Bull Run: Wall Street, the Democrats, and the New Politics of Personal Finance

Dan Gross, Author, Daniel Gross, Author
Dan Gross, Author, Daniel Gross, Author PublicAffairs $25 (236p) ISBN 978-1-891620-29-4
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The ""democratization of money"" (with a small d) is Gross's term for the doubling, since 1990, of the percentage of Americans who own stocks and mutual funds. The biggest effect of America's love affair with the stock market, claims the author of the bestseller Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time (he also writes on politics and business for the Washington Post and New York magazine), has been the reorientation of the Democratic Party toward Wall Street--and the simultaneous alienation of many Republicans from one of their historical bases. In this brisk and refreshing study, Gross carefully traces how the Clinton administration has formed a symbiotic relationship with Democratic-leaning Wall Street movers and shakers, whom he dubs the ""New Moneycrats,"" including Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and TheStreet.com founder James Cramer. In addition to contending that the Clinton administration has based its crucial budget decisions on the anticipated reaction of the stock and bond markets, the author points to Clinton's controversial proposal last year to invest a portion of the Social Security fund in the stock market. Meanwhile, the conservatives who dominate the Republican Party, in Gross's diagnosis, harbor a deep antipathy toward the northeastern elite as well as reactionary opposition to internationalism, trade liberalism and the shaky global financial architecture that helps guarantee the stability of markets. Although Gross overestimates the extent of the Republicans' alleged divorce from Wall Street, and his vision of an enlightened Democratic Party truly serving both rich and poor may be chimerical, he spells out important issues that presidential candidates of both parties ought to address, including shareholder democracy, reform of stock options and excessive executive compensation. Major ad/promo. (Apr.)
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