The book I chose for this assignment was Beyond Outrage, What has Gone Wrong with our Economy, our Democracy and how to fix it, by Robert B Reich. The book was published in 2012 by Vintage Books, part of Random House, Ink., New York. Its ISBN is 978-0-345-80437-2.

I’d like to start by saying I went into reading this with an open mind and was impressed the entire time. The points Reich brought up, while some were very controversial, were stated well, and he included information that made you want to believe every word he said and question why this man isn’t running the country. I would recommend this book to anyone, weather you have a large interest in Economics or not, I believe it includes information that every American should know.

The book was broken into 3 parts:

Part One: The Rigged Game –

In this part of the book, the author explains his reason for writing it. He explains how the economy is becoming increasingly ‘rigged’. The money is staying at the top, they’re getting around taxes and in turn he believes the government is being bought, and that the size of it is not the issue at hand.

Part Two: The Rise of the Regressive Right

In the second part of this reading, he goes over the “rebirth of social darwinism”, the fact that the enforcers of this will stop at nothing, even going back to the tea party days. A third point he touches on is how concerned we are about issues like abortion, gay marriage and separating church and state. He tells how and why those things should be private, and that we should focus on things that affect us all – like what CEO’s and Wall Street financers do. Another intriguing part of this is that he goes through the “Ten Biggest Economic Lies”.

Part Three: Beyond Outrage: What you Need to do –

Here, Reich goes over what he believes we, as citizens should do to fix our economy. He includes being more active citizens, creating movements, and taxing the rich like they have previously been.

The three things I would deem as the authors most important parts, are:

  • Raising the tax rates on the rich to what they were while we were in a better economic state.
  • Becoming active citizens
  • Obtaining a more equal distribution of the nations income

Raising the tax rates

Over and over again, the author brings us back to taxing the rich. He explains how most of the income is now staying at the top. The rich are given tax breaks through loopholes, and ‘buying the government’. The main loophole is that large corporations hire people to ensure that their investments are seen as capital games. Therefore, they are not taxed on that money, and that money is tied up and not being redistributed to the economy. A popular issue right now is investing in other countries. Taxing the rich like they used to be would insure more income equality. This is a huge issue. We need to pay the middle-class, and not break them through taxes, so that that money can be put back into the economy and keep it going.

Becoming active citizens

I personally agree with this whole-heartedly. I think the lack of information people receive before forming their opinions is terrifying. They’ll pick one point, and run with whoever says that first. We need to be more educated, and involved. Teach more economics in school and adequately prepare the youth to become the leaders of our nations, as we are the future. We have seen more activity lately when it comes to movements, and fighting back. If this trend continues, we can take our economy back and improve the quality of life for the entire country-not just those at the top.

Obtaining a more equal distribution of the nations wealth

The money is tied up at the top. Those at the top have lost interest in Americas future as a whole, and have focused on themselves. Students are going into insane amounts of debt simply to be educated, and take over top positions, but those at the top have lost interest in creating those jobs, leaving students with mounds of debt. The money needs to be taxed fairly, and invested in our own country, not others. While were losing money not taxing the rich, we’re expecting the middle class to pay more taxes to close the gap. They then have lower incomes, and less money to put back into the economy.

When it comes to particular topics we have touched on in this class, the author focused on income equality, and standards of living. His stance on income equality is discussed above, but can be summarized by saying he believes taxing the rich and focusing on un-tying the nations income are the best ways to fix it. He also recognizes the importance in improving standards of living for the middle class. He includes how much we have cut funding for education, and how there is no statue of limitations on student loans, therefore were going into debt simply trying to become educated- the most important way to improve our standards of living for the middle-class.

I learned so much from this book. From tax rates now compared to before, when it comes to the rich. I found that quite shocking, as did I that CEO’s can last for mere months, run their companies into the ground and still walk away with millions. The risk factor is disappearing within the rich and deems over the middle class. I also learned about social darwinism, the cons of it that most people don’t see. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned from this book were the 10 biggest economic lies. I do, however wish he would’ve went further into healthcare, and the issues we’re having there. Another thing I wish he had gone into is how exactly the rich get out of paying a fair amount of taxes.

The book didn’t change my thinking much, simply because I already agreed with almost every point he made, and he provide great information that made me really think about the points I didn’t have much of a previous standing on.