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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for saving America from fiscal ruin while strengthening self-governance
Scott Rasmussen's "The People's Money; How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt," is full of optimism for the future of America.

Rasmussen, one of America's most accurate pollsters, places great faith in the American voter to do the right thing when equipped with the facts.

The surprising aspect of this book is that it...
Published on February 6, 2012 by Chuck DeVore

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Startling Yet Full of Aspiration
Part One outlines Rasmussen's premise that members of Congress are unwilling to make the tough budget choices that voters are ready to accept and that this trend of Congressional action lagging behind public opinion has repeated itself throughout American history. Rasmussen also maligns the "Political Class" which distrusts voters because of their perceived ignorance and...
Published on April 9, 2012 by Samuel J. Sharp


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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for saving America from fiscal ruin while strengthening self-governance, February 6, 2012
By 
Chuck DeVore "Chuck DeVore" (Dripping Springs, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
Scott Rasmussen's "The People's Money; How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt," is full of optimism for the future of America.

Rasmussen, one of America's most accurate pollsters, places great faith in the American voter to do the right thing when equipped with the facts.

The surprising aspect of this book is that it proffers common sense budgetary solutions to end deficit spending and begin to pay down the national debt - including the some $100 trillion in unfunded Medicare and Social Security liabilities.

Unsurprisingly, in an offering from a pollster, the book is chock full of interesting data.

73% of voters trust the American people more than political leaders.

62% of voters understand the gimmicks used by Washington to disguise spending cuts as cuts in the rate of growth rather than actual cuts in spending.

28% of voters believe that the government running of the economy is more important than protecting individual rights.

When voters are told that returning to the gold standard would reduce the power of central bankers and politicians to steer the economy, support for it rises from 24% to 57% with only 19% opposed.

7 in 10 Americans believe that Big Government and Big Business work together against the rest of us.

64% think the U.S. is overtaxed.

3 of 4 voters believe "average" Americans should pay no more than 20%.

Most think that tax cuts are good for the economy, only about ¼ think otherwise.

68% prefer fewer services and lower taxes; 22% the opposite.

64% think it's better to have lower tax rates and fewer deductions, 16%, the opposite.

63% of Americans believe that most of the people defined as "poor" by the government aren't really poor as they have adequate levels of food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Further, the average American living in officially defined poverty enjoys more living space than an average European family.

There are 69 federal means-tested welfare programs spending $940 billion in 2011.

71% of people believe that people are receiving benefits who should not be eligible.

The AIG bailout in 2008 was opposed by 77% to 9% with 59% thinking that letting the firm fail would be better for the economy.

Even three years after the bank bailouts, 61% thought it was a bad idea and 24% supported it.

Only 35% of Americans believe that capitalism is the same as the free market (seeing capitalism as crony capitalism).

75% of the public want the Federal Reserve audited.

By a 68% to 18% margin, people believe that $1 billion invested by companies to grow their own business will create more jobs than a billion dollars invested by government on new highways.

When the FDA said Cheerios should be regulated like a drug, 87% of people disagreed, 4% agreed. As for government regulation of cereal in general, 69% disagreed there should be more, 13% want more regulation.

Anyone concerned about the future of the American republic should read this book.

Reviewer: Chuck DeVore is Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He served in the California State Assemblyman from 2004 to 2010. Before his election, he was an executive in the aerospace industry. He was a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Department of Defense from 1986 to 1988. He is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve. DeVore is the author of "The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America," the co-author of "China Attacks," and author of the novel "Twilight of the Rising Sun."
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Startling Yet Full of Aspiration, April 9, 2012
This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
Part One outlines Rasmussen's premise that members of Congress are unwilling to make the tough budget choices that voters are ready to accept and that this trend of Congressional action lagging behind public opinion has repeated itself throughout American history. Rasmussen also maligns the "Political Class" which distrusts voters because of their perceived ignorance and therefore reject the will of the people. All of this is important because many of Rasmussen's budgetary solutions involve moving decision making from politicians and bureaucrats to the voters themselves via referendums on social security/medicare changes or altering those programs to provide for revised tax rates based on individually selected retirement ages. Rasmussen also discusses the enormous scope of the deficit and how official reporting standards hide the true magnitude of the problem. More detailed numbers though are provided in chapter 11 where Rasmussen compares existing policy to the policy preferences of voters as revealed by Rasmussen polling.

