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on August 21, 2009
Here is an essay (originally given as a speech) on economics, politics and social structure written by a Yale University professor in 1916 which is amazingly reflective of our country's current situation--over 90 years later!! Some of the language and some of Sumner's ideas do come across as slightly archaic, hardly surprisingly, considering it was written nearly a century ago.

The focus of this small tome is the everyday working man and woman; i.e., middle-class America by today's nomenclature. It expounds on the problems that stem from the government providing relief to many needy categories of people and institutions and this always takes away from, and is ultimately paid for by, the everyday working man and woman. These poor souls (that would be most of us) are constantly bearing the brunt of the governements' liberal practices. In light of today's headlines and the predicament we find ourselves in currently, this book is certainly an interesting read. If only someone had taken heed 93 years ago.............

Thank you to Library Thing and the publishers for their consideration in sending me this book for review.
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on November 24, 2014
For too many people, "The Forgotten Man" is the forgotten essay. Sumner does a brilliant job of pointing out the underlying implications of government policies that seem benevolent, but which in fact take advantage of the forgotten man - the taxpayer. Henry Hazlitt drew on Sumner for his own excellent work, "Economics in One Lesson".
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on December 10, 2012
This book clearly covers our current upside-down sociological situation whereby the makers are basically enslaved by the takers, with the politicians and the press controlling the shots. I have passed this book around my office, and everyone has ordered their own copies.

Although this is the transcript of a speech originally written in 1883 by a Yale professor, the book is timely. But be forewarned. At first you might not like all his comments, but he will make you think. For example, I'll paraphrase a few lines, "Nature is awful in her wrath, but we have insulated people from the consequences of nature. The drunkard in the gutter is where he ought to be. But, we hire a policeman who saves the man from his consequences. But who pays the policeman? The forgotten man (the man, or often the woman, who works a job, doesn't cause trouble, is of modest means, and doesn't complain) is the one who pays the policeman. Thus, the forgotten man pays the cost for the person who won't live up to their responsibilities. The forgotten man, who pays his bills, and has saved a very small amount from his job for future use, is asked to pay for the sins of the gambler.... " Note: The above is not word-for-word, so you'll have to buy the book to get the exact quotes.
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on January 19, 2013
A good read for not only the political manuvering but also the economic and historic. To those who say that you seek reading material that agrees with your political view of the world I would say that is most likely true. This is a book that at it's core is not favorable to the liberal point of view of intervention in the economy and goverment programs because ultimately it damages the average taxpayer (the forgotten man). Read it and alow the argument to roll around in your head for a while and allow the logic to mature.
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on September 13, 2009
This book is actually a speech that was given in 1883. The concept of this speech is that the lawmakers ask for help for the poor and overlook the class of people that make life in the country possible, the forgotten man.

There were a few ideas and beliefs that the author talks about in which I don't agree with, but he makes very valid arguments for his ideas. I also did agree with some of what he mentions, however I don't know how feasable his ideas are, and if they would work in the society that we live in today.

One thing that surprised me is that even though this speech was written over 100 years ago it was still pertinent to today. I don't know if that is a sign of a great speech writer, to write something that holds true for over 100 years, or if it is a sign that our country really hasn't changed that much in 100 years.

It was a quick read, and if nothing else it makes you think about our social and political structure. It was a bit on the rough side to read, because it was pretty dry, but I think more of that was because it was written as a speech rather than a book or a story. I think it was interesting and was worth the hour or so it took me to read it.
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on June 18, 2014
I gave Sumner's The Forgotten Man because it struck a cord with me and addresses many of the challenges in modern welfare states. Sumner's Forgotten Man (and has he notes, Woman) is the elemental building block of purest civil society - everything outside of government. He or she sometimes votes, often prays, but always pays - pays for the infrastructure that Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama say that government provided - pays for the transfer payments from those who work to those who don't, pays for the ever-expanding federal government. Some may find Sumner offensive and without compassion. He maintains that many social ills, such as drug abuse and alcoholism, would cure themselves when abusers die from their abuse, but that private and public charities to help the abusers prolongs the sufferings and diverts limited resources to help non-productive, anti-social citizens at the expense of productive citizens. Sumner recommends that those who wish to help their fellow men and women should put their money in savings banks that help fund new businesses and new jobs for socially responsible people rather than in charities that cater to non-productive people. I think Sumner would have approved of Mike Rowe's "work smart and hard" philosophy. Sumner does recognize some people are truly disabled and unable to support themselves and that society should take care of them. As mentioned before, he does not see addicts as falling into this category. I would describe his philosophy as libertarian.
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on June 6, 2016
Should be required reading in every grade from middle school through college and hung on every politician's home and office wall.
Clergy should also adopt the habit.
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on November 21, 2015
interesting but outdated.The value is mostly historical.
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on October 13, 2015
A real eye opener...makes you think.
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on March 23, 2014
Wish the original speech would have been longer! Amazing how the future was blueprinted in this original speech. Readers will find themselves evaluating their status as a "Forgotten Man".
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