As the subtitle suggests, this treatise on looming national disaster disdains understatement and nuance. Schiff, a financial commentator, investment broker, and former candidate for the U.S. senate, extends the message of his 2007 title Crash Proof by painting the starkest of financial pictures: “We’re already bankrupt, it’s time we declared it.” Grit teeth and tackle problems now, he says, or suffer hyperinflation and total collapse. His prescriptions for dismantling profligate government sound like Ron Paul (for whom Schiff was an economic advisor): kill the income tax, slowly phase out Social Security and Medicare, end all college tuition subsidies, and eliminate the “moral hazard” of federal deposit insurance. The shock value of these dramatic proposals, however, reverberates even as the supporting evidence seems largely inadequate. Some observations are unassailable, such as his reminder that college loans have economic costs. Others involve lurid overstatement: “Thanks to the income tax, you really don’t have rights anymore.” Historical amnesia also enters in—we must ensure “sound money” by returning to the gold standard. Schiff concludes with investment suggestions on coping with the assumed future breakdown, working in references to his earlier books. Readers enamored of apocalyptic prophecies will find his views congenial; skeptics may find food for thought if not for panic. Agent: Lynn Sonberg, Sonberg Book Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012 Release date: 05/22/2012 Genre: Nonfiction
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