more money than the rest of America’s 140,890,000 taxpayers received in total income.

Leading to . . .

The fifth dot: Government budgets are squeezed. With so much of the nation’s income and wealth at the top, tax rates on top earners and corporations dropping, and most workers’ wages stalling or declining, tax revenues at all levels of government have fallen precipitously. This has led to a major squeeze on public budgets at all levels of government. The result has been deteriorating schools, less college aid, crowded and pockmarked highways, unsafe bridges, antiquated public transportation, unkempt parks, fewer police officers, fewer social workers, and the decline of almost everything else the broader public relies on.

Which connects to . . .

The sixth dot: Average Americans are competing with one another for slices of a shrinking pie. There is now more intense competition for a dwindling number of jobs, a smaller share of total income, and ever more limited public services. Native-­born Americans are threatened by new immigrants; private sector workers are resentful of public employees; ­non-unionized workers are threatened by the unionized; middle-­class Americans are competing with the poor. Rather than feel that we’re all in it together, we increasingly have the sense that each of us is on his or her own.

Which leads, finally, to . . .

The seventh dot: A meaner and more cynical politics prevails. Because of all these occurrences, our politics has become ­nastier, more polarized, and increasingly paralyzed. Compromise is more difficult. Elections are more venomous, political advertising increasingly negative. Angry voters are more willing to support candidates who vilify their opponents and find easy scapegoats. Talking heads have become shouting heads. Many Americans have grown cynical about our collective ability to solve our problems. And that cynicism has become a self-­fulfilling prophecy, as nothing gets solved.

Connect these dots and you understand why we’ve come to where we are. We’re in a vicious cycle. Our economy and our democracy depend on it being reversed. The well-­being of your children and grandchildren requires it.

In Part One, I describe how the game is becoming rigged against average working people and in favor of wealthy plutocrats and large corporations. In Part Two, I explain the rise of the regressive right, a movement designed not to conserve what we have but to take America backward toward the social Darwinist ideas that prevailed in the late nineteenth century. In Part Three, I suggest what you can do to reverse this perilous course.

Présentation de l'éditeur

This enhanced edition of Robert B. Reich’s eBook Beyond Outrage features five videos that are both entertaining and informative. In them, Reich puts his patented wry style—not to mention his whiteboard—to good use, breaking down what’s wrong with this country and urging Americans to get beyond mere outrage about the nation’s increasingly concentrated wealth and corrupt politics in order to mobilize and to take back our economy and democracy. The American political system is in crisis—paralyzed by gridlock, beset with cynicism, and sabotaged by competing interests that have perversely made even common-sense policy virtually impossible. In this urgent book, Robert Reich argues nothing important can happen in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure politicians honor their promises. But in order to be effectively mobilized, we need to see the big picture. Beyond Outrage connects the dots for us, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, undermining our democracy; caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the "regressive right" are dead wrong and provides a clear roadmap of what must be done instead. Here's a blueprint for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  251 commentaires
185 internautes sur 201 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Sound Plea for Action 18 avril 2012
Par Book Shark - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it by Robert B. Reich

"Beyond Outrage" is a plea for action for those who care about the Future of America. Accomplished author of twelve books and current Professor of Public Policy, Robert Reich provides insight to what happened to our economy and how to fix it. In a lucid and persuasive manner, Reich provides compelling arguments in support of his main thesis: that our economy and democracy has been manipulated against average working people and what can be done about it. This Kindle Single is an intellectual appetizer. This 1744 KB book is broken out into three parts: Part One. The Rigged Game, Part Two. The Rise of the Regressive Right, and Part Three. Beyond Outrage: What You Need to Do.

Positives:
1. Well written, accessible book that gets to the points.
2. Robert Reich is an excellent author with a mastery of the subject.
3. Establishes upfront the main thesis of this Kindle Single and what the reader should expect from the main body of the book.
4. Provides seven dots that when connected show why our economic system is out of whack.
5. Thought-provoking comments, "Republicans want us to believe that the central issue is the size of government, but the real issue is whom government is for."
6. The gist of the problem; the super-rich have rigged our economy in their favor and at the expense of the average American. Reich provides an overwhelming amount of data in support of his argument. Outrage indeed.
7. The issue of revolving doors with regards to regulators and the corporations they were supposed to regulate.
8. The relation between the super-rich and their political influence. The political influence that money can buy.
9. The best definition for regulation..."regulations make sense where the benefits to the public exceed the costs, and regulations should be designed to maximize those benefits and minimize those costs." Will Dodd-Frank legislation be effective?
10. What economic history has taught us. A look at presidential policies from the past.
11. The conservative agenda. The rise of the Regressive Right and their strategy.
12. A look at the Tea Partiers, their political views.
13. The ten biggest economic lies. Interesting.
14. How to make a movement.
15. An agenda with specific points. Sound policies.
16. Links to further information.

Negatives:
1. If you have read some of the author's previous books this Kindle Single may come across as déjà vu.
2. No formal bibliography or links to notes.
3. I'm never happy when a term like "Social Darwinism" is used. It's a bastardized term. Oh well...
4. Tax Reform , that is, tax simplification is needed.

