Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now

Mark Satin, Author
Mark Satin, Author Westview Press $19.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-8133-4190-3
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Condemning what the author sees as the divisive partisanship and polemical half-truths of liberals and conservatives alike, this militant but muddled manifesto urges left and right to unite behind a""politics of creative problem-solving."" Satin, publisher of the Radical Middle Newsletter, pushes a poll-certified grab bag of public-private partnerships and wonkish policy nostrums pitched explicitly at professionals (a.k.a.""knowledge workers"" or""the creative class"") whose only political identity is that of""caring person."" The result is a confused, ad-hoc program that aims to achieve great public purposes without aggrandizing government or alienating special interests. Some proposals, like affirmative action based on poverty, not race, represent a fresh take on important issues. Others, such as his energy policy, which is largely a hodge-podge of minor tax incentives for fossil-fuel alternatives, are half-measures. The boldest initiatives--a universal health-care plan that uses tax credits to subsidize individuals' purchase of private insurance, a universal jobs program that offers employers tax credits for hiring workers--channel their largesse into massive state subsidies to the private sector. Satin's often glib analyses of policy issues will not satisfy knowledgeable readers, and in his de-politicized politics of caring, real conflicts seem to be ignored rather than confronted.
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