A sensible, bipartisan analysis of the future of a major segment of American society.

The Middle Class Comeback

WOMEN, MILLENNIALS, AND TECHNOLOGY LEADING THE WAY

A diagnosis of American middle-class woes and a hopeful blueprint for its revival.

The embattlement of the middle class has, more than ever, become a recurrent theme in political discourse, especially since the catastrophic housing crisis of 2008. Moon (The Beltway Beast, 2014), a businessman and former financial-industry executive, attributes the group’s distress to a combination of stagnant wages and aggressively climbing costs, including those of health care, education, and an endless litany of taxes. Not content to gloomily dwell on bad news, the author finds promising reasons for hope, as well. For example, he notes that although women continue to lag behind their male counterparts in wages, that gap is steadily closing; their participation in the labor force continues to increase, and they constitute a bigger share of college graduates than ever before. And although it’s become commonplace to pillory millennials for their immaturity, Moon instead sees a savvy class of political entrepreneurs, ready and able to challenge the status quo. Finally, he asserts that the breakneck pace of technological progress is not only going to usher in new opportunity and a dramatic lowering of costs across the board, but also has the potential to transform the very structure of the economy, especially regarding health care: “A new paradigm shift is underway where decentralized and sharing models with emphasis on personal accountability is [sic] evolving that will make healthcare accessible and affordable for all.” The author plots out some sensible, if less-than-detailed, reforms, some of them economic, such as tax reform, and some of them political, such as revised term limits for politicians. It’s a thoughtful, lucid study, and it’s refreshing to see an unflinching discussion of the middle-class difficulties that doesn’t surrender to fatalistic despair. Sometimes Moon even seems too optimistic; for instance, he doesn’t address the ways in which increased technological sophistication could hurt the middle class, as whole professions get replaced by machines. Ultimately, the discussion of possible future reforms is simply too broad, and the book ambitiously covers too much ground for such a relatively slim volume. However, as a brief primer on the state of the middle class, this is a valuable contribution to public debate.

A sensible, bipartisan analysis of the future of a major segment of American society.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9913721-6-4

Page Count: 190

Publisher: MGN Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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