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Pity The Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle And The Unlikely Comeback Of The Right (2012)

by Thomas Frank(Favorite Author)
3.74 of 5 Votes: 3
0805093699 (ISBN13: 9780805093698)
Metropolitan Books
review 1: Sarcastico fin dal titolo ma chiaramente motivato a sferzare Obama e i suoi più che a sfottere il Tea Party, è lo sconsolato diario di un pragmatico osservatore della realtà davanti alle esplicite e forse consapevoli distorsioni della realtà perpetrate dalla nuova destra USA all'indomani dell'esplosione della crisi finanziaria. E c'è poco da ridere, infatti, se si lascia campo aperto ai populisti.
review 2: An account of the rise of the Tea Party, and the strange emergence of populist demands for further neoliberal free market policies in the USA; the title is a reference to the Tea Party and Republican Party's recent trend to portray the rich as victims of Big Government and the supposed "Socialist" policies which Barack Obama is accused of pursuing. Fran
... morek puts the Tea Party in the context of left-wing populist movements of the past, such as the New Left of the 1960s and, more specifically, the rise of FDR and the organised labour (or should I say "organized labor") movement of the 1930s, and tries to explain why this time, the populist cry has been for less government and less regulation of the economy, rather than the other way round. Frank points out that, although the Tea Party are clearly acting in favour of the status quo of big business and crony capitalism, their rhetoric and tactics is actually strongly based off those used by previous leftist movements, and sees itself as a highly anti-establishment organisation; a movement of small business vs. special interests.Frank's answer to why the Tea Party's pro-free market message has been so successful, in the wake of the 2008 crash which should have been a damning discrediting of 30 years of Reaganomics, is that the Democrat Party have been unable or unwilling to put forward an alternate narrative, and are instead too willing themselves to work with the financial industry rather than challenge them, and are obsessed with compromise and bipartisanship, rather than vocally defining and defending the liberal ideology which the party had in the days of FDR and JFK. Frank also points out how the modern right (the "newest Right", as he calls it) have, like the CPUSA members of yore, sealed themself into a bubble in which facts are derived from ridig ideology - eg. Hayek warned that a Socialist Britain would be an unfree Britain, therefore Britain after WW2 became unfree (it didn't); the New Deal was a violation of free market principles, therefore it must have caused/worsened the Great Depression (again, it didn't).I found this book to be a highly interesting take on the modern American Right, as well as a sad statement on the current state of the American Left. I certainly agree that the modern Democrats under Obama (one might also say under Clinton in the 90s) have been far too conserned with "compromise", and that they've become completely unwilling to determing their own principles and ideology, to the point that they have allowed words like "regulation", "union", "progressive", and "liberal" to become dirty words in the discourse of the nation's politics, and allowed themselves to be dragged so far to the right that Eisenhower, Nixon, and even Reagan would be considered "liberal" by today's extremist Republican party.Though written from a liberal standpoint, it's fairly balanced in its sympathetic treatment of the Tea Party. I liked all the parallels of modern America with that of the 1930s, as well as his demonstations of how the actual history of that era has been thoroughly distorted by right wingers. It's clear that Frank has an awful lot of admiration for FDR- an admiration that I'll admit that I share, his horrible internment of Japanese Americans aside. I also enjoyed his examination of Atlas Shrugged, a book I haven't read but intend to in the future.The book ends on a glum note, pessimistic about the state of the American left in the wake of the disappointment of the Occupy movement, and predicting tragic disaster for all but the superrich, should free market ideas and institutionalised crony capitalism continue to strengthen its grip on the nation's politics.As a Brit who follows American politics fairly closely, I found this a good read. I was also reminded that I need to get around to reading The Shock Doctrine and Conscience Of A Liberal at some point. Oh, and that I need to read some decent books about the Great Depression and the New Deal, and maybe a couple good biographies on FDR. How come every book I read just puts several more books on my "to read" list... less
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Should be required reading for every voter. A real eye opener.
Your on your own society explained.
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