From Publishers Weekly
The process of patronage-performing favors and offering lucrative positions or rewards to people who raise money or offer service-has always been a part of government, but not to the extent that it is in American politics today, argue the Tolchins in this fascinating exposé. Once defined by reliable blue-collar jobs and gifts of food to the poor, patronage has moved into the boardroom and grown exponentially in worth and influence. What's particularly troubling in an era of growing deficits and cries for "smaller government" is that responsibilities once undertaken by the state are being outsourced, often without bidding, to private companies with no oversight or qualification beyond their campaign contributions. The Tolchins have studied Washington for years and it shows in a thoughtfully researched exploration of a radically changing game. Though the authors acknowledge the pros and cons of their subject, they are surprisingly nonpartisan and free of judgment; they're not here to condemn, but rather to call for a return to transparency, and readers will likely be fascinated and frightened in equal measure, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.
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What differentiates good patronage from bad patronage? Marty and Sue Tolchin’s book lays it all out for the interested voter. (―Ed Koch, Former New York City mayor)