This review appeared in the February 2007 issue of The American Spectator. To subscribe to the monthly print edition, click here.p> em> Income and Wealth br> by Alan Reynolds br> (Greenwood Press, 231 pages, $55) /em> /p>
So go out and buy this book. Read it and stick little colored Post-its in among the important pages. Then go out among your friends who still have “Kerry for President” stickers on their Volvos well armed for the two years of struggle that lie ahead. And when the rant starts, “The rich have become too rich, the poor too poor,” you can cough quietly and commence. “Well, actually, that’s not true at all.”
Alan Reynolds has produced an important resource for the political melee that will engulf us between now and November 2008 as the Republican Party scrambles around trying to find its moral compass and the Democrats prescribe solutions for an America that may have existed in 1970 but certainly does not exist today.
That this is a dangerous time should be self-evident even without the turmoil of the Middle East. America is transforming itself in ways that can be fabulously beneficial, but the people to whom we hand our political mandate must have an extraordinarily clear vision lest we drive ourselves right into a ditch.
Clouding that vision is the lie of “two Americas” as it is called. Paul Krugman and other economists on the left have now absolutely fixed in the popular mind that Americans in the lowest income cohort of our population are not only desperately poor but also are rapidly losing ground while a tiny fraction (often described as 1 percent or a fraction thereof) are getting grotesquely richer, unfairly wealthier, and dangerously powerful in the process. The fate of our democratic society is in peril.
What Reynolds has done in Income and Wealth is take a calming breath and walk us through the reality of what is truly going on, and how truly interesting it is. He also shows us how the “two Americas” crowd is messing with our minds with their statistical fabrications. To the old saw that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics — one must add political statistics, which are even more damnable.
REYNOLDS IS AN ACCESSIBLE WRITER so that a reader who patronizes H&R Block for his own fiscal obligations can easily comprehend what is going on in our society.
The first important point Reynolds makes is that one should always look at what makes up a statistic and nowhere is that more important than when considering what kind of Americans live in the lowest income levels of our society —- usually called the lower 20 percent (a.k.a. quintile) or 10 percent (decile). Here is where the fantasies begin.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?