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The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era Hardcover – August 14, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the year’s deepest books” —Politico

“A must-read book” —PoliticalWire.com

“There’s plenty here for everyone to get aflutter about all over again in this riveting account of President Obama's stimulus bill. Grunwald, a Time magazine senior correspondent, provides captivating background history on the stimulus and how it may prove to be a far greater deal than the one FDR famously launched.” —Chicago Tribune

"The New New Deal is the most interesting book that has been published about the Obama administration. Even Republicans should read it." (The Economist)

“Mammoth in scope. . . . Throughout, Grunwald keeps his tone snappy and readable, while consistently grounding the political story of the Recovery Act in its real impact on everyday Americans. The result is an impressive book about the startling gap between facts and media spin.” —Publishers Weekly

“A cogent reality check of President Obama’s Recovery Act. . . . A pointed, in-the-trenches study whose thrust will be borne out with time.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Michael Grunwald is one of our generation's most original and tireless journalists—a reporter who is allergic to received wisdom, a writer with an uncommon talent for illuminating hidden truths. So it is a delight, but not a surprise, that The New New Deal demolishes clichés and vividly reframes our thinking about President Obama and his stimulus package through a gripping narrative. Even if everyone doesn't agree with Grunwald's provocative conclusions, every serious reader will see in Grunwald’s book a vindication of serious journalism, at a time when we need it.”
John Harris, Politico

About the Author

Michael Grunwald is a Time senior correspondent. He has won the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for investigative reporting, and many other prizes. The Washington Post called his first book, The Swamp, “a brilliant work of research and reportage,” and The New York Times called him “a terrific writer.” He lives in Florida.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451642326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451642322
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

231 of 253 people found the following review helpful By The Ginger Man VINE VOICE on August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The political parties disagree about whether the Recovery Act of 2009 has succeeded. This is based on deeper philosophical differences as to the preferred role of government in the economy as well as the historical effectiveness of FDR's New Deal in moderating the effects of the Great Depression. Author Mike Grunwald suggests that while reasonable people continue to debate the Recovery Act, they ought first "to hear the real story of what was in it, how it got there and how it got translated into action." To achieve this, Grunwald conducted interviews with more than 400 sources and utilized government documents as well as contemporary reporting.

In 3 sections, Grunwald covers the developing economic crisis, the passage of the bill over Republican opposition and the Recovery Act in action. He reminds us that as Obama entered office, credit was frozen, consumer confidence was at its lowest ever recorded level and the economy was shrinking at a rate of 8.9%. Within 30 days, the new administration passed an 1073 page, $787 billion dollar economy stimulus bill. Grunwald tells us that the Act was the biggest and most transformative energy bill in US history, the biggest foray into industrial policy since FDR and contained the largest middle class tax reduction since Reagan. The bill also delivered the largest infusion of research money ever, was the first modern spending bill without earmarks and required of itself unprecedented transparency and oversight. While the Administration was trying to address the needs of an economy in desperate straits, it also designed the bill to deliver on 3 of the key promises of Candidate Obama: reducing oil dependency, improving health care and upgrading education.
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111 of 131 people found the following review helpful By William Springer on August 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I know that economists generally consider the stimulus to have been a success, and that it's considered one of the most transparent government programs ever, I've never been particularly familiar with the details outside of the HITECH Act. As such, I was looking forward to getting started on this book.

Reading the introduction made me excited about seeing what will be accomplished from the reinvestment part of the Act. It's the first time I heard about the ARPA-E agency, Obama's mini-Manhatten Project, designed to invest in high-risk, high-reward energy research. And while the size of the Act - half what economists said at the time was required, with much of it devoted to tax cuts - was a disappointment, the sheer reach is mind-boggling: investments in transportation infrastructure, investments in research, investments in healthcare, investments in energy. Reading this chapter left me wanting more, wanting to know the details behind each of these ambitious programs.

Chapter one takes a step back and looks at what Obama wanted to accomplish with the bill, what his priorities were and the values that the stimulus represented. Then in chapter two, we get what the author calls the four pillars of the stimulus. Energy: how can we reduce our energy use and our carbon footprint without reducing our standard of living? Health care: how can we prevent the explosion in health costs that were on track to take up a full third of the economy by 2040, and improve the quality of care? Education: could we reach the goals that No Child Left Behind set out, but dismally failed to reach?
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Format: Hardcover
*****
"The New Deal's vast legacies are still with us, and so, too, are the questions it provoked. 'Was it a success or failure? The plot of a dictator? A paragon of progressive government or a harbinger of oppressive federal interference in American life?' Hiltzik asks." -- Richard Rayner, LA Times
*

In an absorbing account based on interviews with hundreds of sources on both sides of the debate, and newly revealed documents, Michael Grunwald, an award-winning reporter explores the least understood story behind President Obama's bill, comparing it with FDR's New Deal. The $800 billion, most controversial bill, is one of the most polarizing and least analyzed pieces of legislation in recent American history. Grunwald articulates a compelling study, based on serious investigative reporting, which shows how the 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Act', aka the stimulus, helped prevent a disastrous depression.

Officially, the $800 billion stimulus act was the largest economic recovery program in history. Adjusted for inflation, it is nearly five times the Works Progress Administration, and was bigger than the Marshall Plan. Economists and nonpartisan forecasting firms estimate that the stimulus created and saved more than 2 million jobs, short of the catastrophic job loss in 2008/9. It generated an unprecedented buzz around clean energy. Experts estimated the 'Stimulus' to amount to 3-4 times the one approved, extending on 2-3 five year plans, including the long neglected infra structure and utilities.

As ambitious and far-reaching as FDR's New Deal, the Stimulus is positively regarded by top economists as a down payment on the nation's economic recovery and environmental future.
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