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Loree Fahy Review: War On the Middle Class


BookBuffet's political books review editor, Loree Fahy tackles the latest book by CNN anchor and managing editor, Lou Dobbs. Read this review of War on the Middle Class (Viking, Oct 2006) and weigh-in with your comments.


February 05, 2007

The Review

When does a latte-sipping, quiche loving, tree hugging, progressive Democrat (yours truly) agree wholeheartedly with a self described life-long conservative Republican such as Lou Dobbs? When we share a common outrage over the following statistics gathered in his new book, War on the Middle Class and a fear for the bleak future this holds for us all.

  • The average CEO's pay when compared to the average worker pay has gone from 42 times as much in 1980 to 431 times as much in 2006. 
  • CEO pay has increased 340% since 1992, while the average worker, in the same time frame, has seen an increase of 36%. The median pay for CEO's in the top 100 companies last year was $17.9 million dollars, an increase in just one year of 25%, while the average worker's pay in the last year went up a whopping 3.1%. 
  • Since 9/11, the defense contactors' CEOs average pay has increased 200% (now we know where at least some of our tax dollars went)
  • But here's how some companies benefited from the leadership "skills" of their CEO's. (Isn't that what us MBA's had been taught?) While shareholders lost 640 BILLION dollars in net worth from: AT&T, BellSouth, HP, Home Depot, Lucent, Merck, Pfizer, Safeway, Time Warner, Verizon and Wal Mart, their CEO's were paid an aggregate of $865 million dollars. CEO compensation is often an inverse relation to how well the company performs, (I must have missed that lecture.)
  • In 1998 there were 273 lobbyists compared to the latest count of 2,390 registered lobbyists in DC.
  • The revolving door has brought some 240 Congress people into the lobbyist ranks, And six former officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are now either working or lobbying for the oil companies.
  • Congress gave oil companies $12 Billion in tax subsidies at a time when they have realized profits higher than any corporation has ever seen.
  • The pharmaceutical companies have the largest number of lobbyist at 1,274. (That’s at least two for every single congressman.) In the 2004 election they gave $17 million to candidates. (Hmm, who actually wrote our current Medicare laws?)

When do my liberal hackles raise-up in defiance of Lou?  When he rails against the illegal immigrant.  He does place most of the blame, correctly, on our corporatocracy who greedily profit from not having to pay a minimum wage or offer any health benefits.

But to hold a domestic Mexican, with 50% of their population living below the poverty line at fault for coming to this country in order to improve their chances for a better living standard, is where my progressive barriers are raised. 

You can be assured that if this latte-sipping, (etc.,) mother-of-three was not fortunate enough to have been born who and where I was, and instead came from a similar immigrant background to those profiled—like them, I would get myself and my kids over here, in a heartbeat.  The chance to place their children in an US public school for the advantage that entails would seem to have made the danger of illegal entery a palatible risk.

As it is, raising my family in Southern California has meant that I was lucky enough to have childcare workers, housekeepers, gardeners and mechanics who are also hardworking, caring, appreciative immigrants. 

I would never hold personal blame over the people who enabled my family to have a comfortable life: Erica, Sara, Teresa, Maria, Juan or Lukas—ever.  I will blame a system that thwarts people from paying about three times the federally mandated minimum wage voluntarily ($15 an hour) to people working here "illegally" while there are millions in our middle class who suffer in the legal system on far less.

War on the Middle Class is a must read for ANYONE who cares about the future of those democratic countries facing immigration issues; that includes Canada and most EU nations.

If you actually believe in democracy, and think the limits that even a life-long republican would place on our corporatocracy is at least a step toward getting our inalienable rights back, then invest in the short time it takes to read this. 

Lou Dobbs and I don't see eye-to eye on everything, but who says there isn’t something there to absorb?  Hmmm, as I recall (from my public school education), "United we Stand; Divided we Fall".  Maybe Lou's choice of the word WAR is, right-on.

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Previous reviews by Loree Fahy

All About Lou

Lou Dobbs (born September 24, 1945) is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's hour-long weeknight program Lou Dobbs Tonight, an editorial columnist, and host of a syndicated radio show. Lou Dobbs Tonight attracts CNN's largest audience, of about 800,000. CNN pays him $6 million a year, and he also lectures widely.

Dobbs resides on a 300-acre "isolated horse farm" in Sussex County, New Jersey. He is married to his second wife, the former Debi Segura, a one-time CNN sports anchor, with whom he has two daughters, Hillary and Heather. He also has two sons, Chase and Jason, from his first marriage.

Originally a classically conservative economist, Dobbs' views have changed over time, and he is now a strongly populist critic of the "excesses of capitalism," which he identifies as globalization, offshore outsourcing, illegal immigration, free trade deals, corporate/big business influence in government and the Bush administration's tax cuts. He advocates isolationism, warning that the U.S. trade and budget deficits threaten the American middle class.— Wikepedia




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