Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2017
The opening for Senator Warren’s pro minimum wage argument sounds a lot like misplaced blame. She writes about her stressful teenage years in Oklahoma, her sickly out-of-work father, and her mother’s minimum wage job. It barely kept them in their house, because even in the late 60’s, minimum wage didn’t leave you with any extra money. Her mother lashed out at her for wanting to go to college, and now, in her book, Warren lashes out at Republicans who won’t raise the minimum wage. I wonder why Senator Warren doesn’t lash out at people who waste money? Her father could’ve given up smoking (which is probably how he got sick in the first place) and spent the money on her college application fees.
Every single problem mentioned in this book seems to have foolishness at the root. She writes about the Black Chicago homeowners, who were scammed into risky mortgages, but at the same time she made no effort to regulate them. Next comes the evil CEO, paying low tax on his huge salary, while his workers make minimum wage. Again, Warren could place a cap on salaries for corporate officers, but she didn’t event try. Healthcare costs? Warren made no effort to put a cap on malpractice lawsuits that drive up insurance rates. We get more horror stories here, like the one about the girl who took out the crazy student loans, went to a shady for-profit college, and ended up with debt and a useless degree. Again, lack of regulation, and whose fault is that?
In the chapter titled The Disappearing Middle Class the author disproves her own argument. She says that she did her undergrad – in the practical major of teaching – at a cheap local college. If that had been the goal of all these other sorry people, then none of these problems would ever have happened. Nobody’s forcing people to take out student loans, nor is anyone forcing students to major in graphic arts, film studies, or any of the arts majors where the jobs are highly competitive. Schools like NYU, Columbia, and UC Berkeley are full of students doing frivolous majors. But in public colleges, like Baruch, Hunter, and John Jay, the students, the students go for practical things – business, education, science, and law enforcement – that will get them a job after they graduate. They’ll make good money and have few debts.
Warren writes about her family’s struggles in the Great Depression, and they survived on their abilities, just like my ancestors did. But she blames it all on big business, ignoring the reason it lasted so long, and that was the Smoot-Hawley tariff. Throughout the book she blames the rich and the big businesses for everything, but she never has any problem with the lack of self-accountability in the country. What about all the crumbling cities like Detroit, Flint, Philadelphia, Camden, Newark, and New Orleans? Those cities all had liberal Democrat mayors, and look where they ended up. The corrupt mayors – Sharpe James, Ray Nagin, Kwame Kilpatrick, Frank Melton, Marion Barry – were all Democrats, same party as her.
Elizabeth is right about one thing in her book; it’s the unions that negotiate the higher wages. If a charter school pays a higher rate than the public schools, then they’re benefiting from the union that negotiated the lower wage. If the public schools busted the union, then the wage would be lower, and the charter schools could lower their wages too. She hates what President Reagan did to the air traffic controller union, but what ever happened to tough love? Reagan was trying to avoid the crippling strikes that NYC had in the 70’s, and if he’d given in, then all the other unions would’ve called a strike. She calls President Trump “Ronald Reagan without the charm,” but I wonder how much of it is the fault of Hillary Clinton and her incredibly bad campaign?
I think the main problem is that Warren practices but doesn’t preach. She mollycoddles the lazy and incompetent people, all the while forgetting where she came from, and that is why she is so out of touch. This is a woman who pulled herself up by the bootstraps; she earned her own money to pay for college applications, then she sought out a college that would give her a full scholarship, then after she left to get married, she still finished at a public college at her own expense. Nobody ever did anything for her, no student loans, no trust fund, no silver platter. This is a self-made woman who wants to make excuses for people who can’t (or won’t) take care of themselves.
Warren wrote this book to promote (what basically amounts to) socialism, but after reading it, I’m convinced that we should neither raise the minimum wage nor make anything free.