“It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!”
by James Carville and Stan Greenberg
Read by the Authors
Published by Penguin Audio
Approx 7 Hours
I’ve always been told that unless you want to start an argument, you should never start a conversation about religion or politics. In this age of social media, I have seen this statement prove to be so true. When someone tweets or posts on Facebook something immediately their “friends” will start debating the post. I find it a bit fun to post and just watch the emotions rise. Until now I have pretty much kept my blogs pretty neutral, but after listening to this audiobook, I’m siding with these die-hard democrats, James Carville and Stan Greenberg.
James Carville, seems to be the one to come to when discussing anything democrat. He is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, attorney, media personality, prominent liberal pundit and even an actor. He was the lead strategist of the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, that alone makes him one of the go to men when it comes to the Democratic party. He is married to Republican political consultant Mary Matalin, and I’ve always wondered what their dinner conversations sound like. As a reader of this book he is fun to hear. At times he gets pretty emotional about the subject matter and it shows, this makes his segments the good part of the book. Now, that being said, he is also from Louisiana and anyone north of Shreveport, may have a bit of a problem understanding his speech through his accent, especially when he gets really emotional about the subject matter. That may annoy some people but I wouldn’t have anyone else read the book, so if that gives you fits, bear through it, by the time it is done you will completely understand the accent and at the same time get a great political education.
Stan Greenberg is a Democratic pollster and political strategist who has advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry and hundreds of other candidates and organizations in the United States and around the world. He’s a political scientist he has a Ph.D. from Harvard and taught at Yale. His study of Reagan Democrats became a classic progressive political strategy. His credentials are impressive and he’s yet another great representative of the Democratic party. Like Carville, he has moments where he gets caught up in the emotions of the material and speaks too fast or drops some word endings. His delivery was not due to a Louisiana accent but rather the speed of his delivery. After listening for a while I got used to it and again would not have had anyone else read the book.
So there we got the delivery out of the way, let’s talk about the material. Ask anyone what it would take to get this country back on track and you would probably get the number of different ideas equal to the number of people you ask. This book does present several ideas that if they were instituted sound as though they could get this country back on track, but, how do you get them instituted? My feeling is that no matter who is in office, unless you get all representatives looking to help the country rather than themselves, nothing will get done. This is especially true when it comes to legislation and policies that concern the middle class.
As discussed in this book, the Middle Class has taken a hit for the last 30 years in this country. While productivity has increased wages for the blue-collar workers (middle class) have decreased (even more dramatically when adjusted for inflation, etc.). So with productivity increasing that means more money for the companies, but where does it go? You could say some goes back into the company for research and development, after all, the last 30 years have seen some of the most innovative products being created, but if you follow the money you will find that while middle class wages have decreased,even working longer hours with less benefits, C.E.O. wages and bonuses have increased exponentially.
With the weight of this country being held up by the middle class; products and goods consumed or exported, tax base for the fiscal stability of the country, and our armed forces being manned by middle class families, it only stands to reason that policies that affect the country affect the middle class even more so. So as the authors of this book suggest, all our policies and legislation should only be discussed after the question, “How does this affect the middle class?” is asked.
Topics such as healthcare, equal taxes, wages, benefits and even employment creation are all discussed in this book in very down to earth terms that make it seem as though everyone should be thinking this way. Unfortunately those making the political decisions have forgotten the middle class and as the large part of the constituency, the middle class need to remind them we are here.
Check out this book and get a glimpse as to what could be the perfect set of ideas to get this country back on track. No matter what your political affiliation, you will find that this book makes sense.