The United States is more vulnerable today than ever before - including during the Great Depression and the Civil War - because the pillars of democracy that once supported a booming middle class have been corrupted, and without them, America teeters on the verge of the next Great Crash.
The United States is in the midst of an economic implosion that could make the Great Depression look like child's play. In The Crash of 2016, Thom Hartmann argues that the facade of our once-great United States will soon disintegrate to reveal the rotting core where corporate and billionaire power and greed have replaced democratic infrastructure and governance. Our once-enlightened political and economic systems have been manipulated to ensure the success of only a fraction of the population at the expense of the rest of us.
The result is a "for the rich, by the rich" scheme leading to policies that only benefit the highest bidders. Hartmann outlines the destructive forces - planted by Lewis Powell in 1971 and come to fruition with the "Reagan Revolution" - that have looted our nation over the past decade, and how their actions fit into a cycle of American history that lets such forces rise to power every four generations.
However, a backlash is now palpable against the "economic royalists" - a term coined by FDR to describe those hoarding power and wealth - including the banksters, oligarchs, and politicians who have plunged our nation into economic chaos and social instability.
Although we are in the midst of what could become the most catastrophic economic crash in American history, a way forward is emerging, just as it did in the previous great crashes of the 1760s, 1856, and 1929. The choices we make now will redefine American culture. Before us stands a genuine opportunity to embrace the moral motive over the profit motive - and to rebuild the American economic model that once yielded great success.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2013 Thom Hartmann (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Hartmann's book is a very good, plain language look at the history of economics and the pendulum swings from liberal to conservative economic policies. It's a far easier read, but makes similar points to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. So, if you peeked at that but found it daunting, this is a more accessible book that focuses specifically on the US.
Like Piketty's book, it argues that, far from hindering economic growth and stability, high levels of taxation of the super rich were directly responsible for the enormous growth of the middle class and dominated during the US's most prosperous decades. And that we now find ourselves in a second 'gilded age' where a small percentage holds the overwhelming bulk of the wealth. Both books use incontestable, factual data to show that trickle-down economics never worked, that high taxation of the rich never stifled economic prosperity for the vast majority of Americans, and that any policies that enable and perpetuate the vast accumulation of wealth in the hands of a very few spells economic misery for the many and, in the case of Hartmann's book, threatens the fabric of democracy as we know it.
The let down in this book is Hartmann's repeated use of the word 'royalists' to represent supporters of the unregulated, anti-taxation, free market forces. I found it distracting and annoying dogmatic. To call them 'royalists' is misleading. There is no monarchy being ideologically defended here. Royalists, at least, hold an ideological belief in the responsibility of a monarch to rule in the best interests of his/her nation. These people are oligarchs (or aspire to be oligarchs) in a lawless, ethic-less anarchy where the only thing that is good is greed.
Calvin P Hegeman
I have read all the books talking about market crashes and so forth. This one is unique - and was certainly worth my while. it has a different twist and it brings in unique historical facts that add much to my knowledge of market forces and economics. If you are a Republican, you may have to bite your tongue in a few places and just grin and bear it. Do not let the political views of the author cloud the message being delivered. I have to admit, it does get dry in some parts and I had to skip one chapter as it got too deep into the politics. There is much truth in this book it is definitely a must read (or in this case a must listen).
I have read a lot of books about financial crashes, about a pending crash, and about past crashes. And they all had a central thesis and supported their reasons why. This book seems a rambling diatribe about how awful the 'economic royalist' are ruining economies. I get it, I really do. All the related books discuss that but still manage to build their case on factual evidence. The author he just continues to rant but never clarifies how and why a crash will occur. In 2016 no less.
I guess the title should have warned me of the content. Of everything I have read about a pending crash not one author has called any specific time or year it would occur. The smart guys are a little too smart for that.
The disappointment set in early but I kept going in hopes that the author would deliver. Alas, no such luck. I still despise those 'royalist' just as much but I found no advice on how to protect myself against losses.