Part Two discusses in detail how voters would address national security spending, entitlement spending, tax reform, and various welfare programs. Rasmussen takes the voters' preferences and designs policy solutions to enact them. Many of these solutions are simple and novel, but others, like the national referendums to approve changes to social security might strike readers as impractical. Readers who have read Brian Caplan's "Myth of the Rational Voter" might be terrified by the idea of national referenda on these topics but Rasmussen emphasizes that he has much more confidence in voters than in politicians and others in the Political Class.

Part Three addresses spending on corporate welfare (a very long chapter), infrastructure, education, and federal government personnel. In short, spending in all these categories must decrease in order to align spending with voter preferences but there is still room for nuanced policy proposals. For example voters are more likely to support infrastructure spending if it is predominantly funded and thus limited by revenues from gasoline taxes. In this way the parties benefiting from the spending are the one's paying for it. As mentioned above, Chapter 11 concludes the book with a comparison of The People's Money to existing policy. If all the proposals discussed in the book are adopted, Rasmussen claims that the federal deficit will be eliminated by 2018 when government spending is down to 16.8% of GDP. These are drastically different outcomes from the status quo and constitute an ideal that currently seems very far from reach.

I think this a thought provoking and bold book but I do have a few criticisms. First, the book lacks a few significant features of nearly all serious non-fiction books: an index and meaningful footnotes. The chapters are organized well enough that a reader knows vaguely where to look for certain information, but omitting an index is strange. Also, many of the footnotes are to Rasmussen Reports which are available online, but only if you are a subscriber. This creates a major fact-checking obstacle since the footnotes only list the report title and the date, but give no information as to the complete data in the report or the question asked to generate the data. For example, page 45, note 19 states "Americans Reject Keynesian Economics" but without any additional information, that is a somewhat hollow claim. There are several of these footnotes where the reader will wish he had more information so as to better assess Rasmussen's arguments. The tone is a bit snide at times and Rasmussen has a bad tendency to dismiss critics with pithy remarks followed by exclamation points. This method of response keeps the book at a reasonable length but potential counterarguments go largely ignored. Overall, this book will not be the final authority on solving our budget problem, but it will spark curiosity that will lead readers to other books on the subject.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Information Presented in a Compelling Way, February 15, 2012
This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
Rasmussen's latest work is his best. While politicians tell us that the American public won't accept the "hard things" that must be done to put the nation back on sound footing, Rasmussen's numbers tell us something different. In the book he lays out a step by step plan for working on the nation's immediate problems, in each case demonstrating that there is already the public support necessary. Rasmussen proves conclusively, by the numbers, that the politicians who tell us it can't be done are simply misleading us in order to maintain the status quo they love.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Restoring fiscal sanity and Constitutional governance!, February 19, 2012
This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
This is a good book to initiate us as concerned citizens to the nuts and bolts of the process of getting the government budget balanced and the federal debt eliminated. The Peoples' Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt by Scott Rasmussen, a well-known, respected pollster and regular commentator in the speaking circuit, has written about the pitiful state of American finances and proposes a blueprint about how we can correct the problems and restore fiscal sanity.

He postulates that the American people are willing to make the necessary compromises, reduce government spending, eliminate the federal deficit, etc. --only that the politicians lie to us blaming Americans for not supporting the cuts in government spending that are necessary. I wish it was really that simple!

Mr. Rasmussen's fiscal information, statistics and dire warnings, are on target, but his prescription for curing the illness, and his rationale and methods for solving the economic ills of the nation are dangerous. One cannot run a government by the whim of the public opinion polls of the moment, or ignore the constitution because of fickle, momentary public opinion trends.

The American voters today are a shifty electorate, subject to the passions and whims of the moment, and media indoctrination including the way pollsters themselves frame questions are leading voters down the path of feel-good socialism.

The truth, as SAT scores, academic studies and even public opinion pollsters in the streets show, the average American is not as well-informed and civic-minded, as he once was!

We need a limited government shackled by the chains of the constitution, as prescribed by Thomas Jefferson, whom he quotes in a different context. And that needs to be done, along with restoration of strict constitutional governance, but we do not need to rule by momentary, shifty and trendy public opinion polls!

Despite the polling booth and changes in administrations, we are moving relentless toward reckless government spending and insolvency, as Mr. Rasmussen enunciates, but we are also marching perilously down the path of socialism in America.

