Good Book Gift Ideas

If you are struggling to come up with a gift for someone on your list, consider a good book.

Here are three books.  They may not all be a good match for everyone, but maybe at least one will hit the spot.  Don’t forget that it is okay to treat yourself as well.

These are the top three books I read this year.

Deconstructing the Administrative State     
by Emmett McGroarty, Jane Robbins, Erin Tuttle

This book discusses a battle of ideologies that has lasted over a century and 516Braj0R1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_continues today, pitting those who defend the American Experiment and the constitutional structure against those who seek to replace that structure with one that empowers them to implement their ideas with little or no popular input. Progressives want governance by experts – bureaucrats with administrative power to make political judgments on how people must live, thereby narrowing the realm of their liberty. They expand the administrative state and create an identity of interest with Big Business. Both groups want an ever-expanding government: one motivated by power, the other by money. For its part, Big Business has set up camp on Capitol Hill, lavishly funding establishment politicians, of both parties, who rationalize the need for campaign money to the detriment of waging the good fight. Together, politicians and their cronies elbow the citizen off the policy-making stage. However, this state of affairs is kindling the passions of the constitutional structure’s greatest “check” on government excess – the American people. This is a fight that can be won. Deconstructing the Administrative State offers the blueprint for victory.

The above is from Amazon.

This book is my top pick for the year.


The One Percent Solution
by Gordon Lafer

How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time41MsUHK+8LL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_

In the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision, it’s become commonplace to note the growing political dominance of a small segment of the economic elite. But what exactly are those members of the elite doing with their newfound influence? The One Percent Solution provides an answer to this question for the first time. Gordon Lafer’s book is a comprehensive account of legislation promoted by the nation’s biggest corporate lobbies across all fifty state legislatures and encompassing a wide range of labor and economic policies.

In an era of growing economic insecurity, it turns out that one of the main reasons life is becoming harder for American workers is a relentless—and concerted—offensive by the country’s best-funded and most powerful political forces: corporate lobbies empowered by the Supreme Court to influence legislative outcomes with an endless supply of cash. These actors have successfully championed hundreds of new laws that lower wages, eliminate paid sick leave, undo the right to sue over job discrimination, and cut essential public services.

Lafer shows how corporate strategies have been shaped by twenty-first-century conditions—including globalization, economic decline, and the populism reflected in both the Trump and Sanders campaigns of 2016. Perhaps most important, Lafer shows that the corporate legislative agenda has come to endanger the scope of democracy itself.

For anyone who wants to know what to expect from corporate-backed Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., there is no better guide than this record of what the same set of actors has been doing in the state legislatures under its control.

I learned of Gordon Lafer and this book when I attended a presentation he made at a conference I attended.  His presentation prompted me to pick up and read the book.  This would be my second pick for the year.


by Steven Brill

From the award-winning journalist and best-selling author of America’s Bitter9781524731632 Pill: a tour de force examination of 1) how and why major American institutions no longer serve us as they should, causing a deep rift between the vulnerable majority and the protected few, and 2) how some individuals and organizations are laying the foundation for real, lasting change.In this revelatory narrative covering the years 1967 to 2017, Steven Brill gives us a stunningly cogent picture of the broken system at the heart of our society. He shows us how, over the last half-century, America’s core values–meritocracy, innovation, due process, free speech, and even democracy itself–have somehow managed to power its decline into dysfunction. They have isolated our best and brightest, whose positions at the top have never been more secure or more remote. The result has been an erosion of responsibility and accountability, an epidemic of shortsightedness, an increasingly hollow economic and political center, and millions of Americans gripped by apathy and hopelessness. By examining the people and forces behind the rise of big-money lobbying, legal and financial engineering, the demise of private-sector unions, and a hamstrung bureaucracy, Brill answers the question on everyone’s mind: How did we end up this way? Finally, he introduces us to those working quietly and effectively to repair the damages. At once a diagnosis of our national ills, a history of their development, and a prescription for a brighter future, Tailspin is a work of riveting journalism–and a welcome antidote to political despair.

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