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How to Ruin the United States of America Hardcover – June 30, 2008
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About the Author
Ben Stein can be seen talking about finance on Fox TV news every week. He has written about finance for Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal for decades and contributes regularly to the AARP’s Modern Maturity (now AARP: The Magazine). He was one of the chief busters of the junk bond frauds of the 1980s, has been a long-time critic of corporate executives’ self-dealing, and has written several self-help books about personal finance.
Phil DeMuth is an investment psychologist with a longstanding interest in the stock market. He has written for The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, as well as Human Behavior and Psychology Today. His opinions have been quoted on theStreet.com and Fortune Magazine and is president of Conservative Wealth Management in Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
I especially liked his sections on "Voodoo Economics" and immigration. Stein believes our government is engaged in economic malpractice by running large deficits during times of prosperity, pushing the Kool-Aid of supply-side economics that says cutting taxes gives us something for nothing, and persecuting the oil industry - vital to our survival.
Stein reports that the discounted present value of unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security total $88.2 trillion as of 2007 - about $290,000 per citizen, and 6X our annual GDP. He also asserts that the 2006 drug benefit costs are even larger, though I'm not certain I'm on board with that conclusion.
Milton Friedman attributed about 60% of the increase in health care costs to U.S. involvement in Medicare and Medicaid; the proportion of government spending on health care has risen from 1/8 in 1919 to about one-half in 1997.
Turning to our ballooning federal deficits, Stein attributes them largely to Arthur Laffer's theory - introduced without benefit of validity during Reagan's terms. Supposedly, people would work harder if they were taxed less, resulting in an overall increase in collected taxes. Reality, however, is that the number of hours worked/week has barely moved since Bush's tax cuts, and are considerably less than 1959 when the top bracket was nearly 80%. Further, overall labor-forced participation has hardly changed since Bush's cuts.Read more ›
The book has six short chapters. Ben Stein's other "How to Ruin" books have many more chapters that range from a paragraph or two to a page or two, but these chapters are 20 to 30 pages each. The authors provide a mix of history, stories, and personal analysis of each topic.
The first chapter shows how banishing God from Public Life is against our long held traditions and how this modern innovation has turned the Founders' intentions on their head. It has not been a matter of progress, but a process of corruption. Our society has become not only coarser and crueler, it has taken on practices as normal that have been seen by humanity as abominations for thousands of years.
The second chapter shows how the mis-education of our youth serves one political agenda and it is not the one that reveres our founding and the original intent of our Declaration and Constitution. When the authors show you the way certain views have turned every subject into a nail for its monomaniacal hammer I hope you get energized to get involved and help America reject the rot of the past several decades.
Chapter three shows us the debasement of American culture.Read more ›
Stein and DeMuth outline the basic values on which our country was built: a belief in God, a belief in ethical behavior, a belief in freedom, and a willingness to fight to defend our way of life. The authors point out how a liberal media and a liberal academe have helped create a moralless community of lazy complainers in our country. If you're the sort who snickers at phrases like "My country right or wrong" you would not enjoy this book.
The authors offer great insight about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the threats from Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. They point out the ill effects of an open-borders immigration policy. They assert that a crisis looms because of the unfunded demands of Social Security and Medicare combined with a cut-taxes-but-spend-anyway government, all riding on a stupendous national debt.
It's a great little book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have read others of him. Recommend him as a good read. It arrived in very good time, and well packaged and in very good condition. Thank youPublished on December 25, 2012 by Donna Corbino
Ben Stein is intelligent. Ben Stein is insightful. Ben Stein is sincerely concerned about the America he loves. Ben Stein can be funny. Ben Stein certainly has a dead-pan delivery. Read morePublished on February 23, 2010 by Dr.Charles Dusenbury
The authors discuss six areas in which the policies and attitudes of the last few decades have served to weaken the United States. The book is well researched and easy to read. Read morePublished on January 10, 2010 by L. Swanson
Great book, very interesting to read and I learned from it. This book will teach you about the things that are currently destroying our nation, and hopefully can be stopped before... Read morePublished on December 9, 2009 by Mark Twain
Ben Stein really hits reality with this book. He's one of the few who really understand what's going on with our country as we are flushing away everything our forefathers fought... Read morePublished on August 25, 2009 by Elizabeth A. Doak
I love Ben Stein, but this book is better than taking a full bottle of Ambien.Published on August 12, 2009 by ERKaibel
I bought this hoping for a fourth "How to Ruin Your Life" book, but Ben Stein has apparently gotten old and lost is edge. The first chapter is a diatribe on religion. Read morePublished on December 16, 2008 by Aaron Soule
Mr. Stein and Mr. DeMuth have a great book here. You can really connect with what they have to say. This book is simple yet straight to the point.Published on October 23, 2008 by K. Williams
This book seems unable to finish an argument at any point. For example it spends 5 pages convincing us how many liberals there are in higher education, but forgets to explain why... Read morePublished on October 17, 2008 by Joseph Spengler