A clear and cogent assessment of how the nation’s central bank might be reformed.



A study of the role of the increasingly powerful Federal Reserve in fostering economic inequality.

Menand, a law professor and former Treasury official, explores the ballooning influence of the nation’s central bank. In tracing the consequences of this expansion of authority, he focuses on the institution’s response to two watershed events: the 2008 financial meltdown and the Covid-19 pandemic. As the author explains, the Fed’s ability to address these challenges was complicated by the deregulation of the banking industry over the last several decades and the rise of alternative forms of currency, and it responded by intervening in the economy in ways that deviate strikingly from its original mandate. The Fed now “fight[s] persistent economic and financial crises by using its balance sheet like an emergency government credit bureau or national investment authority—creating new money to backstop financial firms, expand financial markets, and invest in businesses and municipalities.” Menand makes a persuasive case that the Fed’s escalating interventions, which lack political oversight and are heavily influenced by wealthy stakeholders, have a direct and significant bearing on how the nation’s democracy functions. Current stimulus efforts—including so-called QE Infinity, the theoretically endless acquisition of assets—clearly benefit those who hold sizable financial assets, further polarizing the nation’s economic inequality. Menand’s recommendations point to a larger role for Congress in guiding the Fed along with the creation of so-called “automatic stabilizers,” which would take effect without special congressional directives. Another proposal is stricter supervision of “unregulated private money,” including cryptocurrencies, which pose a grave risk, Menand rightly points out, to the government’s ability to control the economy. He argues persuasively that major restructuring of the Fed would alter the “balance of power between the financial sector and the government so that our system is efficient, equitable, and inclusive.”

A clear and cogent assessment of how the nation’s central bank might be reformed.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73591-370-4

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.


A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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