The Unworthy is a concise history of how our country’s current situation arose and a manifesto of what the author believes it will take to expand opportunity, reduce the deficit, improve healthcare, eradicate poverty, reduce political corruption and reestablish the value of work over privilege. If that sounds like a tall order, it is, yet Robert Daniels – self-dubbed The Blue Collar Economist – has specific prescriptions delivered with a generally controlled indignation that largely have the ring of logic.
Persons of a left-of-center political persuasion will cheer Daniels’ proposals and jeer those whom he says are responsible for undeclared wars, swollen deficits, costly and inefficient health care, the role of big money in elections and other problems the country faces. Finding themselves in Daniels’ figurative crosshairs are George Bush, Dick Cheney, the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch (whom he mistakenly calls “Lester Murdoch”), right-wing media stars, the Supreme Court, and health care and insurance company CEOs, among others.
“These people and institutions are so greedy, they make Ebenezer Scrooge seem like Mother Teresa and the Grim Reaper like the angel of mercy,” writes Daniels. At other points, the author refers to his villains as “pinheads,” “boneheads” and “crazy nuts.” Hyperbole or accuracy? Readers’ opinions will most likely ride on which side of the political aisle they sit.
While most of Daniels’ recommendations seem substantive, some can be trivial, such as his repeated call for bullet trains, which are a fine method of transportation but would do little to solve the problems Daniels identifies. A chapter on his own health problems falls into the same category and is extraneous.
All flaws aside, the issues Daniels addresses are the ones that are defining the country’s political discourse, and for that reason alone make The Unworthy a worthy read.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.