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The Great Money Binge: Spending Our Way to Socialism Hardcover – November 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"There are those who say -- their wishes being the fathers of their thoughts -- that Ronald Reagan's doctrine of free markets and limited government has lost its relevance and has won its last election. To them, George Melloan delivers a robust and convincing rebuttal. This intellectual spanking is delightful." -- George F. Will

About the Author

George Melloan retired in after a 54-year writing and editing career at The Wall Street Journal. In his last assignment he was Deputy Editor, International, of the editorial page and author of a weekly op-ed column titled Global View. He moved to New York in 1962 to join the Journal’s Page One department as an editor and rewrite specialist. From 1966 to 1970 he was a foreign correspondent based in London, covering such major stories as the Six-Day War in the Middle East, the Biafran War in Nigeria and an attempted economic reform in the Soviet Union.

 After joining the editorial page in New York in 1970, Mr. Melloan became deputy editor in 1973. In 1990, he took responsibility for the Journal’s overseas editorial pages, writing editorials and columns for the Journal’s foreign and domestic editions about such momentous events as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the open door policy that brought billions of foreign investment into China, fueling its enormous economic growth over a period of 25 years.

Mr Melloan was winner of the Gerald Loeb award for distinguished business and financial journalism in 1982 and twice in the 1980s won the Daily Gleaner award of the Inter-American Press Association for his writings about the rising Soviet influence in Central America. In 2005, he received the Barbara Olson Award for excellence and independence in journalism from The American Spectator.

 He and his wife, Jody, live in Westfield, N.J. In 1978, they authored “The Carter Economy,” (John Wiley) an analysis of the  prospects for the Carter administration based on its performance in its first year in office. They have three children and one grandchild. Mr. Melloan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Dutch Treat Club in New York. He still writes occasionally for the Journal.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions; First Edition edition (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143916407X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439164075
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ira E. Stoll VINE VOICE on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Those trying to understand how we got into the financial crisis and how we might get out of it have no shortage of books to choose from as we head into the holiday season, but one fine place to start would be with the new offering by a veteran of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, George Melloan, issued under the title, "The Great Money Binge: Spending Our Way to Socialism."

Amity Shlaes gets things rolling with an introduction making the point that Republicans and Democrats alike are capable of economic policy errors, noting that at the Camp David retreat at which President Nixon closed the gold window and imposed wage and price controls, Milton Friedman himself was in attendance. Mr. Melloan doesn't flinch from this conclusion in his own text, either. "What transpired under a Republican administration, albeit with a Democratic Congress, in the second half of 2008 will discredit Republican claims to be for small government for years to come," he writes. That sentence alone is worth the price of the book.

So are Mr. Melloan's insights into the inner workings of the Wall Street Journal. The editor, Robert Bartley, was the son of a professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State. Mr. Melloan was an Indiana farm boy. Their colleague Jude Wanniski was the son of a coal miner. As Mr. Melloan memorably puts it, "We Journal editors were a rather proletarian lot to be promoting capitalism." They did a pretty good job of it, though, and so does Mr. Melloan in this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Larry Underwood on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The past year has been financially trying for most people; the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression has not only caused major damage to stock prices, but the housing market has been heavily battered as well; the foreclosure rate around the country is startling; some areas like Phoenix and Las Vegas have been hit especially hard.

The good news is, capitalism will eventually save us; the free market economy is still a viable system, if we'll only leave it alone.

The bad news is, our government seems to think "intervention" is the soundest plan for economic recovery; so it continues to meddle; and future generations of Americans are facing the real prospect of having to finance crippling budget deficits that has this country spiraling out of financial control.

But there's still hope; George Melloan has written this wonderful book, stating a very stong case for the free market system, while denouncing the economic policies our federal government has taken that provide only short term remedies; severe long term financial trauma is a certainty if we continue spending our way into socialism.

If I wanted to be a socialist, I'd live in Europe; I prefer capitalism; it works, if we allow it to work. Melloan does a terrific job of giving the reader the true story; no more bailouts, America. We can't afford them anymore.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Duane Moore on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Melloan was one of my favorite columnists from the Wall Street Journal editorial page when he wrote his Global View column. He possessed the qualities that are critical to being a good journalist and especially an editorial writer, namely the ability to communicate his point convincingly in 1000 words or so. In 300 or so pages of "The Great Money Binge", Melloan also makes several good points, but it's harder to discern a central thesis or observe a consistent narrative leading up to an explanation of that thesis. The book too often feels like a series of slightly related thoughts organized into chapters that meander from topic to topic.

Another complaint I have is Melloan's sometimes selective blame that is assigned to various administrations. He rightly blames Carter for not doing enough to combat inflation (though Carter was the one who originally hired Paul Volcker) and Clinton for promoting irresponsible lending standards that led to the sub-prime debacle, but surely the Republican administrations (Reagan's and the two Bush administrations) also bear some of the blame. He attempts to use the strawman of the "progressive" ideology as the cause of many of our economics woes, but the subtitle of the book instead targets "socialism", although it's never explained whether or not we are really headed to socialism, at least not in the same convincing way that F.A. Hayek did in his classic book "The Road to Serfdom".

Despite these complaints, I believe this book is a useful addition to the current crop of economic/political/public policy works that attempt to explain why we seem to have gotten in the economic mess that everyone seems to agree we are in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MWA on July 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The seasoned experience of an expert from the Wall Street Journal staff eloquently defines the economic problems that have led capitalism toward the brink in this magnificent and historically correct book. Keynesian economics did not work, has not worked and will not work. The inevitable inflationary bulge will document George Melloan's sagacious words of warning. Why has this book, published since last October, not received much publicity...don't American's who believe in more big government want to know the historical truth? A must read for past, current, and future focused perspective on America.
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