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Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 25, 2006
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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In 1970 the largest U.S. corporation was General Motors, with employees who stayed with the company for most of their working lives. Today the largest U.S. corporation is Wal-Mart, which has a 70 percent turnover rate. Dorgan is concerned about the implications of that shift in employment status and stability for the standard of living in the U.S. He looks beyond the economic and philosophical arguments, using vignettes to describe the bottom-line competition of large corporations that has resulted in the loss of three million U.S. jobs in the last five years. He cites a long list of U.S. companies and brands that have moved operations overseas, including Fruit of the Loom, Fig Newton, and Radio Flyer. Dorgan cautions that American consumers are in denial about the cost of the cheap goods they buy in terms of job loss and the exploitation of overseas workers. After lauding a host of those who have spoken out on the issue, including Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, and Bill Moyers, Dorgan offers some suggestions, including repealing tax breaks for exporting jobs. Vanessa Bush
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“Senator Byron Dorgan is one of the few elected officials of either party who have consistently and unwaveringly defended the interests of American working men and women and their families. His commitment to our country and the truth is inspiring. His book is a trenchant and timely examination of America's so-called free trade policies and the exorbitant cost to our middle class and our nation.” ―Lou Dobbs, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” CNN
“I watched Senator Dorgan take on the powerful interests in the U.S. Senate, and this book shows that he is still at it. Our country's trade policies are a scandal, and Dorgan has the guts to expose it and name names. He also tells us how to put our country back on track. This is an important book that might finally call our country to action to protect good jobs and our way of life.” ―Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, Chairman, Senate Commerce Committee, 2001–2004
“If you think that no one in Washington gives a damn about about corporate greed and the decimation of America's middle class, you haven't met Senator Byron Dorgan. In Take This Job and Ship It, this modern-day Prairie Populist pops the greedheads right in their snouts, using both facts and a stinging sense of humor. Byron's book is both a rallying cry and a blueprint for action. If you believe America is headed in the wrong direction and you want to do something about it, read this book, then help us elect more Byron Dorgans.” ―Jim Hightower, author of Thieves in High Places and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
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Senator Dorgan laments the exodus of jobs to countries that have broken their trade agreements with us, and have made our trade deficit soar. This exodus has not only caused three million Americans to lose their jobs, but it has also compromised our national security. Parts for our bombs and planes are made in foreign countries. It has allowed countries to flood ours with their imports while keeping ours out by tariffs. Mexico is exporting contaminated and decayed meat that is lining our meat counters. And Dorgan attacks the now familiar Walmart because they pay their workers so poorly and a health care plan that costs so much, they must use public assistance.
He is concerned about a congress that represents corporations rather than their constituents. He is concerned about a congress that allows them to export jobs and commodities and then charge them a low tax rate of only 5.4 percent to bring the money back into the country. He is angry that pharmaceuticals are allowed to export their products where they are sold at less than half the price charged to Americans. He is also angry that they claim the cost is for research when they are spending so much on marketing. (Anyone ever see a commercial with two people in separate bathtubs--when the moment is right?)
This book is well-written. The author's tone shows a sense of urgency and frustration without being strident. Nowhere in his writing did I detect that he was attempting to promote a socialist state, or a "cradle-to-grave" government as one reviewer suggests. Senator Dorgan is all for leveling the playing field so that our products and jobs can compete fairly in the world. His theme is similar to what the ancient Greeks said: Everything in moderation and nothing to excess. For the senator this includes trade and capitalism.
I am very stingy with five stars. Out of 124 reviews to date, I have given less than ten, about half of that for books. This is not Leon Uris' Armageddon or Herman Wouk's "Caine Mutiny." It is five stars because I learned a great deal, and because it is an important book.
I think it is important enough for you to read it. Please.
Take this book and buy it.
