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PITY THE BILLIONAIRE by Thomas Frank

PITY THE BILLIONAIRE

The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right

By Thomas Frank

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9369-8
Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Why one of the biggest financial disasters in history somehow strengthened the political position of those who were most responsible.

Columnist Frank (The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, 2008, etc.) proposes a few possible explanations. The Obama administration has been too compromised with financial bailouts and has had nothing else substantial to offer, and business sponsors have provided huge amounts of funding and air time. The author doesn't think the principal conservatives are at all concerned with truth, but he ridicules the current administration's insistence on sticking with policies that fail; in this sense he compares Obama to Herbert Hoover. He shows that the slightest shift in approach, like the one Jesse Jones brought to the Hoover-created Reconstruction Finance Corporation, can be crucial in reorganizing financial flows. Frank skewers the Koch Brothers and Fox News for shamelessly promoting the interests of those rescued from their own disasters, while opposing bailouts, and shows how Glenn Beck and others have built their media outreach by perverting themes from the 1930s. He also shows the political pressure groups, such as former Republican House Speaker Richard Armey's Koch-funded Freedom Works train their activists on the “leadership secrets of the Communist Party.” Another theme Frank pursues is the trend of the new right leaning on the old left. Where it is all going, he fears, is toward dismantling the remaining social safety net in submission to the dictates of the “free market.”

An insightful, bitingly humorous book.