Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong

Edward Conard. Penguin/Portfolio, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59184-550-8

Conard, a former partner at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm founded by Mitt Romney, and a Romney megadonor in the 2012 presidential campaign, expounds on U.S. economic policy and the future, defending private investment against government regulation and redistribution. The result will not please the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Conard lets banks off the hook for the subprime and mortgage-based bank debt debacles. Blaming government financial and housing policies, he claims “bankers, investors, and credit rating agencies and regulators all suffered from the same mistaken optimism.” Conard reminds readers of America’s past economic success and exceptional affluence, citing the cost of food, which has declined from 25% to 10% of household budgets since 1930. But he looks forward to a nation “exiting manufacturing” and continuing to innovate, sidestepping the problem of unskilled U.S. workers in a “world awash in unskilled labor.” Aging baby boomers and “changing U.S. demographics will make it harder and harder” to save and invest, he admits. A laissez-faire optimist, Conard sees venture capitalists and investors as the true American heroes, and lionizes these risk takers, insisting that entrepreneurial spirit and innovation will guide America’s economic future. His defense of private enterprise deserves the attention of policymakers in Washington. Agent: Cathy D. Hemming, Cathy D. Hemming Literary Agency. (June)