After introducing himself and his background, Senator Dorgan goes forth to talk about the economic policies that are currently driving the US economy. To say that I was shocked and appalled by some of the data he presents was an understatement. I found myself getting angrier the more I read, especially when I discover that most corporations pay only five percent in income tax, if that much. Most of them have set up offshore shelters in the Caymans, most particularly, at what is known as the Ugland Building on Church Street, where more than 12,000 companies have set up as their 'offical place of business.' Many of those companies manage to outsource jobs with the American government's blessing of massive tax credits, usually with dire news for the average American worker. But that's not the worst of it, it seems.
American wages and workers are being steadily driven into the ground by cheap labour found overseas, generous tax-breaks for the wealthy, and a callous disregard for those of us out there who work. Dorgan saves his ire for two particular sorts -- the mega-corporations, especially Wal-Mart and their policy of substandard wages, no benefits, no health insurance and shipping in vast quantities of cheap goods from China. The other is the ultra-rich executives who squander their obscenely large paychecks on gestures of extreme bad taste -- the most vile I read about was an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David that was p'ssing Stoli vodka for the eager guests to lap up. Many of these executives wink at fraud that would send the rest of us to the slammer for decades, and get off with a bit of a fine and a slap on the wrist from the government, many of whom are being bankrolled by these same companies when it comes time for re-election.
And that's just a little taste of what I was reading about. By the end of the book I was royally mad, and ready to find the nearest elected official and do a bit of a smash-dance on their face. Of course I didn't, I sat down and decided to vent here. There's bits about the oil crisis, and the war in Iraq -- I find it highly suspicious that Vice President Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton, the company that holds most of the government contracts in Iraq -- the conditions of workers in Asia, where most manufacturing jobs are ending up, the fact that most Americans can't afford the prices of prescription drugs, and the fact that not only is the country getting mired in debt, but that the odds are great that when the debt comes due, the United States will probably be carved up like a giant steak.
The rhetoric in here is of the inflammitory type, but presented with the minimum of bashing and finger pointing. To his credit, Dorgan just states it as it is, and I suspect that a lot of this book was presented in various speeches in Congress. The information is fairly clear, and what I really enjoyed was the fact that he provides various websites to check out just how your congressman and senator are voting on vital issues.
Which all leads me up to the main point of the book. Not only does Dorgan point out problems, but he has summed it all up in the last chapter, with a list of solutions, all of which made great good sense to me, but cynic that I am, I find that little of it has a hope in hell of succeeding.
Namely, the reason being is that our government has become hopelessly corrupt, and the only way to really reign it in is by the American voting public taking action. In less than sixty days, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate is up for re-election. I daresay that these days your mailbox is overflowing with expensively printed statements and appeals from the Democratic and Republican parties urging you to give money, and be sure to vote for their candidate because the other guy or gal is a corrupt bottom feeder that will ruin the American Way of Life if you vote for them. I did mention that I was a cynic, didn't I?
But we can send a message this November, and if you find your taxes going up -- the average American family will shell out about forty percent of their income in taxes this year -- your standard of living dropping, and are fed up with the outrageous prices at the gas pump, vote the incumbent from your district out. Make sure that the representive and senator from your area knows why you voted them in. Nothing will get their attention faster than getting sacks of mail arriving for them, bearing the statements from the voters saying we'll be watching you.
And that, my friends, is how we get it back. Vote. It's one of the few rights that we have left, and Senator Dorgan isn't afraid to state it in his book. The future of our country is steadily being sold off, and if this is the sort of life you want to leave to your children, well, I can't change your mind.
Oh yes, and I don't shop at Wal-Mart either. I don't like their labour practices, and what they have done to small-business. It may mean I spend a bit more time checking labels to see where my purchases come from, and paying a bit more, but I refuse to support them whenever I can.
In any case, check this book out. It only takes an evening to read through it, keep a notepad handy for the various tidbits of information that you're going to want to check up on, and make sure to stop now and then to take deep breaths to calm yourself down.
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Foremost is the author-Byron Dorgan is a senator that has remembered the working class.Read more
1. the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc., contrary to one's real character or actual behaviour, esp the pretense of virtue and...Read more