Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Rebooting the American Dream

Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, Thom Hartmann, Barrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010

When a computer is acting up, the first thing to do is reboot and start over. America's operating system, which has worked pretty well until recently, was weakened by Reaganomics, and then by policies from Clinton and the Bushes. This book tells how America can reboot and restore.

Manufacturing is the only way for a country to build wealth. The service economy, or simply moving money from place to place, does not build national wealth nearly as well. Adam Smith and Alexander Hamilton knew it, but we seem to have forgotten it. For instance, where is the advantage in needing parts from China to build a missile or aircraft carrier to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack?

A little-known study done by the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute showed that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts actually grew the size of the federal government. The higher pre-Reagan tax rates and the increased taxes under Clinton actually shrank the size of the federal government.

Reagan's decision to stop enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act has led to a huge growth in the size of oligarchic corporations that dominate all parts of the economy. It has led to the devastation of local economies. Are cheap, mass-produced goods really more important than a healthy local economy? Hartmann asserts that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act needs to be re-enforced and America needs to return to the "trust busting" policies of Theodore Roosevelt.

It is wrong to think that America can forcefully impose democracy and an opensociety on the rest of the world. If they think that democracy is such a great idea, they will steal the idea and do it themselves. The problem is not "illegal immigration," the problem is American employers who pay much lower wages than an American worker would receive. There are few ways to reverse bad Supreme Court decisions, like the Citizens United decision, except by advocating for a Constitutional amendment.

This is an excellent book. It's interesting and easy to read, and it's written with passion. It is very much worth the time.

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