In summary, if you have read previous books or have followed Professor Reich's videos this book will feel like déjà vu but if you haven't or just like the idea of having this specific thesis as a refresher or aren't familiar at all, by all means get it. Reich writes in a lucid and direct manner, and always provides thought-provoking insight into the economy. His arguments are sound and it will take you a short time to go through it. I recommend it.

Further recommendations: "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (Vintage)" by Robert B. Reich, "Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present" by Jeff Madrick, "Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else" by David Cay Johnston, "Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class" by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, "The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take" by Bruce Bartlett, "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street" by Robert Scheer, "The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy: And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America" by Joshua Holland, "That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back", by Thomas L. Friedman, "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback))" by Thom Hartmann, and "War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back" by Lou Dobbs.
59 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful Short e-book on How to Advance A Fair Political System in the United States 19 avril 2012
Par Lynn Ellingwood - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle avec audio/vidéo|Achat vérifié
Wonderful "single" e-book containing suggestions from Robert B. Reich about identifying the problems the United States is facing. HIs focus on the future of the United States in the economy, and the lives of the people living here. He provides a simple and clear explanation for the causes of our problems, what is happening now, and what needs to happen in the future. Reich also reminds people that it can take years to accomplish changes. The enhanced edition contains videos which provide further explanation and clarity for his talking points. I was a bit frustrated because the videos wouldn't play on my Kindle Fire, on my Kindle app on my computer or in the Amazon Cloud Player. There was no guidance regarding the devices I might read my enhanced book on. Finally I tried my IPad and it worked quite well. I just don't know why it was left to me to find the perfect device. Better labeling would help. But anyway, nice book.
44 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Better-framed issues ... more suggestions on how we can personally respond 5 septembre 2012
Par T. Sales - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Robert Reich writes periodic books that address economic and societal issues emerging over time. His background as a liberal thought leader, Secretary of Labor, television guest and professor provides him with an insider and outspoken perspective on our current political alternatives. Unlike the many similar books published during this election cycle, in "Beyond Outrage" Reich focuses less on how we got here and more on what it means to us to continue down the Democratic/Progressive path vs. the Republican/Regressive path. This seems critical as so many people seem to be leaning and eventually voting against their own best interests.

The book is divided into three parts. In Part One, Reich works through an analysis of how wealthy plutocrats and corporations have colluded with the government to rig the system against average working people. He discusses topics like 1) how little risk corporations and CEOs really face and whether working people can survive when the wealthy get all the rewards, 2) how the business-first, tear-down-regulations, military focus of the government has stacked the deck, 3) how the wealthy have so many resources that they will do/spend as much as it takes to keep things the way they are, and other topics reminiscent of Mike Lofgren's just-published "The Party Is Over." It seems to me that if we continue down this path--rather than being most respected for our innovations, our culture and our championing of human rights--America will soon be the world's greatest offshore employer and purveyor of weaponry. Not exactly something to be proud of, when we can fire people or in severe cases take them out from afar.

Reich describes why corporations will not be the ones who lead us back. He quotes Apple--surely America's most admired company now--as stating, 'We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.' The result is that CEO Tim Cook made $378 million last year and Apple employs only 43,000 employees in America and 700,000 abroad. Reich confirms outright what other authors have only hinted at--that American corporations don't care about hiring American workers or even selling to American consumers. There are better markets elsewhere. Part One ends with the poignant question 'Whom is the economy for, anyway?'--concluding that 'An economy should exist for the people who inhabit it, not the other way around. The purpose of an economy is to provide everyone with opportunities to live full, happy and productive lives. Yet when most people come to view the economic game as rigged, this most basic purpose cannot be achieved.' Even the Chinese, Reich shows, are more focused on their own citizens as they seek to compete with us.

In Part Two he makes a point-by-point comparison of how Progressives work to move our society and economy forward while Regressives work -- not to conserve (as in conservative) what we have -- but to drag us backward to survival-of-the-fittest times like 1870-1900 and 1920-1929 when the rich had free reign to get what they wanted. As Lofgren also pointed out, many of the issues Regressives raise--their stop-at-nothing obstructionism, their focus on private morality, their divide-and-conquer marketing approach, their 10 economic lies--are all just smokescreen for what they most care about -- their tax strategies to protect their own wealth and the power and opportunities for their own that comes with it. Why should they worry about education or opportunities for all when they have that covered already so well for themselves?

In Part Three, Reich spends more time and discussion than similar books to offer solutions and advice to Progressives on how they can act personally to move America forward rather than backward. The discussion here is quite unique and personalized, where other books are criticized for their lack of solutions. He explains how Congress and Presidents will only act the way they are forced to by their constituents. If there is not a voice or movement pushing them to level the playing field and move forward, then they will continue down their current paths. He points out how easy it is to lobby or rabble-rouse online but that minds are really only changed with in-person interaction. The problem, Reich says, is that we don't know how to act or inspire change when we are already "Beyond Outrage."

