What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
Economic inequality is on the rise in the United States. Despite the hype about the glorious "New Economy" during the 1990s, four out of five Americans had their share of net wealth decline in that decade. Those in the top fifth, on the other hand, saw their share of net wealth increase from 59 percent to 63 percent. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing, and the middle class' share of the wealth is shrinking.

Things have never been better for the top 1 percent of Americans, who have seen their real income soar by 59 percent. But those in the middle or near the bottom of the American economic pyramid are struggling to find affordable housing, attain good health care and maintain the quality of their children's education.

When George W. Bush took office he addressed these realities by giving a huge tax cut to the wealthy, while the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased. If working-class Americans have gained little economically from the Bush economy, they have been given the opportunity to do most of the fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, because the president has asked the well-off to do little else than shop hard.

Despite the harsh realities that confront working-class America, President Bush can expect a good portion of the blue-collar vote to choose the Republican ticket this November. How can this be? How is it that so many Americans have gotten into the habit of voting against their own economic and social interests? What ever happened to good old-fashioned populist class anger?

In "What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," Thomas Frank has the answer: "It is culture war that gets the goods."
This book has just been added to my summer reading list. You'll find the complete review here. And the author's website here.