The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

David Stockman, Author
David Stockman. PublicAffairs, $35 (656p) ISBN 978-1-58648-912-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4708-4006-8
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Open Ebook - 769 pages - 978-1-306-18163-1
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Stockman, Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Budget and Management, diagnoses America's political system as a "tyranny of incumbency and money politics" in this extensive treatise. The Troubled Asset Relief Program incited him to begin this history—government interventions being antithetical to the Reaganism—but he argues that short of "sweeping constitutional change," any solution "is so radical it can't happen." Stockman's narrative holds that the government caused the "Great Recession" by saving private entities like AIG, that the roots of the 2007-2008 housing crisis stretch back to the Bretton Woods conference, and that all this behavior is a revival of New Deal Keynesianism. He includes comprehensive lists of heroes and villains; with Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Alan Greenspan all named among the latter. After several hundred pages of deep analysis, he offers 13 suggestions for a way forward, but the book, otherwise focused and provocative, can't decide whether it is a history or a policy brief; his obsession with history overtakes the need to design a future, and instead of each option receiving due consideration, they're squeezed onto the end. Since Stockman convinced us the problems are nearly insoluble, a more balanced presentation would make this a more functional document. (Apr.)
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