I haven't finished digesting the entire book yet, because there is tons of information spanning just about two hundred years. The author, Hartmann, ties previous political events to present day happenings in ways which are kinda shocking to the system and it is a bit overwhelming. Unless you are an American political history buff/expert or a member of the Billion Dollar club, some of this stuff is mind boggling. Hartmann ties the Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War to the present day Tea Party group that hates Obama.
For me, I had to read the material in small doses (and re-read) because it is too much information to fully comprehend and memorize at one time. I had to make notes and review the information and particularly make mental notes of the Who did What and When which caused some, if not all of the present day high prices for food, oil and gas, and most importantly the housing market that was created with full knowledge of the devastation it would cause to families and particularly to the middle class when that bubble burst. We all know part of the story: The Bank Bailouts!
Listening to this book in small doses was necessary for me so the lessons Mr. Hartmann set out to teach could be absorbed and digested into my memory bank... The most important thing to say here is that in order for the citizens and voting public to stop the devastation this book predicts, we as a nation needs to come to one accord and demand that public official (particularly in Washington DC) re-establish some of the Regulations that Franklin D. Roosevelt put in place to protect the rest of us from the Billion Dollar club. These Regulations were taken away a little at a time by our elected officials and presidents such as Reagan, who really got the ship moving along for the Billion Dollar club, then continued to be given power by the two Bush's who got the ship moving full steam ahead, and then Clinton who gave the ship the most power of all with all of his programs (international programs) such as NAFTA!
Did you know that the "Billion Dollar club" does not want the U.S.A. to have a middle class? Hartmann calls the Billion Dollar club the Economic Royalists. Royalists like Royalty as in Kings and Queens....
If you are concerned about the direction that this country is taking and why... read this book! The Economic Royalists are gutting this country from the inside out as well as other countries around the world. Oh by the way, the Billion Dollar club is made up of people from around the world, not just within the U.S.
Also you might want to read "Bad Money" by Kevin Philips (May 2008) who wrote about why the housing market would crash as well as other very political stuff associated with countries around the world ganging up on the United States of America in order bring it down. I read that book in September 2008 and immediately knew that we were headed into a depression and was still devastated when I learned later that year that the housing market had already crashed.
Oh by the way, the book is well narrated by Dan Woren... nice voice... I will continue to listen to this book until I can break it down well enough to teach to middle and high schoolers so they will understand that we Americans go through The Great Forgetting about every 50 years or so and that so far in this nation we've had devastating events about every 80 years... that's why this book is titled: The Crash of 2016....
Thom may be the smartest guy on the planet. Despite the title, he leaves you with a feeling of optimosm. I want to buy a copy for everyone I know.
There is great hope for us in this book written in this dark time. I only hope all Americans can read this.
This book is good, but it fails to mention anything about overpopulation. Overpopulation is the biggest problem, bigger than climate change. The reason capitalism is failing is partly due to the greed the author puts forth, but mentions nothing about overpopulation. Overpopulation leads to over consumption, over production, and extreme resource extraction, not to mention the more of us humans there are, the more we effect the climate system. If our world population level was the size of the US, everyone would be able to keep driving their cars, and riding in airplanes. Even if we had the utopia of a progressive society like Thom Hartmann proposes, we would still have economic woes as the planet runs out of resources. In a world of water, food, and energy shortages, the upper class will hoard it to protect their future, and since these resources are controlled by money, the upper class hoards the money.
I thoroughly recommend this book and any by Mr. Hartmann. Yet another clear and concise book pointing out the failed policies I have lived nearly my entire life under.
I have read more than 30 books concerning the state of the U.S. and global economy. This book
is nothing but free market bashing, liberal talking points and a plug for socialism. It is biased in tone and offers very little substance. It even disparages SOUND money in favor of money printing, redistribution of wealth and even discredits the greatest economists of all time like Ludwig Von Misas. If you want real substance and non biased analysis, read Jim Rickards "The death of money"and learn something.
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