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The Big Con: How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics | [Jonathan Chait]

The Big Con: How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics

American politics has been hijacked. Not by "neocons" or "theocons", but by a fringe group of economic extremists obsessed with radical ideas that favor no one but themselves and their business interests. With dark and engaging wit, Jonathan Chait shows how over the past three decades these canny zealots have gamed the political system and the media.
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Publisher's Summary

The Big Con is a brilliantly revealing look at how the radical ideas of a small group of economic hucksters have taken over the American political system and perverted our nation's policies.

American politics has been hijacked. Not by "neocons" or "theocons", but by a fringe group of economic extremists obsessed with radical ideas that favor no one but themselves and their business interests. With dark and engaging wit, Jonathan Chait shows how over the past three decades these canny zealots have gamed the political system and the media, so that once unthinkable policies, without a shred of academic, expert, or even popular support, now drive the American agenda, regardless of which party is in power.

Why have these ideas succeeded in Washington? How did a subset of fringe radicals take control of American policy and sell short the country's future? And how do they continue to do so despite repeated electoral setbacks? Chait tells the outrageous and eye-opening story, expertly explaining just how politics and economics work in Washington. Through vivid portraits of self-interested politicians and pseudoeconomists, with wry analysis of their bogus theories, Chait gives us the tools to understand what's really behind economic policy debates in Washington: a riveting drama of greed and deceit.

©2007 Jonathan Chait; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Riveting....Highly readable." (The New York Times)
"Chait is both very serious and seriously funny as he traces the rise of conservatism over the past 30 years." (Michael Kinsley)

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    Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 02-14-09
    Nelson Alexander New York, NY, United States 02-14-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pass Along to Any Republicans in Your Life."

    Despite it's "hardball" title, this book is really a cut above the partisan bashing. It gives an exceptionally lucid, convincing view of the politics of the GOP's radical economic agenda, all the more convincing for having been written just before the inevitable meltdown. Its history of "supply side" economics and the Laffer curve accurately reduces this malign nonsense to the minority crank status it actually holds among mainstream economists. It presents an overwhelming case for the increasingly obvious fact that behind all the cultural issues, economic rationalizations, and ideological red herrings, the GOP's politburo has had one consistent program over the last 20 years: upward redistribution of wealth, by any means necessary. Even today, with the world critically endangered by wealth imbalances, the supply-side Zombie Republicans continue to call for cuts on marginal tax rates as the solution to all human problems, including all those they created. One of the most telling arguments here is the way in which sheer economic illiteracy on the part of the media and a desire to "show both sides" has allowed the GOP the pass off specious math and play even the most respected news organizations for patsies. The Iraq war and Katrina were bad enough, but somewhat anomalous. The consistent, blindly ideological GOP financial plundering of the polity may be a blow this country can't recover from. This is a common sense book that will help anyone, conservative (true conservative) or liberal, understand how far the supply-siders have have gone.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris indianapolis, IN, USA 03-22-08
    Chris indianapolis, IN, USA 03-22-08
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    "I should've known"

    I didn't read more than a couple of reviews for this
    audiobook thinking that I could rely on the publishers description that it would be a somewhat objective book. It's more written from the perspective of a very well read left-leaning liberalist. It really doesn't explain anything, unless you are ripe for a good ol' brainwashing.

    11 of 48 people found this review helpful
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