This is a good book -- or manifesto. There's no index or scholarly tone with footnotes. Rather, it's vintage Reich where he steps up to add his voice to the others when it seems critical to do so.
73 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Okay for a primer. 24 avril 2012
Par Thomas M. Morgan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This "Single" does some really great things. Anyone reading with a truly open mind would have to agree that the situation Reich describes is deplorable--unconscionable. He begins with some terrific facts; "The tax cuts...saved the richest 1.4 million taxpayers...more money than the rest of America's 140.89 million taxpayers..." "...one out of every three homeowners with a mortgage is under water..." "In 2010, 18,000 American households earning more than half a million dollars paid no income taxes at all." "It turns out that only an estimated 10 percent of all charitable deductions are directed at the poor."

He makes all these statements in defining what others have come to call "the 1% society". His case for change is iron-clad. Just about everything he did well AND not-well are neatly listed by Top 500 reviewer J. Gomez.

Where I think Reich is weak is in not giving you a proper image of what caused all this. Where he fails abominably is in his prescription for redress of this grievance.

He points out that things weren't always this way. Under Republican President Eisenhour (from 1953-1960)top income tax rates were 90%, and effective total rate was 52%. We were prosperous, progressive and happy. (The period was marked by the expression "I like Ike!")

What has happened in this country is that business ran roughshod over everyone else with no control or regulation from the end of the civil war until the end of the gilded age, and came crashing down on America's head with the Great Depression. Before that, it would be difficult to gauge America's ideological polarity, but following the abortive Hoover administration and it's introduction of 25% unemployment, the needle swung dramatically to the LEFT.

It's been pointed out time and again that the subsidies of the FDR administration failed to bring America out of the depression (Just as President Obama's administration has failed to bring us out of the Great Recession of 2008.) But we saw and can easily revisit what the programs and activity of the Hoover Administration brought the country. Actually FDR DID succeed in getting us into the war (early with lend-lease)which DID end the depression.

A liberal bias ruled this country beginning with FDR and the New Deal and extending to the next big wave of social legislation with the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson. This period (1932-1978) saw a wave of legislation, executive decisions and political activity that created an environment that expanded both the middle class, and its relative earnings and wealth within the greater economy. Not only did more people make more money, but huge groups of people previously discriminated against gained unprecedented rights. It meant something to be an American.

During this same period resistence to these laws, regulations and policies began to sponsor organized resistance. Some of the chief vehicles of resistance were the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council and the NRA. Wealthy individuals and large companies were natural allies in resistance to the Great Society programs and regulations and each year after 1978 saw them become progressively more effective. The end result is what you see today.

My point in taking you through all this boring exposition is that it took a long time to establish a successful Liberal bias in this country, and just as long to produce a Conservative one. There are no simple answers. The last 20% of this book is just silly, like the last (calls to action) part of ALL his books. It may say something about why he failed in his attempt to become the Massachusetts governor.

So, while his indictment of WHERE WE ARE is spot on, his recommendations for solving it are a joke.

The minions of the right have organized several well-funded (American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, etc.) think tanks to carry and advance their standard. They have funded (every large business in America) thousands of lobbyists--thousands more than liberals--to pursue further tax cuts, redactions of regulations and outright opposition to any Liberal agenda. And they have won over the support of ALL fundamentalist religious movements by adopting (it wasn't part of "Conservatism" during the Goldwater era) their social agenda. (Otherwise, they sink back into the "loyal opposition" position they occupied when Democratic majorities exceeded the 60% threshold)

The question I ask Mr. Reich is, "How are you going to assemble an effective resistence to this alignment?" The answer is not in this book, it's not in any of Mr. Reich's books. The recommendations in all his books are just so much left-wing mumbo jumbo. See how easily I dismissed that. That's a tried and true tactic of Conservatives. They load the language to make Liberal a dirty word, and steadfastly deny Democrats the right to become an adjective. (democratic party)

Still, things WILL change. He mentions the Arab spring, but fails to credit its moment of inception. On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself in protest to the actions of the country's regime. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, ruler since 1987, abdicated on January 14, 2011, unofficially sanctioning the Arab spring. This is an example of one man making a significant difference. There was obviously enormous pent up dissatisfaction, but it required a compelling event to effect its release.

No one questions the courage of Mr. Reich's convictions, but unless he is willing to follow the examble of Mr. Bouazizi, I would suggest he keep his recomendations to himself. This book IS recommended if you are in doubt that things should change, but it is the intellectual equivalent of East Side cocktail party chatter. It's light and provocative, but the substance is diluted. No footnotes, not the first traceable attribution of source.

For a much better version of the same thing Reich attempts read Winner-Take-All-Politics by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Beyond Outrage by Robert Reich 19 juin 2012
Par Linda L. Langlois - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I agree with most of what Dr. Reich states. My husband and I are in our 50's and feel like we are going back to the late 60's in many ways. I used to be so hopeful for my future, but now we are just trying to survive on one professional teacher's income and the minimum wage jobs of a former professional banker. This was a great read for conformation of things I was thinking and wondering if anyone else thought the same. I highly recommend this book.
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