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The United States of Dysfunction: A Constitutional History of America's Present Crisis Paperback – March 20, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
In the many political conversations I've had since reading this work, I find the central idea creeping into conversation after conversation. For instance, the recent state conventions had a lot of people clamoring to change their respective party platforms. Having read this book, I saw the futility of changing a platform that has little worth as candidates don't actually adhere to it. Mr. Jarvis helps one understand why politicians aren't beholden to the constituents they purport to represent and identifies the ways in which we might effect change.
A must read for anyone who genuinely cares about changing the political process for the better.
An intriguing format which tries to carefully conceal his solution to our current political dysfunction until later in the book, Carl moves through the first one hundred pages by summarizing all the ills that have been caused by the way in which our current procedures magnify the effect of money and centralization on the political landscape rendering the solutions proposed by most other critics ineffective and unworkable. The resulting conclusions will reinforce the impression that many voters hold that our political system is broken.
Rather than divulge the O'henry style conclusion, I simply recommend that you read his extremely well-wriiten and documented analysis and favorably consider that his solution, while not a utopian cure-all, is certainly a doable and represents a potentially effective solution to our current malaise.
Of particular interest to me was his well-analyzed presentation of our current Federal Reserve, which is found in Chapter Twelve. His discussion is both sound and presents factual changes within the context of the political attitudes of each time and place.
His insights provided an understanding of the nightmarish economic world in which we now find ourselves. With each boom and bust cycle - which are increasingly shortening - the Federal Reserve acts to support expansive government spending while at the same time "righting the wrongs", moreover, flagrant errors of business leaders and investment judgment that have not only occurred during each bubble, but have been further supported, if not encouraged, by the Fed's own policy decisions.
We endured the tech bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000's only to see the Fed "orchestrate" a recovery in which a new bubble in real estate was created. All the while, financial institutions joined the party with their a combination of government encouragement and their own loose lending standards and derivative investments, which predictably blew up.
Now, in the less obvious "bubble" that we are experiencing in 2014, one that has been caused, again, by Fed Policy of debt purchasing and another round of loose policies combined with another wave of excessively low interest rates that are being maintained for an extended period of time with the stated intention of "propping up" the economy, corporations, and banking institutions, the Federal Reserve is assuring that we will go through yet another boom and bust period in the coming years.
Given that stock prices, bond prices, and real estate prices have a mathematically inverse relationship to the direction of interest rate moves, which means that when the Fed increases interest rates, which it must now do given the prolonged sub one-percent rates, this new "bubble" (which does not appear to be a bubble, but has more the benign appearance of a return to normal levels of business and economic expansion), must, once again, burst - sending stock price, bond prices, and real estate prices in a negative, that is deflationary, downward direction. The inevitable, and easily predictable result, will be another "Fed orchestrated" contraction.
What is worse, is this third time in less than twenty years, the Fed will be out of bullets. What then?
Because it is likely the Federal Reserve will tighten rates over the next two to three years, and to the extent that it does, once again the country, it's small businesses, real estate home owners and investors, and citizens will once again be subject to loosing asset value and decreasing profits, not due to any action or lack of action on their own part, but purely as a result of the action of the Federal Reserve, over which no person or institution has any direct control.
As this will occur just as some of the baby boomers who are preparing for retirement are hoping they have "enough" to make it through their final years, what happens to a country when we deflate at exactly the moment that retirement is increasing?
Carl Jarvis, in his concluding sections, provides his solution for how to deal with not only the Federal Reserve, but our entire Federal Government and political system. His well-developed arguments deserve the attention of any person who is concerned about the current dysfunctional government and the political problems that occur on a daily basis.
Carl Jarvis acts as a guide for the reader to take his or her own thought-journey through "The United States of Dysfunction."