What Mr. Rasmussen also refrains to tell us in his book is that there is a serious disconnect between those who are footing the bills for most of the federal (and state) spending and those who are not. Moreover, those who are not contributing are an increasing number of voters, who do not care about balancing the budget or the federal deficit, but do have a personal stake in making sure the government continues to supply the benefits and services paid for by the others. He does not even use the word "socialism," and "wealth redistribution" is used only once in a neutral context.

Consider the fact that according to 2009 IRS figures -- 10% of upper earners are paying 70% of all federal income taxes, and 40% are paying 90% of all federal taxes; 51% of Americans are paying no federal income taxes and yet they vote! Moreover, recent polls also show that 50% of Americans see nothing wrong with the use of taxation and government spending in achieving wealth redistribution.

This wealth redistribution percolates through all federal programs, such as Medicare and a myriad of alphabet soup agencies, entitlements, and benefits paid by the 40% pulling the cart to the other 60% riding it.

So the fiscal problems today are of monumental proportions because those urgings for more social spending are often those not paying the bills. And no matter how much is spent, those same citizens clamor for more. To make matters worse, the media, which have been shown to clearly possess a penchant for liberal bias by such authorities as William Rusher in the 1980s (1) and Bernard Goldberg (2, 3) in the last few years, does not look the other way when the politicians do try to curb government spending. Who has not heard the clamors- e.g.,the politicians are going to "cut the school lunches of the children," or that the politicians plan to "cut Medicare benefits for the elderly"; well, you get my drift.

The truth is the politicians fear the liberal media, and they are very sensitive to public opinion as molded or presented by the media "progressives," whether based on perception or reality.

And therein lie the problem: Voters who are increasingly spending other people's money via the power of government and who are supported by the media, a media who believe they are correcting social or economic inequalities. Until this problem of egalitarianism and "fairness" is corrected, no economic blueprint will solve the fiscal irresponsibility dilemma in which we are mired.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy...always followed by a dictatorship."
---Sir Alex Fraser Tytler, University of Edinburgh (1714-1778)

References

1) The Coming Battle for the Media, Curbing the Power of the Media Elite (1988) by William A. Rusher The Coming Battle for the Media: Curbing the Power of the Media Elite

'2) Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (2001) by Bernard Goldberg
Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News

'3) Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite (2003) by Bernard Goldberg'
Arrogance: Rescuing America From The Media Elite

Dr. Miguel A. Faria is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine- Historic Perspectives over the Battle for Health Care Reform (1994), a work still relevant in the coming battle over the Constitutionality of ObamaCare. '
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For All American Taxpayers, October 17, 2012
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This book explains the pathetic workings of our Congress and Executive branches of government and shows how we are being duped, lied to and cheated by our government. If you thought you knew how big the deficit was and how hard or easy it will be to fix, read this book and then vote them all out so we can right the ship of state and clean up the mess they have created. If we don't do it then our children and grandchildren will have to do it. It has taken us 50 years of Federal shenanigans to get to this point and it can't be corrected overnight but this book explains how to do it. Great read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, April 12, 2014
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This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
I think the author is all wrong as the national debt has doubled in the last 6 years and the people have done nothing about it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful Look at Federal Finances, October 11, 2013
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This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
If you are like many sensible and sane Americans these days, you have watched in horror and amazement as our federal government has lurched almost totally out of control financially. There seems to be no adult supervision in Washington. If those sentiments seem familiar, then Rasmussen has written a book that will enlighten and encourage you. He confronts head-on the notion that voters only support spending cuts in the abstract, but when you propose that specific programs be cut, it is a different story. Rasmussen views that as a cop-out on the part of the Washington elites, who are masters at evading responsibility for the decisions they make. In fact, Rasmussen identifies about 10 or 12 that are not only sensible, common sense reforms, but which he is confident that the public would support. His background as a well-respected pollster comes in quite handy in this regard.

Rasmussen also correctly identifies the primary obstacle in getting many of these reforms passed – “the political ruling class”, as he refers to them. Rasmussen has probably done more in-depth analysis of the ever widening gap between the public and their elected representatives than anyone in America today. His view is that that gap is wider today than at any time since the colonialists rebelled against King George of England. Fortunately, that gap is coming under increasing scrutiny from some perceptive book authors and there is quite a bit of incisive (and deeply disturbing) information out there. I have personally read So Damn Much Money (Robert Kaiser), Throw Them All Out (Peter Schweizer), Capital Punishment (Jack Abramoff), Republic, Lost by Lawrence Lessig and This Town (Mark Leibovich). Of course, this gets scant attention by the “mainstream media” because they are part of the inner circle. This group, consisting of members of congress (both houses/both parties), their staffs, influence peddlers (also known as lobbyists), the national political media and the big money special interests. Rasmussen refers to that group as “the political ruling class”, Leibovich calls then “the club” and I refer to them as the 1/10 of 1% who have hi-jacked our representative form of democracy from the other 99.9% of us.

