35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A rare non-partisan look at why we're in debt and how hard it will be to get out
, February 9, 2013
This review is from: Here's the Deal (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Dave Leonhardt's appearance on Morning Joe encouraged me to buy his Kindle single. This format is an interesting way of getting one's views out quickly for discussion. Singles seem more substantial and researched than a blog, newspaper or magazine article, but less reasoned than a book. It's somehow disconcerting how quickly these get published in the current news cycle, but they seem to be the new way for news and cable journalists to get published. With the media's monopoly in deciding what we see on television and online, I'm not sold yet on this incursion into books where traditional authors tend to provide an alternative, more rigorous viewpoint.
With that said, Leonhardt's argument is clearly presented and non-partisan--something that's hard to come by in media's continued fascination with the parties' battling. As Leonhardt points out, none of this coverage or the actual political process is addressing or seriously discussing the fundamental issues that have gotten us where we are today. As opposed to most books in this category, he does not get into the blame game or what bipartisan efforts it will take to make things work again. He does not exude a sense of desperation like many of those books do.
Leonhardt points out that Clinton's and Obama's administrations have made the biggest headway toward reducing the debt--notwithstanding the Republican claims to the contrary. But he asserts that none of the battles in Congress have much to do with the real underlying problems that will make it hard on future generations--health care costs, military spending, lack of investment in research that will lead to the next big things, and our failure to collect taxes that should be collected.
An omission in the issues Leonhardt covers in his argument is the favored role that corporations have enjoyed from both parties in our current quandary. Leonhardt goes back to Reagan to trace the beginnings of the Republican's lower taxes crusade. Since that time, American companies have also gotten maximum support from the government, which has resulted in favorable tax breaks, subsidies, an ability to offshore for cheaper sources of labor, and an escape route for getting away from providing pensions and increasingly medical coverage. Leonhardt implies that this generation (especially baby boomers) is selfish in its unwillingness to pay higher taxes or accept stricter Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid taxes and benefits--all at the expense of our children and grandchildren who will be forced to pay those debts we are incurring. I would argue that over the last 30-50 years, many older Americans have seen the pensions and things they were counting on in retirement slowly fading away. In such an environment where companies seem to get all the breaks, it's tough not to count on the few remaining benefits and "entitlements" they were planning on.
All in all, "Here's the Deal" offers a relatively hopeful outlook for getting through our current economic, political and world-standing issues. Leonhardt explains how we still have a much better chance to succeed relative to other countries and economies. What he does well here is put it more in our terms rather than looking at these issues from an "inside the government" filter. This single is a good investment of an hour or two to read and think about.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?