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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 Hardcover – October 5, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Though a self-confessed "lifelong Republican and a strong believer in free enterprise," Dobbs's opinions have evolved away from mainline GOP and corporate dogma. Charging that the Clinton and Bush administrations have waged "class warfare" on the American middle class, he criticizes their free trade policies, which have eliminated manufacturing jobs in the U.S., either outright or by outsourcing them. He's scornful of a GOP that panders to its fundamentalist religious base with bills that focus on abortion, gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance while the huge federal deficits ("an estate tax on the middle class and their children") spiral out of control. He rails against the K Street lobbyists, like Jack Abramoff, and their friends in Congress; chastises the credit card and banking industries for engineering the new bankruptcy law to their own profits; and criticizes the press for its sloppy "he says, she says" journalism. But Dobbs risks slipping from populist to demagogue in his jeremiad against the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country and his support for the vigilante Minuteman Project. Agree with him or not, Dobbs remains a refreshingly bold thinker who refuses to be intellectually pigeonholed. (Oct. 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dobbs, cable TV anchor and journalist, offers strong opinions on what he terms the war on the middle class, America's "working men and women." From corporate ownership of our political system to the near extinction of labor unions and the outsourcing of many jobs, the author paints a grim picture indeed. He is critical of churches that favor social issues under the banner of "family values" rather than promoting the common good, and decries the state of America's health-care system and education. The author's recommendations include individuals' changing their voter registration from Democrat or Republican to Independent, public financing of elections, and promoting voter initiatives and referenda. He wants to reform the lobbyist system in Washington, impose ethical standards on Congress, change the process of trade negotiations, and strictly protect our borders from illegal immigrants. Dobbs is a controversial figure. Although he correctly identifies important national issues in this book, his perspective will be embraced by his supporters and rejected by critics. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Printing edition (October 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670037923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670037926
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,858,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An insightful look at the divergence of interests between those that run the country, not just the elected officials but business leaders and special interest groups as well, and the rest of us who live in it. This book is very well researched, elegantly written, relatively objective, and rather deep. It addresses concerns such as trade policy (e.g., NAFTA, GATT, outsourcing), national security (e.g., illigal immigration, border security), social issues (e.g., gay marriage, abortion rights), and a whole lot more. Whether you agree with what's written or not, it really makes you think... The only down side is that it does a bit better job of explaining how we got here than it does on how to "fix" the problem. Since there are no easy answers I'm willing to give it a five star rating anyway.

I never thought I'd say this about any book, but everyone really should read this one. It covers important stuff that affects each and every one of us directly and indirectly. It will give you a lot to think about and a few things to take action on at the voting booth and elsewhere. You can vote with your money, your time, and your actions as well as your ballot.

Although the author has a conservative bias, by no means does he come across as a "party line" hack. In fact he points out the foibles of both major partys rather even-handedly.

Very well done Mr. Dobbs! I'm impressed.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles
3 Comments 162 of 177 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished it. Great book.

For a long period of time I have been a bit depressed over politics in general. Both parties have been seemingly captured by zealots. The far left continues to advocate virtually any idea the pushes the moral envelope, or has the potential to showcase their "humanity" at tax payer expense. The far right has a basic economic philosophy of rationalized greed and Social Darwinism.

To a large degree left without a political party is the middle class. People like me who are married with kids in school, a college graduate, with bills and commitments everywhere. We are just trying to make sure we have a job at a livable wage, all the bills are paid, and perhaps we even have a few of beers left in the fridge at the end of the month. Lou Dobbs speaks to me.

His ideas on immigration and trade are dead on. Our basic economic self-interest has been ignored by politicians in favor of grand and ultimately failed intellectual experiments. Illegal immigration devalues manual labor, as does any trade agreement that fosters off shoring of jobs. As Lou put so well illegal immigration is the other side of the same coin as trade agreements such as NAFTA. Simply put businesses and employers who want to do business in a middle class society like America, but do not want to pay a middle class wage. Instead they search for cheap labor then move jobs there. Or in the case of illegal immigration allow the cheap labor to come to them. The bottom line with all of these kinds of policies is more misery in the form of higher taxes, (or increased debt for our kids), and stagnant wages. This for those who play by the rules and try to do the right thing everyday. Nice.

The end of the book was perhaps the most thought provoking and uplifting.
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Format: Hardcover
Dobbs begins by pointing out that America has become a society owned by corporations, and its political system is dominated by corporate and special interests. There is no countervailing influence - labor unions are nearing extinction, the media takes the easy way out (equal time to both sides) and doesn't investigate, universities are dependent on the federal government, corporations, and the wealthy, and churches tend to expand their political energy on issues like gay marriage. The middle class is being beaten down by illegal immigration, inability to pay for health care, declining availability of pensions, outsourcing and corporate bankruptcies, an increasing share of taxes, and rising income inequality and federal deficits.

Corporate income taxes made up 1/3 of federal revenues 50 years ago - now it is only 1/8. Washington D.C. has over 34,000 lobbyists. Foreign countries and major corporations take large stock positions in media companies to influence reporting. Nearly 50% of personal bankruptcies are the result of illness; a majority of filers had health insurance. Meanwhile, Congress runs up huge deficits and tries to repeal the estate tax, and business creates numerous new lobbying groups cloaked in deceitful language and nomenclature.

Trade agreements now incorporate large amounts of international law - violations (eg. "buy American," limits on urban sprawl opposed by foreign investors) would be taken to international court.

Corporate taxes are at the lowest level in about 100 years, profits account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, and the share going to workers is at its lowest level in 40 years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lou Dobbs' War on the Middle Class is a masterpiece for understanding the main reasons for the decline of the middle class and the American Dream during the last two decades. Congress and the White House have become pawns to large corporations and powerful special interest groups. Both Democrat and Republican parties have succumbed to corporate contributions and squadrons of well-financed lobbyists. Labor unions--once a major defender of working men and women--have lost power and some union officials seem preoccupied with pleasing large corporations, rather than defending their members. Many of our churches failed to stress the importance of the US Constitution, fair trade (not so-called Free Trade) and the protection of our American middle class. His economics are sound. (My education includes a MBA with a minor in economics.)

Dobbs cites the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 as an example of federal legislation largely written by banking and credit card mega corporations. The leading cause of personal bankruptcy is medical costs caused by severe illness or accident. There is no exemption for these victims under this new federal legislation.

National sovereignty--and the protection it affords to US citizens from foreign countries and foreign corporations--has eroded under federal policies of Free Trade and a global marketplace. The US Constitution and our representative Congress are being replaced by UN dictates and fast-track trade agreements signed by the President and cheered on by multinational corporations.

Lou Dobbs has outlined and then detailed the War on the Middle Class. Not only is the US middle class under attack, the lower class is being held down.
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