This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class
Book Review by George Kennedy
This Fight Is Our Fight is a call for America’s middle class to man the ramparts against those who have spent the past almost four decades undermining working families.
Warren’s book is rife with facts and statistics, and real life examples, the cumulative weight of which either entrenches us firmly in our comfort zones regarding the current state of the American economy, or motivates us to resist massively and consistently against the Trump administration’s determination to roll back any and ALL regulations, undo programs that provide essential support to the middle class (Medicare, Medicaid, policies that support public education), take the legs out from under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), cut corporate taxes while eliminating corporate CEO accountability when their corporations commit crimes, and, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, all while empowered by a compliant, supine Republican-controlled Congress.
With Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress (and now the Supreme Court), their documented antipathy toward this country’s middle class – unions in particular – has become manifest – doctrinal. To refresh our memories on this point, Warren wrote on page 242, “For decades, Republicans had been fighting unions on virtually every issue that touched working people – the minimum wage, paid family leave, fair scheduling laws, access to affordable health care, Medicaid, Medicare….also assaulted unions head-on by trying to shut down the National Labor Relations Board.” “When the Republicans attack unions, they attack everyone who works for wages”, noted Warren.
Senator Warren, a fierce champion of America’s middle class, brilliantly reminds us that only massive resistance to this early 21st century class of Republican leadership stands between the demise of the middle class and a future that offers hope and opportunity and equal justice with rapacious corporations and their wealthy patrons. The rationale for massive resistance, according to Warren is clear: “From 1980 to 2015, 90 percent of America – everyone outside the top 10 percent – got almost nothing. Not even 1 percent… since 1980, nearly 100 percent of the growth in market income – the income individuals earn before taxes and government transfers like Social Security – has been gobbled up by the top 10 percent. Or, to put it more simply, the 10 percent got just about everything and the 90 percent got essentially nothing.”
It is time to choose, Warren reflected. Our future is in our hands because, as she notes on page 148 regarding the GOP’s belief in trickle-down economics, “If we don’t put a stop to this nonsense, trickle-down economics will eventually wipe out our middle class…it is time to bury the idea that tax cuts for the rich will pave the way to a bright future for everyone.”
We should not delude ourselves. There is a war going on for the “soul’ of this country and, at the moment, the oligarchs have the upper hand. “The playing field isn’t level and the people at the top often don’t notice that” Warren wrote.
My read of this timely book is that we, the people, need to become enraged enough to struggle mightily for the premise of democracy (one person, one vote), to make this economy work for everyone, and against those who for almost four decades have demanded almost 100 percent of the new income produced in this country. Warren reminds us that this is a fight we can win – if we “Summon the courage. Make the commitment. Get in the fight.”
This Fight Is Our Fight is a must-read for every American today concerned about the impact of the Trump administration on our society, the health of the middle class, and any future we might hope to bequeath to succeeding generations.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is the senior senator from Massachusetts. A former Harvard Law School professor, she is the author of ten previous books including a Fighting Chance, a national bestseller that received widespread critical acclaim.