Reviews for It's Ok To Be Angry About Capitalism

by Bernie Sanders with John Nichols

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business. “In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration. Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
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U.S. senator Sanders (Where We Go from Here) delivers a feisty if familiar takedown of “the uber-capitalist system in which we live.” Rehashing the talking points of his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns in blunt terms, Sanders castigates “oligarchs” who tip the scales of democracy in their favor through campaign contributions and media ownership; attributes Donald Trump’s political rise to “the pain, desperation, and political alienation that millions of working-class Americans now experience”; and accuses the Democratic establishment of being beholden to Hollywood celebrities and Wall Street financiers. He also blames senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (“both of them heavily financed by corporate interests”) for killing the momentum behind President Biden’s Build Back Better bill and proposes various strategies for “taxing the billionaire class down to size.” Elsewhere, Sanders highlights deficiencies in the healthcare systems and outlines his Medicare for All proposal, recounts how Reagan-era deregulation led to the decline of America’s working class, and calls for federal funding to desegregate public schools and a ban on for-profit charter schools. Throughout, Sanders’s arguments are forceful, specific, and urgent, though he seems more interested in preaching to the choir than changing minds. Still, Sanders voters will appreciate his commitment to keeping up the fight. (Feb.)