The Beltway Beast , transcends the anger and frustration of American people with its leaders in solving their problems. It documents our current reality and offers transformational ideas such as shrinking the Presidential Primary process through technology; Reducing healthcare cost through Smart Patient Credits and a Value Based Tax system that decentralized the power away from Washington.
October 30, 2014 - The Beltway Beast: A Challenge to Our Democracy by Munir Moon is a concise look at a litany of problems with the American political system—and a glimpse at a possible solution.
Moon's main goal is to argue against political polarization. Rather than pointing a finger at one party, individual, issue, or belief system, Moon attacks the beast that is Washington, DC: "the Military-Industrial Complex, multinational corporations, lobbyists, media, and Congress." If it feels like a lot to tackle in one slim volume, it is; but Moon puts all these oft-discussed issues in one place in order to prime Americans for his proposed solution: a third party.
Moon asserts that The People's Party of America could help restore balance. The PPA, as Moon presents it, would be people-centered, focusing on "equality, fairness, freedom, and justice." Throughout the book, Moon presents practical details behind those abstractions—but he doesn't provide all the specifics, as this is to be an open movement, a community rather than one man's opinion.
The book is well researched, filled with statistics on governmental failure: missing military equipment, inadequate representation of women and nonwhite citizens in the federal government, negligence in management of federal funds, lack of investment in education, and more.
While the book sees many faults in the government, this is not a book for pessimists. The idea of one party to represent all Americans may seem naive, but Moon embraces that challenge: "the goal is not to please or offend people but to advance some of the best ideas from the right, left, and middle." Hopeful cynics like Moon will want to join the PPA.
The book's problem-solution format is much more weighted toward the problem. It expounds on the government's policies and actions regarding debt, defense, health care, schools, and diplomacy. The last two chapters focus on the platform and business practices of the PPA. For Moon's key audience—those who also feel that "we keep on reforming reforms, so to speak, but to no avail"—this problem-focused approach does not present a strong enough call to action. Potential PPA advocates will be left champing at the bit: "So how do we actually get this party started?"
Moon's life as an immigrant who achieved the American dream adds depth to the familiar political ideas the book discusses. His tone of controlled, well-thought-out frustration and exasperation will resonate with many Americans, and this calm reasoning helps further the cause more effectively than rage. The Beltway Beast shows how a new party could tackle a broad swath of political issues.
November 11, 2014 - A political treatise that laments how America’s democracy inadequately represents its citizens and calls for the creationof a third party.
In his debut effort, Moon catalogs a host of familiar ailments that he believes currently infect the body politic, including corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, a chronically underperforming educational system, monumental debt and partisan stalemates. However, he unconventionally identifies the principal political challenge of our time as the disenfranchisement of citizens, particularly neglected minorities. He marshals impressive statistical evidence in favor of his thesis that government aggrandizement has come at the expense of voter power. His argument’s seductiveness is partially a function of his consistent bipartisanship. For example, it’s not often that one finds a book that argues for increased teacher compensation while also sharply criticizing public teachers’ unions or that advocates health care reform by competitively pitting private and public programs against each other. The argument’s scope is also dizzyingly wide-ranging, addressing such topics as the government’s response to cyberthreats and a plan for reforming the structure of the United Nations. Sometimes Moon issues overzealous, sweeping generalizations; at one point, for example, he declaims that “[l]obbyists are synonymous with corporations” and then contradicts himself, saying that they “represent labor unions, trade groups, foreign governments, and nonprofits, among others.” His vision for a third party, “The People’s Party of America,” is also a touch quixotic, as it “envisions a nation where every person has access toeducation, affordable healthcare, and job opportunities; poverty is eradicated and the tax system is fair for all; and our elected leaders term themselves out.” Still, armed with an MBA, Moon presents a pragmatic business plan for establishing this party and reflects with estimable acuity on the history of third-party success in the United States. For aself-professed “average American,” he offers a measured, serious diagnosis of today’s political difficulties, coupled witha wealth of provocative potential solutions.
An engaging critique that sees the two-party system as the source of the United States’ political travails.
December 2014 - According to a Gallup poll in October 2013, only 26% believe that two major parties adequately represent Americans, and 60% of Americans think a third party is needed. This book is designed to be a platform for the 74% of Americans who are yearning for an option outside of the two-party monopoly.
And so, Munir Moon succinctly states the purpose for his excellent, thoughtful book. There is a bit of a trend recently in books that look to re-invent the clearly flawed political systems in the Western democracies. (You may disagree with that statement, or at least the latter part of it, but do keep reading.) As I write this review, the number one best-seller in the UK is Russell Brand’s Revolution. Brand calls for a boycott of all established institutions, including a refusal to cast votes in elections contested among elite parties. So in many ways, both Moon and Brand are coming from the same place while heading in only slightly different directions.
Let’s get back to that flawed political system. Writing before the 2014 mid-term elections, Moon notes the following:
– Women represent 51% of the population but made up only 20% of the Senate and 18% of the House in 2013.
– African-Americans comprise 15% of the population, but there was only one black elected US senator in 2013, and only five African-Americans have been elected to the US Senate since this country was founded.
– There were only three Latino senators in 2013, all of them men.
– Sixty-seven percent of senators are millionaires.
– The average age of a senator is sixty-two years, while the median age in America is only thirty-seven.
– Seven of the top ten counties with the nation’s highest household incomes are located in the Washington Beltway.
I’d call that flawed. How about you? Furthermore, Moon brings this to our attention:
“Then there is the issue of overseas military bases that we maintain at a cost of about $102 billion annually, or about $1 trillion over 10 years. Germany alone has 227 US bases, which may have been justified during the Cold War, but why now?”
I cannot over-stress the quality of Moon’s research. To cite just one example, he takes apart Obamacare for being what it is: a giant transfer of capital from the public sector (that would be the American taxpayer) to the already wealthy insurance companies. Moon instead advocates for an idea called the Smart Patient Credit, which would empower consumers by giving them all price options and rewarding them for making the most economical choice. To be frank, I am still an advocate for the Single Payer system, however Moon must be applauded for at the very east provoking discussion. This book needs to be not just read, not just shared, but acted upon immediately. The Beltway Beast is vital in these times.