From Publishers Weekly
In 1987, Alan Greenspan was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Batra had a bestseller predicting a depression deeper than the Great Depression, lasting from 1990 to 1996. Batra's second book, two years later, predicting the crash of 1990 did less well, and his books predicting disaster in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 found fewer readers, lucid as they were. Batra did correctly predict a stock market downturn in 2000, but erred by blaming the Y2K computer bug and forecasting high inflation and deep, long lasting negative growth. Now Batra has switched from predicting the future to criticizing the past. Readers expecting sensational charges will be disappointed. "This is not fraud in the legal sense," the author reassures us. Instead, Greenspan has "seriously afflicted the finances of millions of families." Batra faults Greenspan's views on social security, minimum wage, taxes and the trade deficit. As always, his economic arguments are expressed elegantly. Missing is a direct link to Greenspan, who had only a peripheral advisory role in these issues (his job is setting interest rates, financial policy and bank regulation) and voices only highly modulated views when he does give opinions. The misplaced focus weakens the sound economic arguments, and the title is sensationalized at best. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. (May 9)
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It is hard to decide who has the bigger ego, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan or prolific author and professor Batra, who has written, among other books, The Great Depression of 1990
(1987). Batra takes great glee in demonstrating, step by step, how Greenspan has committed all kinds of fraud, starting with Social Security on through the trade deficit. When it comes to Social Security, the author claims, Greenspan has been operating a three-part ploy: raise an alarm about the deficit, ask workers for yet more sacrifices, then spend the extra monies on various government programs. Laissez-faire reigns supreme; the principle of an economy untouched by government holds sway. What's more, Batra includes charts detailing events pivotal to the chairman's fraud. His statistics are impressive, such as the fact that the bottom 20 percent of the country (or 56 million people) live on 3.6 percent of the national income. So are his visions of an economic democracy, including stability, fair and efficient treatment, and a far better standard of living for all; however, Batra's emotional presentation lessens his book's effectiveness. Barbara JacobsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved