Pity the Billionaire

Pity the Billionaire

The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right

Book - 2012 | 1st ed
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A look at why the worst economy since the 1930s has brought about the revival of conservatism.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., ©2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805093698
0805093699
Branch Call Number: 973.932 FRANK
Characteristics: x, 225 pages ; 22 cm

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stewstealth
Jul 07, 2015

Straw man arguments specifically with respect to Glen Beck who managed to garner about 1% of Americans to watch his show at any one time ( and how many were people watching who did not agree with him but just to see what he would say ) make this book a simplistic look at the financial crises and the aftermath. That fiscal conservatives can be against crony capitalism do not make them hypocrites if someone else purports that and then takes money from entrenched interests. Essentially if you are against capitalism you will love this book and if you are for a real free market you can tolerate it, others will hate it. As is typical it is easy to be partially right about a complex system and not really be right at all. The narrative and pace are done well. Worth reading if you are interested. As an aside the information the author provides about Hayek and The Road to Serfdom is not accurate. I noticed there was no accreditation to his statement.

o
OJiiChan
Apr 03, 2013

Frank's book is dead-on.
Check out the film documentary "Heist: who stole the american dream?
This film portrays the takeover of the American political economy by megacorporations, through a coordinated strategy initially proposed by Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell in 1971. This is the best doc that helps to explain the mess
we have been in for the last 5 years, who started it, and offers some possible solutions for getting us moving to a better society for everyone. One interviewee, Bob Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines nails the greed of the 1%, stating for us all to hear loud and clear, that the price of a civilized society is paying your fair share of taxes. Share it with your friends and family and fellow workers and start the discussion going to see what you all can do to start us moving towards a more equitable and fair life for all.

voisjoe1 Jul 08, 2012

Conventional wisdom says, "When a political group screwed up, people didn't vote for it any longer." This theory worked in 1929, but it was demolished in the great recession of 2008. Conservatives, in the belief that the 2008 recession was caused by the fact that they were not conservative enough, doubled up and convinced the voters that uber-conservatism was needed to solve America's problems. Liberals relaxed, thinking that Americans would come to their senses and back policies that would work for the 99% The liberals were wrong, as the conservatives blocked the government from working, helping to convince voters that too much liberalism was the problem. A bonus of the book is a summary of Ayn Rand's novel, "Atlas Shrugged," something all liberals should be familiar with to understand how conservatives think.

s
Sandy_102
Mar 23, 2012

Thomas Frank's 2012 book is a timely look at the state of American politics. The author endeavours to explain why right-wing politics has experienced such growth in spite of the recession that was brought about largely by a lack of government intervention. Frank's thorough research and great sense of humour makes Pity the Billionaire both entertaining and informative.

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KurtInSeattle
Mar 02, 2012

I was greatly disappointed by Frank's over-the-top conspiracy riddled polemic of the 2008 financial crisis and the current political polarization in America. While I agree with many of his points about the tactics of the radical right, his view of them is nearly as extreme as their view of the left.

After having read several of the books written in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, I am satisfied that greed, self interest, hubris and stupidity is a sufficiently adequate explanation for it and don't need the vast right-wing conspiracy described by Frank.

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Sandy_102
Mar 23, 2012

"[T]here is nothing really novel about the idea that free markets are the very essence of freedom. What is new is the glorification of this idea at the precise moment when free-market theory has proven itself to be a philosophy of ruination and fraud. The revival of the Right is as extraordinary as it would be if the public had demanded dozens of new nuclear power plants in the days after the Three Mile Island disaster; if we had reacted to Watergate by making Richard Nixon a national hero."

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Sandy_102
Mar 23, 2012

"'Hard work beats Daddy's money,' the revolutionaries of [billionaire-sponsored lobby group] FreedomWorks like to say, since they are such jolly, wisecracking opponents of privilege. And I suppose the slogan is true enough, if by 'beats' you mean 'protects' or 'increases' or 'compounds' Daddy's money. So off they go, studying communist tactics and doing everything in their power to make market utopianism sound like legitimate democratic protest—and behold: Daddy's money multiplies and reproduces and turns cartwheels of joy; Daddy's money comes zooming into Dulles airport in its private jet, wreathed in smiles, to help elect you to a long career in the [Washington] DC wrecking crew."

s
Sandy_102
Mar 23, 2012

"Moneyed interests understand that with no second FDR, no incorruptible new cop on the financial beat, no return to the rules that once made banking boring but safe, they have nothing to fear from us, and may do as they please. This is the real tragedy of the Great Recession. And should we continue down this path, it is fairly certain how matters will unfold. Investment banking will eventually recover from its brush with mortality, and it will romp again like an elephant loosed from its cage."

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elinpat
Apr 24, 2012

Explanation of how the right wing grew aqnd enfolded the populist tea party in the wke of the recession. This in spite of the fact that it was lack of govt lack of oversight that caused the trouble. Clever manipulation on the part of right wing think tanks and politicos.
Wonderfully humourous.

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