Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream
The Third World America book, written by Arianna Huffington, is designed to show the current state of the United States, and how politicians are not actually taking care of the American people they are elected to protect and serve. The main thesis is that the original political system that was created when the country was founded has been so radically changed now as to be nearly unrecognizable. Everything that has been done to the system, especially in more recent years, has resulted in a move away from what the country was allegedly supposed to provide to what benefits only politicians, those who are "somebody," and the very rich. Often this group is comprised of the same people, but there are discrepancies, as well. Not everyone who is considered "important" in the United States is rich and/or in politics, but it does appear that a slant is being created to those that "matter" versus the everyday, common people who are not deemed important.
In support of her thesis, Huffington offers a great deal of evidence -- some more circumstantial or opinion-based, and some more fact-based. This includes information on layoffs and a struggling economy, as those are issues that are seen in the community every day and that can be recognized as valid, difficult, and concerning. These are not the only issues, of course, but they are among the largest. It does appear that the rich are getting richer, while there are more poor people in the country. The gap between them is widening, and there are difficulties with the middle class, which seems to be dwindling. There is a divide between the people who are able to afford a comfortable life and those who cannot and may never be able to. That divide is getting more significant and more easily recognized, mostly because of the economic downturn the country has recently taken.
Now that the United States is struggling with economic problems from layoffs and a difficult economy, a new issue has been added to the mix. That issue is the rising costs of everything from food to housing to gasoline to medical care. When prices continue to rise and income continues to fall, it creates a perfect storm of difficulty and stress for the American people who may have already been in difficult times or may have been on the edge of them. The little "push" of higher prices or an unexpected bill may be enough to cause struggles for a much larger number of Americans than previously expected. Huffington provides not just facts and information, but compelling stories of actual people who are struggling with job loss and other issues. That helps to make the information provided more realistic, and allows it to hit home for people who otherwise might not take it that seriously. When one is reading about real people, the problem becomes more difficult to ignore.
Big companies, big banks, and the very richest among the population seem to be nearly immune to the difficulties of the average American, and when those groups do have problems they manage to get bailouts, tax breaks, huge loans they cannot repay, and other perks that provide them everything they need at the expense of the American taxpayer. This is not a new phenomenon, but one that has been growing larger every year. Laws and regulations are skewed when it comes to what a person can get and what a corporation can get, making it very hard for the "little guy" to get anywhere and generally easy for large corporations to move forward with their plans for development. While this is not the case every time, it is the most commonly seen scenario in the United States today where business is concerned -- and it is not good for people who are trying to succeed but who do not have a lot of financial backing in order to get their businesses started.
Further complicating the issue of politics and the economy in America is the media, which seems to be moving toward becoming the fourth branch of the government. The media picks and chooses its stories, according to Huffington, and even creates some of the stories it runs and information it provides by using "poll questions" and other methods to generate buzz about a political figure or pull attention away from something that is actually much more important for the middle class to be aware of or concerned about. The creation and distraction method of media information is becoming very popular as a way to keep serious information about the economy and other problems either out of the news or in the news in the way those who control the country want to see. There are, of course, other stories that "slip through" and cause upset and turmoil, but they are either quickly amended with a more positive spin or replaced with something that distracts and causes a refocusing on something else that is often less important.
Huffington's book has a lot to do with contradiction in politics. The goal of politics, allegedly, is to work for the people and build a great country that is strong and prosperous. That was the main goal of the founding fathers of the nation, and is still the stated goal of the political system. However, it is not difficult to see this is a clear contradiction from what is actually taking place. While the political system can state any goal or agenda it wants to, the truth of the matter is that the rich in the United States are getting richer while the poor and even the middle class are losing ground. They see it taking place, but they also know they are powerless to do anything about it. That can lead to a lot of frustration, upset, and anger, which can often be misdirected toward people who did not cause the problem. The levels of aggravation in the country are growing daily.
Having such a contradiction in politics is kept out of the media most of the time. It would only incite violence, anger, and potentially even rebellion. Those who operate the country do not want to see that happen, because it would cost them much more than just their positions of power. Huffington points out that it is very clear that people no longer get into politics because they want to help their country. Now they do it because they want to protect their interests and line their pockets as much as possible. The longer they stay in the political arena, the more protected they are. That allows them to keep building their assets and wealth, and they also have a lot of power that would not be given to the "average" person who is not in politics. Money and power can quickly and easily corrupt people, and this seems to be what is occurring with the political system in the United States. Whether it can ever be changed or salvaged is open to speculation, but the evidence of such a thing occurring without a major revolution of the people is thin, at best.
In addition to the evidence she provides in a factual way, Huffington's writing style does well at adding poignancy to the issue at hand and helping people address how things have gotten to this point and what might be able to be done to stop things from getting worse. She is very convincing in what she provides to the reader, because she has clearly done her research. However, another reason she remains convincing is that she is generally stating what much of the American public has already suspected and/or seen taking place throughout recent years. There is no denying…