The Politics of Rich and Poor

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The Politics of Rich and Poor is a book written by Kevin Phillips, who has extensive expertise in print journalism as well as in politics, having served as a political analyst in the 1968 campaign and election strategist. In this work, he examines the effects of Reagan-era actions on the national economy. It's a well-written book with real data and evidence to back up everything he says in the book, including statistical data in the form of charts. The following is a critical analysis of the book. In the author’s book on the description of the economic consequences of the “Reagan revolution of the 1980’s” the author relies more on empirical data to ascertain that there is a cyclical pattern in American politics. The author gives out a lot of statistics trying to give a bearing to his thesis. He bases his argument on four different things; he says that inequality increased during the 1980’s, Reagan’s policies were chiefly responsible for that, having more affluent people was a bad thing, and lastly politicians should follow his smart advice.

He argues that when wealth was redistributed during the 1980’s, the rich benefited more and the poor were left out of the equation. When you clearly look at this thesis, it leaves out some key facts like the rich who had acquired their wealth through their hard work and not from the redistribution. The author does not take this into consideration, and this leaves a huge gap in his thesis, as he classifies all the rich people in one basket, as people taking advantage of the poor. He argues that government policies usually favor the rich and happens to give the rich everything on a silver platter as compared to the poor, who are perceived to be the only ones working hard for their money and thus are not wealthy. He wants to bring about an illusion that rich people get rich through government policy at the expense of the poor, which under normal circumstances is a fallacy. He forgets that we have innovations and creativity that if utilized to the maximum make one productive.

The statement he was trying to pass across is emotionally appealing and morally correct. The government is not supposed to extract money from the poor giving it to the rich; it’s intended to be equal in its redistribution of all resources. It should be fair in wealth distribution, so as to improve the economy of the entire state holistically. The author also tries to hide some of his biases against free enterprise, rich folks and Ronald Reagan in particular. The author seems to have a lot of issues with Ronald Reagan, as his administration during his time in power was the one doing the redistribution of wealth, which on normal occasions is supposed to be the work of the government.

The author is not convincing on his thesis about the economic consequences of the Reagan revolution of the 1980’s; instead, he’s more focused on the underlying discrepancies and criticism of the Reagan Administration. He only made more and more critics about his time in power other than also coming up with viable solutions that would solve the problems at hand. The author had a misguided knowledge on economics, like in the instance where he called a tax cut a redistribution of income from the poor to the rich. His judgment here was misconstrued as everyone had a right of keeping what they had earned. In his arguments, he poses like the rich should be robbed of their wealth and distributed to the poor, whom he felt had more right than the rich to amass the wealth being redistributed. His judgment there seems a little impaired and thus holds no water in convincing people about what he wrote. He is against development by condemning productive economy.

According to my judgment on the author’s book, I didn’t like the way he only offered the misgivings on the Reagan after birth other than also offering solutions to what he felt was not right. In my perspective I think the author was trying to settle scores by slandering Reagans regime, he also seems to have a very great disliking for the rich people and classifies them all under one basket of “thieves” due to government intervention. What I did like though was the fact that he tried to shed some light on the evil and corrupt ways that some of the people gained their wealth. He advocated on the rich getting to be taxed more as this would promote economic growth because some of the rich people failed to pay taxes based on the bend rules of Reagan and continued growing richer while the poorer continued being poor.

I think the book takes the background in American history, political science or economics, which might not be an attractive thing to most people except those who are interested in the decade’s national and worldwide economic changes and with the nature of the processes which has allowed and produced those changes. Another likable thing about the book is that, despite all the pessimistic ideas built concerning government policies, the author has also shade some light on what might happen in the future if such things are prone to take place.

In the book, the author uses a lot of rhetoric questions in his sentence structure, “American policy is bankrupt, braindead, rudderless, a joke and on the edge of developing national unease, The reason?” Have the rich gotten richer?” He also uses some profane language to show his disguise of the American government, he describes them as bankrupt, brain-dead, rudderless and a joke (Philips). This brings about emotion to portray how the American government is disintegrating. He uses opening clause in his sentence structure, “a clear majority of the families experienced an increase in both pretax and after-tax income.

The author was able to bring forth his emotions, dislikes and portray everything that he wanted reading and understood by readers through the enormous figurative speech he used during the writing of the book. Like when he described the American policy, he managed to show the readers what his attitude towards the American policy at that given time was. He was able to make the readers feel what he wrote not just by reading but by actually intently understanding what he was trying to say. This was an excellent way of passing his message across. In his book also, he manages to use Standard English that is well understood by most people, his words are very concise and doesn’t take much of an effort to get his message across the board. Although the author did a commendable job in his book, there still some flaws that should have been addressed. He focuses more on comparing Reagan’s regime to the Gilded age which was characterized by Republican administrators which have emphasized a reduced government role in taxes and monetary policy. Instead, he should have proposed his solutions which would salvage the falling economy. According to his book, he seems like he’s at war with the rich people, whom he claims to be stealing from the poor and getting coverage from the government policies. He’s not putting into perspective that not all rich people might have worked just as hard as the poor ones to get to wherever they were. Other than that, I think his book is a nice one and commendable.


In summary, his work was well laid out, and the content should have been well understood by a majority. The Politics of Rich and Poor is an insightful book that I would recommend to anyone who would like to keep up with the American historical analysis, political science, and economic analysis. His book has caught national attention because of the important economic dimensions. It emphasizes on how the political parties overlook the distribution of health facilities and the mainstream of American politics. The author has brought out a very critical analysis of what happened during Reagan’s era. It is well detailed and has a brief English language that is well understood and it is an excellent book.

Work Cited

Phillips, Kevin P. The politics of rich and poor: Wealth and the American electorate in the Reagan aftermath. Vol. 38. New York: Random House, 1990.

May 10, 2023


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