The book is well organized and clearly written. It would be easy for a book like this to get the readers “lost in the weeds”, but Rasmussen is a gifted writer, among other things. He moves through a whole array of areas that are past due for reform and proposes thoughtful and effective reforms which would save billions – Social Security and Medicare, healthcare, defense, etc. There is just enough data in the form of tables and charts to give the reader a proper sense of scale and perspective, but not so much to put you to sleep. Then he pulls all of his recommendations together at the end of the book and shows how much money they would save the federal budget in the aggregate. The net result is that we could have the federal budget in balance in ten years and the enormous unfunded liabilities of SS & Medicare could be dramatically reduced to the point that we would be on a glide path toward eliminating them within a short period after ten years. If you had told me before I read the book that such an achievement was possible without draconian cuts that would never be supported politically (and without fundamental tax reform), I would have thought you crazy.

The one area of the book that I found deficient was Chapter six – What the Voters Would Do About Taxes. Rasmussen suggested reforms to the payroll taxes for SS & Medicare in other chapters which are big parts of his overall strategy to reform those two vital social safety net programs. However, he seems to think that maintaining the income tax system in its current form is pretty much inevitable. He cites a New York Times article which stated that “economists across the political spectrum say a consumption tax may be inevitable” but says that only 22% of the public supports that idea. I would be willing to bet that support would be MUCH higher if voters understood that there is a proposal which would

(a) Replace the entire income tax system, both corporate and individual as well as capital gains and estate and gift taxes, and
(b) It would enormously stimulate the economy and create millions of good paying jobs

Much of the opposition that Mr. Rasmussen has found is related to the notion of layering an additional consumption tax on top of the current broadly unpopular income tax system. In addition, if the voters understood that there is no bill in congress which would stimulate the economy on the scale that the FairTax (HR 25/S 122) would, those poll numbers would be completely different.

It isn’t clear to me what economic growth assumptions are incorporated into Mr. Rasmussen’s forecasts. Since he did not specify, I assume that he used a static analysis – in essence 0% growth. However, if you were to combine his significant decreases in the rate of spending growth with the FairTax (which would lead to double digit GDP growth during the first few years after implementation), the results would be truly amazing. The reasons that the FairTax would create dramatic economic stimulus are beyond the scope of a book review on Rasmussen’s book. Suffice it to say that The United States of American has quite probably the worst tax system on the planet from the standpoint of global competitiveness at a point in history when global competition is increasing with each passing year and many students of world trends have referred to the 21st century as the globalization century. When we refer to ours as the planet’s worst from a global competitiveness standpoint, we are referring to the structure of the tax system, not the overall tax burden.

Rasmussen’s book is an important one that should be read by every thinking American.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pollster fixing government, August 25, 2013
Though Rasmussen is right on many counts of debt, taxation and corruption, there is a huge misrepresentation that the electorate gets to vote on government policy. Among other euphemisms, "voter" is used in place of pollster. It's naive to think that government carries out the will of the people.

He effectively points points out that politicians are pulling the wool over voters eyes. Political polemics are deceptive but successful. Among other effects, Fenno's paradox is alive and well. Populist rule is the worst possible solution. Rasmussen's polling results of five years ago are probably no longer valid, although he's probably right that popular opinion is ahead of government. Demographics is greatly in favor of voters who think they are getting something free. They will continue to prevail in elections for the foreseeable solution

The book ends with a fanciful analysis of the financial benefits of the Rasmussen program. At best some small parts of it might be implemented. The total effect does not signify.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a ton of sense, June 12, 2013
By 
Butch Mazzuca (Edwards, CO, US) - See all my reviews
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I would recommend this book to anyone. Scott Rasmussen is objective, interesting and easy to read in general, but this book is a particular good read because in it, Rasmussen deals honestly with the several important political issues of our time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars IT REALLY IS THE PEOPLE'S MONEY, April 7, 2013
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This review is from: The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt (Hardcover)
Scott Rasmussen has an art of making difficult subjects simple and understandable. I found this book well written and I would reccomend to everyone. The book gives you a feel of how our taxes are being wasted. L
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The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt
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