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Customer Review

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, August 31, 2012
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This review is from: A Nation of Moochers: America's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing (Kindle Edition)
A Nation of Moochers: America's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing by Charles J. Sykes

"A Nation of Moochers" explores the "mooching" culture, its societal implications and what can be done to curtail it. The book includes countless examples of mooching from many walks of life guaranteed to make your blood pressure rise. Thought-provoking, insightful but misses the mark on some key issues but overall a worthwhile read. This interesting 320-page book is broken out in six parts: Part One. Moocher Nation, Part Two. The Joys of Dependency, Part Three. At the Trough, Part Four. Bailout Madness, Part Five. Middle-Class Suckers and Part Six. What's Fair?

Positives:
1. Straightforward prose. The book is accessible to the masses.
2. Thought-provoking book that covers many political/economical issues of interest.
3. Generally fair and even-handed despite espousing libertarian principles. Mooching goes on at all levels.
4. A good format. The author provides many great quotes and mixes things up to keep the narrative interesting. As an example, a moocher checklist.
5. The problem of dependency, agreed. "More programs of dependency generate more reliance on ever more and varied handouts, as the habit of dependency becomes ingrained and increasingly attractive to others".
6. Sykes makes it very clear, we have become a "moocher" society. Government reliance is at an all-time high. Many compelling examples and many that will make your blood pressure go up. Infuriating at times.
7. Many great facts and tidbits throughout the book. " By tax day in 2010, nearly half of U.S. households paid no federal income taxes. After years of cuts, credits, and outright rebates, 47 percent of households had no net liability at all". Troubling.
8. The problems associated with a culture of mooching. Well argued.
9. One of the main arguments of this book and I wholeheartedly agree, "The whole point of the rule of law, argued Bastiat, was to make sure that plunder was not more rewarding than labor, and therefore its goal should always be to protect property and punish plunder." The assumption of incompetence.
10. The history of moocher nation, when it was born.
11. The problems of poverty. Good stuff.
12. Examples of government waste and fraud. Disturbing and upsetting.
13. Examples of Corporate Welfare even tax credits to moviemakers, say what? Farm subsidies...
14. Crony capitalism. The new Lobbying Class.
15. An interesting look at union abuses. Bloated pensions. Scandals.
16. The mortgage madness. Many books have been written on this topic alone.
17. The inside scoop on the Great Bailout of 2008-2009 and shame on Goldman Sachs.
18. Middle-class examples. Mooching on parents, parents mooching off children and many disturbing examples that clearly show the system is failing.
19. The debt problem.
20. Compassionate Society defined
21. Links worked great!

Negatives:
1. Not once does the author mentions the unconstitutional faith-based initiatives, or as I call it, the ultimate dependency...the dependency on a celestial Santa. Ayn Rand would have agreed with me.
2. The book fails to mention or discuss the ever increasing inequality problem in America. The top 1% owns 40% of all the wealth. I'm not talking about an issue of redistribution, I'm talking about an issue where the superrich have rigged the government to their favor and at the expense of the rest and it's only getting worse.
3. I would put the brunt of the blame for the mortgage crisis squarely on the predatory practices of the banking industry and the lack of government oversight. "As Richard Posner and others have noted, it is one thing to ease the burden of dysfunctional overregulation; it is quite another to use it as a cover for Wall Street to invent bogus new securities that were so lacking in transparency and so fragilely connected to reality that they bordered on the fraudulent."
4. The author doesn't discuss the crass abuses of CEOs, the golden parachutes. As an example, Lehman Brothers was not saved by the government yet the CEO left with a golden parachute worth hundreds of millions of dollars for a failed company!
5. I do have an issue with the book relying many times with the very same organizations that deny scientific consensus. As an example, the Heritage Foundation does not accept global warming and in fact has purposely misinformed the public to benefit oil companies.
6. The book in my view overemphasized "poor" moochers over the even more damaging "economically elite" moochers who have rigged the system to their advantage.
7. Charts would have added value.

In summary, reservations noted I enjoyed the book. I may disagree even strongly on some issues but in general Sykes provides many great examples and backs it up with some sound thought-provoking arguments. I think the general premise is sound though I disagree with some of the principles. Worth the read and keep an open mind. I recommend it!

Further suggestions: "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed" by John Stossel, "Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget" by David Wessel, "White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You" by Simon Johnson, "The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take" by Bruce Bartlett, "Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present (Vintage)" by Jeff Madrick, "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future" by Joseph E. Stiglitz, "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future" by Robert B. Reich, "The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis" by Michael W. Hudson and "The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It" by Les Leopold.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 13, 2013 7:19:28 PM PST
KezJT says:
Seems like an even-handed review, thank you.
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