Progressive talk show host Hartmann (Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became “People”—and How You Can Fight Back, 2010, etc.) argues that the financial crash of 2008 was just a precursor for the larger-scale disruptions to come in 2016.
The author situates his prognosis for the years ahead within a view of the history of the republic in which democracy is pitted against what he calls, borrowing from Franklin Roosevelt, “Economic Royalists.” These Royalists, typified by the billionaire Koch brothers and others, demand unrestricted expansion for free markets and minimal, or no, taxation on their financial returns. Hartmann argues that they are responsible for policies that have produced unprecedented inequality while hollowing out the core of what used to be the United States’ world-leading manufacturing capability. Results have differed, but the policies have been applied repeatedly in America's history, and these economic crashes have produced a political response from the population affected. For Hartmann, two recent decisions by the Supreme Court have been critical: the Citizens United decision, which upheld the personhood of corporations, and Buckley vs. Valeo, in which corporate political advertising expenditures were equated with speech. The author compares the significance of the former to the Dred Scott decision, and he believes that these two decisions, Citizens and Buckley, have made the crash he anticipates irreversible. The author also provides an intriguing account of the Supreme Court's deliberations on the status of corporations under the Constitution to demonstrate how hard-fought this battle has been. The conceptual driver is Hartmann's controversial thesis that U.S. history is an approximate 80-year political cycle occasioned by successor generations repeatedly forgetting what their predecessors previously knew and took for granted.
Ideological and agitational in tone, this will appeal most to liberals.