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The Big Con: The True Story of How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics Hardcover – September 12, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The author, a senior editor at the New Republic, is best known for declaring I hate President George W. Bush in 2003. This book traces the roots of his dislike back 30 years, when supply-side economics took over the Republican Party and made cutting taxes the GOP answer to all political and economic questions. American politics has been hijacked by a tiny coterie of right-wing economic extremists, Chait declares, some of them ideological zealots, others merely greedy, a few of them possibly insane. To which he adds, the Republicans' success at defeating the democratic process explains why it has been able to enact its agenda despite a lack of popular support. The rhetoric is inflammatory, but the case is laid out with clarity. Chait claims that traditional Republicans, religious people and social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatives have been cheated as much as liberals, and that unparalleled corruption and ruthless cynicism in Washington and the timidity of nonpartisan media allow the minority to rule. His analysis should appeal to anyone interested in politics, though many may find the style too irritating to endure. (Sept. 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Jonathan Chait has nailed a large and important story about . . . the bamboozling of America . . . he writes with a mordant wit." --Sean Wilentz
"Jonathan Chait has written a classic of political journalism . . . Prepare to be shocked." --Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, Moneyball, and The Blindside
"Who says economic policy has to be dry? [Chait] brings a lively wit and a limpid style to the topic." --Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor, National Review, and author of The Party of Death
"Agree or not with the author's liberal beliefs, consider this a stimulating analysis of how public policy is formulated today." Kirkus Reviews
"His analysis should appeal to anyone interested in politics" Publishers Weekly
"[If] you're only going to read one book [about what's wrong with the modern Republican Party], this is the one." --Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly
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Top Customer Reviews
For my money the best section of the book is the one that explains how the "lower the taxes on the rich" idea infected the think tanks of the far right and then spread throughout the Republican party. All in all this book provides an excellent starting place for any citizen who wants to understand the current Washington gridlock.
Things DID used to be different, and from my point of view, things DID used to be better (more respectful, more concerned with actually solving problems instead of always pointing fingers and nitpicking over every issue that can be blown up out of proportion).
I've been getting more and more disgusted with the Rethuglicans as they continue to sound more and more like whiny kindergartners - no, that's unfair to actual kindergartners: they at least still share their toys and are taught to play nice. Chait confirms what I had observed, and - depressingly - explains why it is NOT likely to change.
The bottom line is that the right wing whackos have found a formula to keep themselves in power..and when the electorate finally gets fed up with them and votes in the Democrats - who at least still care enough to at least TRY to solve our nation's problems - the whackos use the sam e formula to block every effort the Dems make, in an attempt to prevent them from being successful..thus leading to convincing the American public to give the whackos another shot.
It's a see-saw situation that is stunningly successful at blocking any actual change, or problem solving. But the whackos are not, in fact, actually interested in really solving problems: they're out to stack the deck as much in their favor as possible while in power, then fight like h*ll to preserve those gains when they are out of power - and the rest of the country be d*mned.
Read it - it's a good read - but expect to have your blood boil at least a few times, no matter how informed you are. Then try to do whatever you can to spread the word and help stop this destructive juggernaut that the Republicans have put the country on...if you care about your country at all.
If you want to understand what it is going on in this country in terms of current political and economic debates, I mean really understand, and not be bamboozled by all the bull, this is a "Must Read."
Chait tells a story that needs telling ... and more importantly, needs being heard.
What literally has happened over the past 30 years is that what had been a fringe, almost crackpot economic theory on the far right has so dominated public debate that it now is accepted as gospel by one of our leading political parties (and is rarely attacked by the other, lest they be accused of "class warfare").
The ironic thing is that these far-right ideologues' policies ultimately aren't just bad for American government and for America's middle-class and working class. Ultimately they are bad for the overall economy. Want an historic example? Look at the Great Depression -- the end result of years of the industrial barons and Wall Street having it their way with no government regulation. It took Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was hated by those groups, to SAVE them (and us) from themselves.