“Third World America” by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington Book Review

Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington’s latest book “Third World America” provides a concrete analysis of why our nation is suffering a downfall.   She backs up her arguments with startling evidence concerning middle-class Americans and how the U.S. is in danger of becoming a third world nation.  Huffington claims that each issue plaguing America was predicted and offers solutions with both optimism and outrage.

Arianna Huffington was born in Athens with the original surname of Stassinopoulou (Στασινοπουλου).  Huffington is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Huffington Post. Launched in 2005, the Huffington Post is an extremely popular news and blog site and has one of the highest hits on the internet daily regarding readership, links and cited media brands.  She is the co-host of public radio’s popular political roundtable show “Left, Right & Center”.  Huffington has appeared on many TV shows including: “Oprah”, “The O’Reilly Factor”, “Nightline”, “Good Morning America”, “Today”, “Charlie Rose”, “Larry King Live”, “Real Time with Bill Maher”, “Hardball”, “Countdown”, and “Inside Politics”.  Additionally she has authored thirteen other books and is a nationally syndicated columnist.

                Huffington discusses how middle-class Americans are now an endangered species in “Third World America”.  She writes shocking statements that would make any reader, regardless of their party ideology question our current governmental state.  Huffington writes: “Does anyone believe that the sense of urgency coming out of Washington wouldn’t be widely different if the unemployment rate for the top 10 percent of income earners was 31 percent?” (pg. 13)  Instead, she claims we get policy Band-Aids.  She believes the defining element of the American dream-work hard and progress up the ladder has been desecrated. 

                Huffington’s latest work highlights many factors hindering America.  We have an absence of manufacturing, an overspending of trillions of dollars on two unnecessary wars, extremely high college tuitions in an era of vast unemployment, promotion of corporate interests, our current banking and lending system, an aging infrastructure, and an unregulated free market.  She lays blame on both parties and states: “Of course, Republican leaders were not the only ones drinking the free-market Kool-Aid.  It was also chugged by New Democrats such as Bill Clinton.” (pg. 52)

                Huffington argues that events are panning out exactly as forecasted.  She believes it was inevitable schemes and traps strategically placed to maximize profits for a few, while leaving conditions that would shortly make millions of Americans devastated.  She offers horrific statistics that wakes up her audience.  “Almost forty-one millions homes in the United States are located next door to a foreclosed property.  The value of these homes drops an average of $8,800 following a foreclosure.  This translates into a total property loss of $356 billion…We have given hundreds of billions of dollars to save Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, and yet those same banks are turning around and refusing to modify mortgages so that families can stay in their homes.” (pg. 72, 74)

                Huffington believes our rapid descent is primarily caused by our unsatisfactory public education system.  “In Alabama, only 20 percent of eight graders are proficient in math.  In California, it’s just 23 percent.  In New York, it’s 34 percent.” (pg. 114)  In our current public school system, it is very difficult to eliminate tenured, bad teachers and this takes an enormous toll on the quality of education being received. 

                “Third World America” claims there are no lobbyists for the American Dream.  Public interest should prevail before special interest. The lives of hardworking Americans should come before corporate greed.  Huffington examines how the banking, pharmaceutical, oil, mining and health-care sectors have paid penalty fines but admitted no wrong doings, as the cost of conducting business. 

                The book’s final chapter explains why America is not a done deal.  Huffington even believes that our best days can lie ahead of us: “I realize that coming after the litany of all the ways America is falling apart, this might sound overly optimistic.  Or delusional.  Or the result of hitting the ouzo in despair.” (pg. 169)  She describes how our nation has always risen to challenges and prevailed.  Huffington encourages all 300 million U.S. citizens to get involved and implement a functioning democracy, as we have never needed the active participation of all more than now.  She provides solutions to all concerns discussed in her earlier chapters and offers hope.  Huffington urges readers to find out what they can do at: www.huffingtonpost.com/ThirdWorldAmerica

                Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington successfully delivers a concise and disturbing account of our nation’s current climate in “Third World America”.  The author writes that her goal is to sound alarm so that we never do become “Third World America” and dedicates it to the millions of middle-class Americans fighting to keep the American Dream alive.  Any reader interested in the present condition of the United States would greatly benefit by reading Huffington’s latest work.