Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy: And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America by Joshua Holland

If you're a liberal, or at the very least an open-minded individual when it comes to what you've heard for the past decade in regards to our economy, then this book will be an eye-opening experience for you. I contemplated giving this book four stars (on amazon) but in truth the author does exactly what the title promises. He discusses how our politicians and media outlets regularly lie, obfuscate, generalize, and omit details from their reports, statements, sound bites, and speeches. I would have appreciated if the author spent a little more time on what he believes are the answers to some of the problems we're experiencing, but that is not what the title promised, so I can overlook that weakness. Also, while the author points out some of the problems inherent in 'big government', there are definitely situations that are overlooked; but that doesn't take away from what the author's arguments offer in respect to the regurgitated lies we're often confronted with on a daily basis. Furthermore, the book is about events in our very, very recent past. Thus what is a simple 'truth' today might become a complex look at a piece of our history five or ten years down the road. This also applies to the author's sources, the majority of which are newspaper/journalism pieces. While the author is meticulous in his sources and presents a lot of evidence to back up his position and opinions, I am more inclined to trust scholarly monographs and peer-reviewed journals, especially when today's journalists are as interested in pursuing sensationalist stories as they are in pursuing some form of the truth or challenging the status quo. At the very least this book will give you an interest in further research about topics like the 'free market' and whether it truly exists in today's world of big corporate America. To what degree is government regulation good, needed, or superfluous for our everyday safety. What really caused the recent economic recession, how it was handled, and why government regulation of the financial sector is still lacking and leaves us all open to another bubble and perhaps an even worse outcome for the middle and working class. Why tax breaks for the rich are not a guarantee that jobs will be created and in fact are part of the reason for the recent economic disaster the world experienced. How Republicans can ramble on and on about 'small government' but in truth are inclined to spend as much, if not more, than Democrats who are by proxy made out to look as if they want 'big government' when in truth they are interested in government responsibility and society's safety and progress. These are some of the issues discussed and they will undoubtedly make you question the dominant narrative we hear on a daily basis coming out of the mouth's of TV personalities and our politicians.

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