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Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! by Ralph…
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"Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"

by Ralph Nader

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I am a small business owner from the rural South. As you might imagine, Ralph Nader and I don’t see eye to eye on anything. As a result, I expected to be irritated and discomfited by just about anything he put onto paper. Nevertheless, the concept of this novel was intriguing and I was willing to give it a shot. I hoped for a well reasoned (even if mistaken), entertaining read. I was disappointed but not surprised.

Seventeen elderly, wealthy progressives get together to save the world. They are billed as “billionaires”, but I’d guess that less than half satisfy that definition. Led by Warren Buffett, the Oracle from Omaha, the group includes such luminaries as George Soros, Barry Diller, Ross Perot and Ted Turner. It includes 6-8 fellows I’ve never heard of (campaign supporters of Nader with money, I assume). It also includes Phil Donohue, Paul Neuman, Bill Cosby and Yoko Ono. I’m pretty sure they’re not billionaires, but you have to have some star power, and it wouldn’t look good not to have any minorities or women, would it?

Putting aside the political positions advanced by the Billionaire Boys Club, even more irritating was the complete lack of economic reality advanced by Nader through his “actors”. One key strategy of the Meliorists (their chosen moniker) was to unlock all of the ‘dead’ money contained in mutual funds and bond markets. “Dead money”; also known as the capital used by publicly traded companies to finance the jobs that the Meliorists want to improve through doubling the minimum wage.

The biggest evil in the world, in the eyes of Meliorists, is the multi-national corporation. Yet in a typical lack of consistency, perhaps their single biggest “hot button” issue is the estate tax, one of the biggest contributors to the rise and consolidation of assets in the big, faceless corporations that they despise.

A minimum wage of $10/hour? Great. I wonder how folks on a fixed income are going to handle the erosion in their purchasing power when inflation spikes? Like the entire novel, the proposals are simplistic, naïve and poorly reasoned.

In Nader’s world, Warren Beatty becomes Governor of California and solves the budget crisis by eliminating tax breaks for the super rich. Well, that should cover about 5% of the shortfall. There are simply not enough super rich people in the United States to bridge the budget deficit, regardless of the tax rate. Confiscating all of the assets (not just the income) of the super rich might make a one time dent in the annual budget deficit, but then where would you be?

Of course, addressing the budget deficit is not a priority, as in addition to reinstituting confiscatory tax rates, they have a whole basketful of new entitlement plans in the works, including a “reverse income tax”, which I can only assume guarantees you a certain level of income (the earned income tax credit, without the requirement that it be “earned”), guaranteed housing, free legal representation and health care. They completely eliminate federal income tax on those earning less than $100,000 a year. I knew Nader’s philosophy, but I thought that he’d have to at least cloak it in a semblance of reality. Not much reality here. The Meliorists form a political party, draft candidates and qualify for ballots in a couple of months. Really?

Now, it would be unfair to assign a low rating based solely upon my disagreement with his politics. The sad fact is that Nader is not a very good writer of fiction. The bulk of the novel involves the Meliorists sitting around a large conference room, at a beautiful resort in Maui, in monthly meetings where they preach to each other, mouthing tired old hackneyed liberal platitudes on which they all agree unanimously. It’s almost heartwarming. This coupled with the absurd, unrealistic events which transpire, make it a difficult read.

That is not to say that there are not periods of entertainment or even thoughtful discourse (the process of unionizing WalMart, for example), but they are hopelessly few and far between. Thus, I am faced with assigning a rating. It is amusing to see people actually assign four and five star rating to this work. Can anyone actually make the argument that this is the equal of Lonesome Dove, or War and Peace? I recently read Ken Follett’s epic novel, Fall of Giants and awarded it three stars. It was a far better novel than this piece of work; far better. In truth, this is a one or two star work. Naderites will like it because it parrots their agenda, but that doesn’t make it a good novel.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t recognize the single biggest benefit that Ralph Nader ever bestowed upon his fellow Americans. No, I’m not talking about the Pinto, I’m referring to his third party Presidential candidacy in 2000, in which he was able to siphon enough votes in the state of Florida away from that pompous, hypocritical, bag of wind Al Gore to prevent him from becoming President. And for that, I will always be grateful. Therefore, I will give him a two star rating for this work, one star more than it deserves. ( )
  santhony | Feb 7, 2011 |
Through a work of fiction, Nader proposes a plan through which seventeen of the wealthiest people in the world, including Bill Cosby, Phil Donahue, Bill Gates, Yoko Ono, Ross Perot, and Ted Turner, could help alleviate many of the major problems facing the planet today, including government corruption, environmental ills, and social injustices. I recommend this book (especially to Bill Cosby, Phil Donahue, Bill Gates, Yoko Ono, Ross Perot, Ted Turner...) ( )
  Vero-unua | Jul 10, 2010 |
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To the Meliorists, their advocates, beneficiaries and all those who follow to broaden and deepen their pioneering footsteps in reality.
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In the cozy den of the large but modest house in Omaha where he had lived since he started on his first billion, Warren Buffett watched the horrors of Hurricane Katrina unfold on television in early September 2005.
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Political activist and author Ralph Nader answers the question, "What if?" What if a cadre of superrich individuals tried to become a driving force in America to organize and institutionalize the interests of the citizens of this troubled nation? What if some of America's most powerful individuals decided it was time to fix our government and return the power to the people? What if they focused their power on unionizing Wal-Mart? What if a national political party were formed with the sole purpose of advancing clean elections? What if these seventeen superrich individuals decided to galvanize a movement for alternative forms of energy that will effectively clean up the environment? What if together they took on corporate goliaths and Congress to provide the necessities of life and advance the solutions so long left on the shelf by an avaricious oligarchy? What could happen?--From publisher description.… (more)

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Seven Stories Press

Three editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.

Editions: 1583229035, 158322923X, 1609803620

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