The Skimmer

Book Review: Third World America by Arianna Huffington

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Third World America

By Arianna Huffington

Crown; 276 pages

The author, founder of eponymous website the Huffington Post, is not one for understatement: "The core idea of the American Dream--work hard and advance up the ladder--has been gutted." Grim words, but Huffington lays out a convincing case for why the U.S., with its "shrinking middle class, disappearing jobs, growing economic disparity [and] banking oligarchy," is well on its way to a ruinous chasm between haves and have-nots. She places the blame at the feet of ineffectual politicians (Obama is dissed with faint praise) and greedy Wall Streeters. Huffington also provides tearful testimonials by people ground down by the Great Recession. At the end, she sets forth a left-of-center wish list of solutions, including true consumer protection and an end to "our disastrous--and Treasury-draining--nation-building forays" in Afghanistan and Iraq. "It's never fun being Cassandra," writes the author, yet throughout, she sounds the alarm with gusto. The reader might suspect that Huffington enjoys this finger wagging as much as she does her chatty stops on the cable talk-show circuit.