Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America
Robert B. Reich
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From Robert B. Reich, passionate believer in American democracy, and public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations–an urgent call to liberals to reclaim their political clout. Reason is a guide to confronting and derailing what he sees as the mounting threat to American liberty, prosperity, and security posed by the radical conservatives–Radcons, as he calls them–whose agenda has dominated public discourse and radically affected government action since the election, by a minority vote, of George W. Bush.
It is an agenda that turns American tradition upside down–embracing “preemptive” war, disrupting essential alliances, reacting to terrorism by weakening our civil liberties, distorting our economy by endowing the rich with tax breaks while cutting social services, attempting to hunt down immorality in bedrooms rather than in boardrooms, where corporate malfeasance is still not legally prevented from chomping away at ordinary American earnings.
Reich offers a bold plan for defeating this politics of fear and favor–whose defining gesture is to equate dissent with treason–and for reinstating the traditional American politics of reason.
He calls on liberals to close ranks and maintain a permanent platform that can grow in power.
He provides clear answers to the barrage of accusations (of communism, of elitism, of anti-Americanism) with which Radcons have been pummeling liberals for at least two decades. He analyzes the propaganda savvy, the commitment, and the organization of the Radcons, and what liberals can learn from each.
He suggests how liberals can wrest the sole ownership of patriotism from the Radcons–there’s more to it than flag waving.
He calls on liberals to recognize their strengths. He wants them to remember their unfaltering protection of the central American invention: a society (ours was the first in history) that allows no aristocracy and hence belongs to all its citizens. And he wants liberals to recall how, twice in the last century, liberalism’s dedicated reforms rescued American free enterprise from its own excesses: first from the robber barons in the early 1900s, then in the depression-devastated 1930s.
He demonstrates, with quotations from the most respected opinion polls, how far the radical conservative agenda is from representing the national will. And he tells why he believes that once again–assuming the readiness to take action–American liberals are on the verge of winning the battle for America.
kids per classroom, well-trained and well-paid teachers (talented women and men won’t go into teaching solely for the personal satisfaction; they need to be adequately paid), and community colleges with enough resources to provide job skills to all who need them. Yet school budgets all over America are being slashed, funds for job training are being cut, and community colleges are turning away many poor students. Over and over again I hear the same refrain from single mothers: “I can’t find a
history of the world. The radical conservative assault on America is well under way. Radcons must be met head-on by a bold and intelligent liberalism founded upon a love of America and grounded in public morality and common sense. We can—and will—win the battle for America because we better represent true American ideals. What’s more, we have reason on our side, which is more than the Radcons can honestly claim. But idealism and reason bring us only halfway there. Winning back America will
confidence, allowed Grasso to be paid this much. How did this happen? Simple. Grasso had appointed the directors who decided on his pay. The head of the compensation committee was the lead director and co-founder of Home Depot, and Grasso simultaneously served on Home Depot’s board. Talk about conflicts of interest. The exchange’s entire board should have resigned along with Grasso. But the Radcons at the Wall Street Journal came up with a rationale for their benevolence toward him. They
played especially fast and loose with the law. The chief lobbyist for Freddie Mac, the home financing giant embroiled in an accounting scandal in 2003, staged at least fifty fundraisers for congressional Republicans in the two years before the scandal came to light, as well as a number of fundraisers for Democrats. During this interlude, the company—which depends on an implicit government guarantee to back up its debts—easily fought off attempts by some in Congress to bring it under increased
the additional capital works its way through the economic system. “The key to growth,” says George Gilder, an early supply-side enthusiast, “is quite simple: creative men with money. The cause of stagnation is similarly clear: depriving creative individuals of financial power.”23 It’s called “trickle-down” economics. Feed the sparrows by feeding the horses. Radcons use lots of misleading figures to justify their claims. Among their biggest whoppers: After supply-side tax cuts, “average” wages