cover image It's the Middle Class, Stupid!

It's the Middle Class, Stupid!

James Carville and Stan Greenberg. Penguin/Blue Rider, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-16039-4

Veteran Democratic campaigners and pollsters Carville (All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for the President) and Greenberg offer a plea to save America's floundering middle class. The duo paints a grim portrait of the status of the middle class, which one person described as "what makes America America." The widening chasm between the wages of the top 1% and everyone else has destabilized the middle class, for whom savings have been increasingly replaced by debt. The authors outline a grim cycle of "institutionalize[d] inequality," declining wages, reduced benefits, and skyrocketing higher education prices, all of which that are blocking middle class children from top educations and, later on, career benefits. The authors target a politically-literate, liberal readership, and make no bones about their left-leaning politics. Greenberg and Carville are at their best when analyzing data and proposing detailed solutions, including massive campaign finance and health care reform, increased taxes on the top earners, and investment in infrastructure, research, science and education. Although the authors' heated and occasionally rambling rhetoric might be a turn-off to some, their central premise is vital and their proposals well-considered. Illus. (July)