Girded for battle, the senior senator from Massachusetts forcefully lays out the bleak picture of an American government increasingly controlled by corporate greed and special interests.
Warren (A Fighting Chance, 2014, etc.), a former Harvard Law School professor and a prolific author, has been America’s Cassandra even before becoming a Democratic senator in 2012. She is appalled by the inability of regular working people like her own family from Oklahoma to make a living in a once-thriving American economy. She proudly cites how, in the 1960s, her mother got a minimum-wage job after her husband’s heart attack and was able to keep the family going and even pay the mortgage. Yet now, a war of attrition is being waged on most Americans, a kind of “economic boa constrictor that is squeezing working families so hard they can’t breathe.” The causes are broad and include stagnant wages that have not kept up with inflation, unstable employment as companies move overseas, lack of benefits such as basic health and day care, high fixed expenses (transportation, housing, college), and rising debt. Using several examples of personal stories, such as a low-wage worker and an African-American family struggling from layoffs and mortgage discrimination, Warren addresses these issues one by one. In Washington, D.C., she has taken up the cudgel for basic fairness regarding the minimum wage and alleviating the national scandal of student-loan debt, all the while struggling mightily against the Republican majority. Indeed, Warren’s education in maneuvering through the powers that be is eye-opening, and she shares her experiences with grim frankness. As she notes, the persistent mirage of trickle-down economics, begun by Ronald Reagan, has taken on fresh life thanks to Donald Trump, resulting in renewed calls for deregulation (especially on banks), withdrawing research and infrastructure spending, cutting taxes for the rich, busting unions, and permitting unlimited lobbying and influence. The author sounds the alarm that an oligarchy is in the making, and her urgency is palpable and necessary.
Inspiring words to empower Warren's marching army.