In this cogent breakdown of historical and current government waste, Axelrod (Patton on Leadership) depicts the U.S., with a national debt of over $19 trillion, as perched on a tipping point of financial doom. Axelrod cites a study showing that economies in which the debt-to-GDP ratio surpasses 90% rarely survive—before informing the reader that this figure for the U.S. currently stands at 105%. He surmises that the federal government is unwilling to make the changes necessary to avert catastrophe, and that the American people need to become sufficiently well-informed to influence the 537 elected officials and 2 million unelected members of the federal bureaucracy to change their ways and become fiscally responsible. In plain English and with colorful anecdotes and aphorisms aplenty, Axelrod leaves no one but George Washington unscathed. Pulitzer-winner Michael Ramirez’s conservative cartoons adorn each chapter, but Axelrod is bipartisan in his criticism, applying scorn to both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, and to what he sees as the excesses of all the presidents since Kennedy. George W. Bush and Barack Obama bear the brunt of his ire for together adding $14 trillion to the national debt, whereas Eisenhower is given respite because of his warning against the “military-industrial complex” responsible for much of the problem. This terrifying book is just in time for the 2016 presidential election, but a more apropos read might be at Halloween. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016 Release date: 09/01/2016 Genre: Nonfiction
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