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It's the Middle Class, Stupid! Hardcover – July 10, 2012
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“James Carville and Stan Greenberg have written one of the finest—and most eye-opening—examinations of how our economy, even when it’s growing, doesn’t increase the incomes of middle class Americans or give poor working people the chance to earn them. Unless it can be reversed, this trend will limit the future for all Americans. Carville and Greenberg have some good ideas about how to do that and restore the American Dream, making It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! essential reading for politicians, policy-makers, and concerned citizens.”
–President Bill Clinton
“Political guru James Carville and savvy pollster Stan Greenberg team up for a presidential campaign–oriented book that will be part of the media circus surrounding the election.”
“For political junkies who enjoy straight-talk policy discussion.”
“Top-gun political strategist, ever controversial Ragin’ Cajun James Carville and pollster nonpareil Stan Greenberg deliver the message that could keep Obama in office: It’s The Middle Class, Stupid! But class warfare isn’t the answer (nuts!); it’s for both parties to admit their failures and for regular people to get involved in taking back their country from bigwigs in Wall Street and Washington.”
—Elissa Schappel, Vanity Fair
“For many Democrats [the book] will be the playbook on how to talk to voters about economic issues….Democrats and Republicans alike in the elite and political class should pay heed: these pages contain more than a little truth.”—National Journal
“A recipe for President Barack Obama’s re-election…..very timely….impressive.”
About the Author
Stan Greenberg is a leading Democratic pollster and political strategist who has advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry, and hundreds of other candidates and organizations in the United States and around the world. A political scientist who received his B.A. from Miami University and his Ph.D. from Harvard, Greenberg spent a decade teaching at Yale before becoming a political consultant. His 1985 study of Reagan Democrats in Macomb County, Michigan, became a classic of progressive political strategy, and is the basis for his continuing argument that Democrats must actively work to present themselves as populists advocating the expansion of opportunity for the middle class. Greenberg is married to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents Connecticut's Third Congressional District.
Top Customer Reviews
The book includes lots of facts that demonstrate the plight of the majority of working Americans. Incomes have stagnated even though people are working harder (and longer hours), and fewer and fewer average people have health care through their employer. For example, in 1980, 2/3 of high school graduates had a job that included health care; today the figure is only 25%. Income inequality is out of control; the top 1% now owns more that the entire bottom 90% of the population.
The authors believe that while the elite (including Democrats) shy away from "class warfare" most average people understand that the rich started the war long ago, and that it is time to engage the battle. Therefore, they suggest that Obama should embrace this issue and make it central to the campaign.
One disturbing thing is that Carvell and Greenberg seem to be looking for a near landslide Democratic victory, something that would "repudiate the Tea Party" and somehow cause Republicans to be more reasonable in the future. Based on current polling and Republican behavior, I don't see much chance of this...so it's very difficult to be optimistic about the kind of change the authors are hoping for.
Nonetheless, the issues they raise are critical for America, not just for this election but over the next few decades. Technology and globalization continue to advance, and it's a good bet that as a result the problems will get worse and worse. Going forward, robots, artificial intelligence and offshoring are going to make it easier and easier for CEOs and bankers to profit while average workers continue to lose out, and it's hard to see what will turn things around.
The book then goes back and forth between them, almost like they're having a conversation and taking advantage of Carville's well-known say-what-you-think style and Greenberg's analytical way of looking at the political landscape. It's pretty compelling. One could envision this conversation happening over a period of months or even in a single particularly insightful day. It's so partisan that Democrats will love it, while Republicans might actually read it--just to see what the other side is thinking. What works about this is that Carville keeps responding emotionally -- watch out Paul Ryan! -- but Greenberg keeps reining him back in ... like "no, that's what politicians might think but the voters are ahead of us and they're smarter than you think." I read a review of another book where the reviewer wondered how two authors collaborated on a book. Kudos here to Carville in his role as bad cop and to Greenberg as good cop (or actually in his case good cop-ywriter).
The result is that over the first half of the book ... with plenty of actual quotes from focus group participants from the middle and working classes, from different races, with and without college degrees (mostly without) ...Read more ›
The obvious conclusion is that if the middle class wakes up, a Republican platform espousing tax breaks for the rich and penalizing the vast middle class is doomed to failure.
If Democrats focus on issues that affect the middle class and offer plausible solutions to those issues the Republican attack ads and lack of specific plans to resolve middle class issues will work against them at the polls.
So, the Middle Class borrowed to pay the mortgage, a big contributor to the 2008 Collapse.
This book really hammers home that re-building the Middle Class should be the goal. It presents the polling evidence that this is how the Middle Class looks at the situation. 75% of Americans consider themselves part of the Middle Class. So, this is a view to take note of.
However, this book doesn't present the whole picture. Middle Class income hasn't declined in the last 30 years; it's increased slightly. If that's the case, what is really causing the decline of the Middle Class? The dissatisfaction with income growth relative to that of the 1% ? (The disparity is outrageous.) Soaring medical and college costs relative to minor increases in Middle Class incomes? Unmet Middle Class desires for bigger houses, bigger cars, more electronics, more bling? Cultural changes, rather than economic ones, such as lower marriage rates?
This book is a lot like one of the two authors, James Carville. Insightfully brilliant and effective, loud-mouthed, and brash. The editing job fits James Carville well, too, somewhat rough around the edges. However, it changed how I see the world, explained a lot of today's unfathomable political landscape, and raised even more questions about what is happening in the Middle Class.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a grandfathered-in member of the paycheck to paycheck crowd, I am holding my breath that the coming election will break the Republican stranglehold on our nation and allow our... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bill Chalmers.
Interesting, but a little redundant. I usually like Carville's appearances, but the book was slow moving.Published 16 months ago by DMA
Even though I disagree with focusing on the Middle Class so much, this is a well researched book. They are not a couple crazy guys going off on dribble that is incoherent. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Travis Heinze
James Carville has to be the best political strategist of my lifetime. In this book, he more than addresses the obvious.Published on June 10, 2014 by Drew Myers
Timely and important, the two voices of Carville and Greenberg are, at times, in agreement, sometimes at odds, but always in your face. Read morePublished on July 24, 2013 by P. J. Payne
Well said, and worth reading for anyone wanting to have a deeper insight to what has and is happening to America's middle class, aside from the media hype that exacerbates the... Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by mbrown
I agree with all the points in the book, that the middle class is shrinking in this country and that something needs to happen to change that. Read morePublished on June 23, 2013 by B. J. Killeen