Multimillionaire Forbes (Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy—and What We Can Do About It, 2014, etc.) turns in a mix of the old and new, the sensible and the puzzling in this three-pronged assault on things as they are.
To revive an America that deserves to rule the world but has somehow (thanks, Obama) gotten off track, the author touts his “Big Three Reforms”: Obamacare has to be scrapped, the tax code has to be rewritten, and the Federal Reserve has to be reined in. All three are, of course, anti–big government, though Forbes brings more specifics to the table than Donald Trump, and he lands some points in so doing: no one can contest, for example, that health care is about the convenience of the insurance corporations and not that of the consumer. Forbes’ putative populism extends to the notion of the flat tax, one that he’s been promoting for more than two decades—and one that would, of course, benefit the rich above all else. Surprise. “Contrary to what some people believe,” he protests, “a Flat Tax [his capitals] is actually progressive.” It is, depending on how you define “progressive,” but getting back to the gold standard, another old bugaboo, is an oddly reactionary turn in an increasingly abstracted economy. Still, just as his eponymous business magazine resists easy classification, often tacking to the liberal side of things, Forbes doesn’t come off as a doctrinaire conservative. There are some usual provocations here, along with some same-old, same-old, especially in his insistence that whatever is wrong with America can be laid on Obama, thanks to whom “people are directing their rage toward immigrants, bankers, the ‘rich,’ ‘idlers’ content to live off government handouts—and even the police.”
That’s quite a mixed bag. But so is this book. Of interest to election watchers to see what’s happening out on the fringes.