Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A NATION OF MOOCHERS by Charles J. Sykes


America's Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing

by Charles J. Sykes

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-54770-7
Publisher: St. Martin's

Curmudgeonly screed that simply echoes rhetoric all too familiar in today's political dialogue.

Even those who wholeheartedly agree with radio talk-show host Sykes (50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-good Education, 2007, etc.) are unlikely to find much food for thought in this warmed-over attack on what he describes as America's “new culture of bailouts and irresponsible grasping, everything from corporations feeding at the trough to the permanent 'victims' of Hurricane Katrina.” While the author directs some of his ire toward CEOs and large corporations, his main target are the largely undeserving lower classes and a welfare state that has replaced the older American culture of self-reliance and increasingly “sustain[s] deadbeats” with “Other People's Money.” Sykes accepts the necessity of the “[n]early half of means-tested welfare payments that go to low-income elderly in nursing homes or the disabled,” but not so the other half, which he claims go to “able-bodied adults and their children.” He targets extended unemployment benefits, foreclosure relief and even school breakfast programs for needy children as unwarranted: “If America's children were actually in the throes of famine or the landscape were littered with victims of deprivation, even an expensive program might be justified.” Many readers on both sides of the partisan political divide, will likely agree with his diatribe against “The Great Bailout of 2008-2009…[in which] taxpayers were essentially required to underwrite a decade of [financial] recklessness,” but it's not exactly news.

A tired argument for Tea Partiers and fans of conservative talk radio.