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How to Ruin the United States of America Hardcover – June 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

   

       Ben Stein can be seen talking about finance on Fox TV news every week. He has written about finance for Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal for decades and contributes regularly to the AARP’s Modern Maturity (now AARP: The Magazine). He was one of the chief busters of the junk bond frauds of the 1980s, has been a long-time critic of corporate executives’ self-dealing, and has written several self-help books about personal finance.

        Phil DeMuth is an investment psychologist with a longstanding interest in the stock market. He has written for The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, as well as Human Behavior and Psychology Today. His opinions have been quoted on theStreet.com and Fortune Magazine and is president of Conservative Wealth Management in Los Angeles.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Beginnings Press (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401918697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401918699
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,710,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In "How to Ruin the United States" I expected to see the standard conservative line, given Stein's conservative background. Instead, I was pleased to instead find thoughtful comments, documented with a few facts, as appropriate.

I especially liked his sections on "Voodoo Economics" and immigration. Stein believes our government is engaged in economic malpractice by running large deficits during times of prosperity, pushing the Kool-Aid of supply-side economics that says cutting taxes gives us something for nothing, and persecuting the oil industry - vital to our survival.

Stein reports that the discounted present value of unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security total $88.2 trillion as of 2007 - about $290,000 per citizen, and 6X our annual GDP. He also asserts that the 2006 drug benefit costs are even larger, though I'm not certain I'm on board with that conclusion.

Milton Friedman attributed about 60% of the increase in health care costs to U.S. involvement in Medicare and Medicaid; the proportion of government spending on health care has risen from 1/8 in 1919 to about one-half in 1997.

Turning to our ballooning federal deficits, Stein attributes them largely to Arthur Laffer's theory - introduced without benefit of validity during Reagan's terms. Supposedly, people would work harder if they were taxed less, resulting in an overall increase in collected taxes. Reality, however, is that the number of hours worked/week has barely moved since Bush's tax cuts, and are considerably less than 1959 when the top bracket was nearly 80%. Further, overall labor-forced participation has hardly changed since Bush's cuts.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A deep insight into the state of our country, what it was built on, and how far we've strayed from the ideals of our founders. The authors have addressed serious problems that our country is facing in a truly comical, yet straightforward fashion. A definite must-read for everybody before casting your presidential vote.
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Format: Hardcover
I hope you take the time to read this terrific book. It won't take very long to read, but I hope you ponder its meaning for a long time to come. In a way it is one of those tests that reveals who you are by your responses to what it says. I found myself deeply in sympathy with what Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth say in these pages and I think that most people who truly love America for its history, traditions, and potential will love this book. Those who see only America's flaws and judge it a failed nation will be on the other side of things. I think it is helpful to know who stands where and why.

The book has six short chapters. Ben Stein's other "How to Ruin" books have many more chapters that range from a paragraph or two to a page or two, but these chapters are 20 to 30 pages each. The authors provide a mix of history, stories, and personal analysis of each topic.

The first chapter shows how banishing God from Public Life is against our long held traditions and how this modern innovation has turned the Founders' intentions on their head. It has not been a matter of progress, but a process of corruption. Our society has become not only coarser and crueler, it has taken on practices as normal that have been seen by humanity as abominations for thousands of years.

The second chapter shows how the mis-education of our youth serves one political agenda and it is not the one that reveres our founding and the original intent of our Declaration and Constitution. When the authors show you the way certain views have turned every subject into a nail for its monomaniacal hammer I hope you get energized to get involved and help America reject the rot of the past several decades.

Chapter three shows us the debasement of American culture.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C.Wallace VINE VOICE on July 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for Americans who do not think ours is a great country. Those who do not believe that we are surrounded by enemies should read this book. Those who criticize and mock our core values should examine the book.

Stein and DeMuth outline the basic values on which our country was built: a belief in God, a belief in ethical behavior, a belief in freedom, and a willingness to fight to defend our way of life. The authors point out how a liberal media and a liberal academe have helped create a moralless community of lazy complainers in our country. If you're the sort who snickers at phrases like "My country right or wrong" you would not enjoy this book.

The authors offer great insight about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the threats from Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. They point out the ill effects of an open-borders immigration policy. They assert that a crisis looms because of the unfunded demands of Social Security and Medicare combined with a cut-taxes-but-spend-anyway government, all riding on a stupendous national debt.

It's a great little book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rittwolf on August 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors take an honest and sometimes humorous, no punches pulled, look at many of the major issues and problems facing the United States of America. A great read! I didn't want to put this one down. If we can only encourage Americans and our leaders to use the common sense needed to strengthen our country and unite us once again. Otherwise, some of the scary scenarios in this book could soon be our reality and then, if it isn't already, it will be too late.
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