Thom Hartmann is a noted progressive radio personality and if you have listened to his show you know he is well versed on the issues facing our country. This was one of the reasons I was excited to pick up his latest book aimed at getting our country back on the right track. The basis of the book is eleven ideas that if implemented should help the middle class find their footing again in this troubled economy.
Hartmann rails against big corporations, big banks and the conservative minded Congress (Democrat and Republican alike) for all but abandoning the middle class and the working poor. While doing that he details the historical successes of his ideas to bring the country forward in the 21st century. Some of the ideas include raises taxes back to pre-Reagan era, expanding Medicare to cover everyone, expanding access to education including lower costs of undergraduate programs, as well as ending corporate personhood.
My one possible critique is the harshness Hartmann carries out during his chapter regarding immigration. He does not believe progressives should side with amnesty or work towards citizenship programs. He strongly believes in punishing companies that employ illegal immigrants (agree with that) but he states that progressives have bought into this conservative idea of a pathway towards citizenship. I can understand his argument, which mostly follows economical reasoning, but he conveniently leaves out the human rights issue. Some progressives believe that no human being can be illegal. He does not touch on this opinion.
For the most part the book is merely red meat for progressives. One of two things will happen: you will eat it up or find yourself disappointed because you already know this stuff. Hartmann lays out the ideas and the reason effectively but I was left without any motivation to actually carry them out. The hope or encouragement is left out of the writing and leaves me wanting something else at the end.
There is little doubt the American Dream needs a good rebooting. Unfortunately it is not as simple as holding down the power button to start over. It takes a lot of time, effort and money for causes to succeed. All of this is in the face of corporate interests that have a lot more of all three ingredients.
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