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The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Tavis Smiley , Cornel West

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Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed nation--these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation's leading democratic intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio's "Smiley & West," now take on the "P" word--poverty."The Rich and the Rest of Us" is the next step in the journey that began with "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience." Smiley and West's 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it's too late.By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation's greatest moments of social transformation-- such as the abolition of slavery, woman's suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements--ending poverty is sure to emerge as America's 21st -century civil rights struggle.As the middle class disappears and the safety net is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America--what it really is and how to eliminate it now.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.1 von 5 Sternen  72 Rezensionen
115 von 127 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Down-sizing the American Dream 18. April 2012
Von Herbert L Calhoun - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
The "Smiley/West Show" has taken to the road. Two giants of American Christian patriotism have joined forces to wage a war, not on, but for, the poor. Together they give a new much-needed high profile voice to the "the least of us." And even though they do not yet know how they are going to pull it off, their ultimate goal is nothing less than to help restore the American dream - the one that has been "outsourced," "down-sized," "sodomized," and then bludgeoned to death by our corporate overlords and their elected whores in both of the political parties - both of whom have abandoned the poor, and both of whom dance to the tunes of their corporate paymasters.

According to these authors, so far in the 2012 Presidential campaign, the spoke-persons for neither political party have been able to shape their lips to form the word "poor," or vocalize the word "poverty."

Smiley and West, the "last-standing" champions of the poor, are "walking their talk," as they "end-run" the "bought-and-paid for," impotent and purposefully dysfunctional American political process. They go straight to the doorsteps of the people on the frontlines of the strategically engineered Wall Street war against them called the Wall Street meltdown and also euphemistically referred to as our new globalized economy. From their vantage point, the shock and trauma to what used to be called the "middle-class" (but is now version 2.0 of the poor) is incalulatable!

In this short but tightly written book, this fearsome-twosome share with us what they have learned as they listened to the poor, took careful notes, and then used this book as a way to get the poor's message out. And what they discovered is both shocking and disheartening: that there is a new kind of poverty "out there." It is version 2.0 of the pre-WW-II poverty, one that is a direct result of a "new kind of jointly arranged and agreed to bipartisan political neglect."

According to these authors, the new poverty is not based on the old notions that used to equate poverty with having done something wrong (like making bad choices, being lazy and unwilling to work, carrying too much debt, falling off the alcohol wagon, or lacking education and training, etc.) No, in the new poverty of 2012, a third who fall into the category are the "working poor" that actually have full-time jobs, often with more than one family member working? They just are not being paid a "living wage." Plus, because of our weak kneed and corrupt politicians, the corporations they work for have been allowed to treat them, our American workers, like newly-minted indentured servants: They must work long arbitrary hours, with no unions to defend their interests, no medical, retirement or other benefits. In short, they are effectively " contract employees" on their own with no protections, no social safety net and only more neglect from our elected representatives. The new rule is: maximum profits for the corporation and its shareholders by definition means maximum insecurity for the U.S. worker. In this version 2.0 of American poverty, the U.S. middle-class worker is not just one paycheck away from poverty, but also one layoff away and one sickness away as well?

Continuing their revelations, these intrepid authors tell us that just like "50" is the new "40," the "old middle-class" is now the "new version 2.0 of the poor." In short, they tell us that due to outsourcing, valuing hedge fund speculation over hard work, and privatizing every function in sight, the middle-class is no more. It is kaput. Comprende?

Finally, these authors discovered that there is a close and direct connection between this new brand of poverty and new forms of "systemic neglect." The most important of them is best seen in the "good cop-bad cop political con/blame game played on us by the two political parties. Each side tosses symbolic ideological red meat over the fence like a tennis ball, and like the well-trained dogs we are, we chase after the ball while behind our backs they are busy serving their rich donor clients, all the while giving us a Kabuki dance of publicly trading blame for not being able to "deliver the goods" and otherwise get the "people's business done."

And while this red meat version of "chase the tennis ball" may work fine for their "big dog" super rich donors, who get their political payback by sliding their hefty contributions over the transoms of the backrooms on K-street, for us it does not work. What the "Big Dog donors" get in return for their money is the right to change all the rules and laws so that they then fit (and legitimize) the crimes they are preparing to commit. We, the middle-class and the poor, on the other hand, are left holding the bag and in the process, our democracy is gutted. In exchange for our vote, we just get more ideologically seasoned red meat, tossed over the fences at us like we are the dumb animals we are. Along with this dog breakfast called American politics, we also get to "wash it down" with a barrel full of excuses, a healthy dose of two-way blame called political gridlock, and bushels filled with promises that in the next election cycle everything will be different?

Then, of course this cycle just repeats itself: we are again "forced fed" a new diet of ideologically salted red meat, sprinkled (liberally or conservatively) with more false promises. Gagging on all this highly seasoned red meat, stuffed with blame and false promises is the "loud sucking sound" one hears as the American Dream gets flushed down the toilet.

What would we do without Smiley and West: run out like dumb animals and again vote for Obama or Romney? (Naw, I don't think so. I sense that these authors may agree that this time, it might be better to stay home.) A great and timely read that will make you foaming-at-the-mouth mad at the way the poor is being treated in particular, and at the U.S. political process more generally. A well-deserved Five Stars.
21 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Pick of the Day 25. April 2012
Von S. Sherman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Just in time for the fall presidential election campaign, talk show host Tavis Smiley and philosopher Cornel West attempt to force poverty back into the national discourse. "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto" expands on themes developed during their nationwide bus tour last year. On Democracy Now!, they argued that one out of two Americans struggles with poverty. "You take the perennially poor or the persistent poor, on top of them the new poor--we argue in this book the new poor are the former middle class--and the near poor, folk who are a paycheck away, that's 150 million Americans wrestling with poverty," Smiley said.

The book's website declares "by placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation's greatest moments of social transformation--the abolition of slavery, woman's suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements--ending poverty is sure to emerge as the defining civil rights struggle of America's 21st century ." Stephen Colbert, predictably, had a critical perspective, which he shared with the authors when they were guess on his show. ""The Rich and the Rest of Us:" that is class warfare... I believe there is one America! One America, sir, that the richest 1% just happens to own 42% of." (originally posted at left eye on books org)
20 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Three stars for effort 10. Mai 2012
Von John R. Washington - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I expected a much more convincing argument from these two minds. The statistics were often confusing, contradictory, and unconvincing. Anecdotal evidence is weak without the larger statistical evidence to back it up. The authors make some excellent points however, and the fact that they are among a very few really driving for solutions to poverty is commendable. Given the connections and status of these individuals, I was left wondering why they didn't utilize more authorities on the subject and reference stronger academic studies in the book.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well documented, insightful work. 1. Januar 2013
Von Nidia Henderson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
There are times I have had to put this work down as the reality of poverty in America is truly depressing, particularly given the fact that it doesn't have to be this way. However, given the strategies offered by Smiley and West and the fact that they have been organizing the "poverty tour," there is a way out if we organize. Thanks so much to the authors for educating us on the issue.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A word from the rest of us: 10. Mai 2013
Von Isabel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Timely book given the class/race/gender struggles going on in the United States while middle and upper classes are engaged in a business as usual model - basically trancing on the American Dream for some.
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