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

Jonathan Chait, Author . Houghton Mifflin $25 (294p) ISBN 978-0-618-68540-0

The author, a senior editor at the New Republic , is best known for declaring “I hate President George W. Bush” in 2003. This book traces the roots of his dislike back 30 years, when supply-side economics took over the Republican Party and made cutting taxes the GOP answer to all political and economic questions. “American politics has been hijacked by a tiny coterie of right-wing economic extremists,” Chait declares, “some of them ideological zealots, others merely greedy, a few of them possibly insane.” To which he adds, “the Republicans' success at defeating the democratic process explains why it has been able to enact its agenda despite a lack of popular support.” The rhetoric is inflammatory, but the case is laid out with clarity. Chait claims that traditional Republicans, religious people and social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatives have been cheated as much as liberals, and that unparalleled corruption and ruthless cynicism in Washington and the timidity of nonpartisan media allow the minority to rule. His analysis should appeal to anyone interested in politics, though many may find the style too irritating to endure. (Sept. 12)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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