With a subtitle of How Government & Politics REALLY Affect The Ordinary Joe who could possibly not want to read this book? I am the first to admit that my political leanings are non-existent, I view them all as equally evil representatives of the dark side. Robert Wickes, who freely admits that he is Just an Ordinary Joe has created a fabulously funny book. Maybe I should qualify that last statement, I thought that it was fabulously funny; however anyone with any political leanings will probably be mortified by much of the content and recomendations that are made.

This book may provide some rare common ground that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on, and that would be that they do not like The Myth America Pageant.

Mr. Wickes does not like ‘Big Government’ and the book looks at many aspects of modern society and how government imposes their will upon the often unwilling masses. Health care, commerce, welfare, education, foreign policy, and a whole host of other hot topics are analyzed at some length, and it is done in an incredibly humorous manner.

The root of the problem he espouses was the invention of air conditioning! Almost everything wrong with the modern government and political system can be blamed on this demon of the 20th century.

Mr. Wickes explains that this nugget of wisdom comes from his 90 year old father. The explanation runs along these lines. The Founding Fathers were a pretty smart group of guys, and having just left the tyranny of England to create a new and better life on this side of the pond wanted to make sure that they were not trading one set of problems for a whole new set. The document that they created was well thought out, but they knew that future generations would want to create mischief. The best way to limit the amount of mischief that these lawmakers could create they decided that Washington would be the seat of government.

Washington is a terrible place to live in during the winter months, and an even worse place to live in the summer. This would mean that the politicians would want to spend as little time as possible there, keeping their opportunities to create mischief to a minimum. The advent of air conditioning changed everything. Now we are faced with year round mischief makers.

Although the book is very funny, it also contains some very disturbing facts and figures that most of us ‘Regular Joes’ are not aware of. A great example is our Education system, the approximate expenditure on a child from K-12 is an astounding $100,000. Yet 25% of college entrants require remedial courses in reading, or some other very basic discipline.

The discussions about ‘pork’ are also very entertaining, he cites some excellent stories about how our ‘tax dollars’ get used.

On Foreign Policy (in Mr. Wilkes’ eyes read war) he has a fascinating table showing that between 1890 and 2004, which is approximately 115 years, we have been involved in 120 adventures in other countries. War, he argues is just another way that big government gets to extract yet more tax dollars from us regular Joes.

The last part of the book offers some solutions. Again I suspect that if you are a politician, lobbyist, or union member, you may not endorse the ideas.

I for one thought that The Myth America Pageant was a fine read, and I am working on an interview with Robert Wickes. I will be publishing that soon. 

The Myth America Pageant is available through Amazon.

Simon Barrett




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