192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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.
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.
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.
61 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/VideoVerified Purchase
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.
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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.
86 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The book is very short and contains little information beyond the viewpoint laid out in the description. Aside from reiterating that there is a growing gap between rich and poor due to years of laissez-faire, the book has only a short section on what must be done. This short section basically says: "organize to make this a campaign issue". Duh!
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This short book is written in a style very familiar to anyone that has seen his explanatory videos on the internet. His 'voice' really comes through in the writing, which, as the first book I've read by him, is very refreshing.
While other liberals are shying away from the label and practically apologizing for their positions, letting the far-right conservatives define all the debates, Reich takes the bull by the horns and delivers what is essentially long, point-by-point memo of the things that are wrong, why, and a step-by-step guide of how to fix it.
The book is short and to the point with very little filler, but it packs a punch. Some will surely knock it for the 'my way or the highway' tone, but the title of the book is "Beyond Outrage" so what do you expect?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I looked for a book by Reich after watching his Inequality For All documentary, hoping for a bit more detail. This book really is that documentary in book form. It discusses the large recent swings in the economy, discusses what Reich claims are the causes, and then covers the effects and some possible solutions.
Easy to read with analogies and layman's terms
Covers the main problem and proposes a solution
Oversimplifies a complex issue
Provides little real evidence
This is the economist's version of propaganda, like Thomas Paine's common sense. It uses simplifications and layman's terms to describe why the rich are getting richer at the common man's expense, and then hands the common man a pitchfork.
While I mostly agreed with this book, I wished for more evidence that his basic premises were true. I wanted to see the real numbers that showed not only the effects of inequality - but the numbers that justified Reich's diagnosis of the problem. If you are ready for economic jargon and dry reading you can find that sort of thing in other books, such as Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.
Reich's Beyond Outrage is fun to read and points a finger at a real problem, but if you aren't ready to grab your pitchfork without evidence - look elsewhere.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Robert Reich has written several books about income inequality, it's causes, and the harm it's doing to our country. Beyond Outrage is the latest (unless I've missed a more recent one) and neatly summarizes the facts and arguments of his earlier books. At 151 pages (including an appendix), it's a quick read and is written in Professor Reich's direct, no nonsense style. It's also quite affordable at about $10; I suspect that the Professor, who probably doesn't need the money, has waived his usual royalty in order to get this book into the hands of the widest possible audience. He's very committed to telling the American people about the causes of our increasingly lopsided economy.
The basics of this story are becoming better known, thanks in part to Reich's efforts, and the term "income inequality" is now in the news and has become a type of political slogan. But Reich points out that it's a very real and ongoing phenomenon, and one that will continue to become more extreme unless fairly drastic measures are taken. He breaks post-World War II economic history into two eras: a "Progressive Era," when economically we were a more egalitarian and, overall, a more prosperous nation, and a "Regressive Era," when income inequality between the richest and the middle class (not to mention the poorest) soared. He identifies the Progressive Era as 1950-1980 and the Regressive Era as 1980 to the present.
There are many causes of this change, and Reich hits upon them all. These include greatly increased executive pay, the weakening of labor unions and their bargaining power, international trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT (and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership) and resulting loss of manufacturing and other jobs, increased size and influence of the financial sector due in part to relaxed restrictions on banking and finance, the declining quality of our educational system, the high cost of our health care system, and a political system that's increasingly beholden to corporate power and the rich.
Reich presents copious facts to back up his assertions about the economic change that has taken place, but he doesn't give references for his data, probably because he doesn't want a book intended for a wide audience to seem academic. That's a weakness for those who would like to look up the information sources. One has to take the Professor's word for much of his evidence.
The last section of the book, "Beyond Outrage: What You Need to Do," suggests several remedial actions that need to be taken to change our rigged economic and political systems. These are taken right out of the progressive's manual for change and include raising taxes on the wealthy, cutting military expenditures and aid to Big Ag and Big Oil, improving our educational system, repairing our infrastructure, adopting Medicare for all, restoring Glass-Steagall and placing other restrictions on banking and finance, and most importantly getting big money out of elections. In a plea directed to all of us, but especially to younger people, Reich urges us to become involved in the political system and to do what we can to bring about change through overt activism. He realizes, of course, that the entrenched interests will not relinquish their power easily.
Another, and perhaps more likely to succeed, action that he recommends is boycotting corporations that underpay and don't provide benefits for their workers, both here and abroad, and lending support to companies that pay well and keep jobs here in the U.S. He presents a corporate "Pledge of Allegiance " that asks companies to pursue more progressive working conditions.
The appendix is a speech that President Obama gave in Osawatomie, Kansas, on Dec 6, 2011, with annotations by Reich, who believes that Obama presented his most compelling speech on the economy on this occasion.
The book also contains hand-drawn cartoon illustrations by the author that underscore in a neat way what he says in the text. The book is worth its cost just for these somewhat acerbic illustrations.
In summary, Reich is good at pointing out how "social Darwinism" has come to prevail in our economy and greatly enrich a very few at the expense of the rest of us. He's less good at suggesting what we can do about it, short of a revolution. But the future fate of our country is at stake, and the more people who are made aware of what is really happening to our economy, our political system, and our society, the better the chances are that income inequality and the forces that drive it can be brought under control.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
I've been a fan of Robert B. Reich's since his memoir, LOCKED IN THE CABINET. That was a great read. This slim manifesto, BEYOND OUTRAGE, isn't a memoir but rather a brief survey of what's gone wrong with American democracy and why and how regular people can fix it. I read the newspaper every day and thought I had a clear handle on our economic and social woes, but Reich's concise summary was not only surprisingly informative but really energizing. Even though I vote and everyone I know does, I've often wondered what more I can do beyond donating what little I can afford to the political candidates and charitable organizations of my choice. Reich answers that question in clear, motivating detail. Get this book if you care about the 99%. Heck, get several and pass them out to like-minded friends.
25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/VideoVerified Purchase
I often read Dr. Reichs columns and find his analysis right on target. I was not disappointed here.
If only he was back in a policy position. It's this type of wisdom we need implemented
PS: the videos ( with his excellent charts) will not work on Android or PC versions of Kindles
Oh. And Joe Scarborough I watch Morning Joe every morning. Please read this book.