He is giving the book away, here.
Baker’s got a number of great arguments in there, that the Democratic Party has passed over in the last couple years. I like the one where people could use their Medicare money to go to other countries, and get services there. For instance, if they can go to Singapore and get heart surgery that saves $50,000 in cost, they can keep the $50,000. It is a “free market” approach to medical services. Or, go to Canada and get low-price pharmaceuticals instead of having to buy them at U.S. prices. What can be more market-oriented than that?
It dovetails nicely with my idea that multi-billion dollar endowed universities should be asked to step up to the plate in the topical student loan debt crisis. Big universities pay no federal tax on these huge piles of money. Even a 5% tax would go far to fixing the problem.
What I also like about Baker’s writing is that he is taking problems as they have developed since the 1970’s and ’80’s, and looking at the good years in the Clinton era (maybe 1996 through the end of the century) as an exception. By and large, the last 30 years have been trouble for the middle class, and I’m just surprised that the protests have been as peaceful as they have. More and more people are realizing that we are being sold down the river by a powerful elite. The pablum we are fed, about what the problems really are, are spun by these so-called conservative pundits–of which Fox News is at the pinnacle. The progressive or liberal talking point is always a response to the charge. It’s never to say, “no, that’s not it at all! What it really is, is this!”
This is what Dean Baker’s book does, in a dozen-or-so chapters. I am about midway through, and it is an easy read.
[More when I get through.]
[Update #1: Oh, this is interesting. Dean Baker is a frequent commenter on FireDogLake. I knew I recognized that name from somewhere.]