Random House, 2011

Review published Nov 2011.

There's at least one idea per page in this carefully crafted yet searing indictment of our current political situation.

Sachs shows the macroeconomic data which proves that the United States has drastically cut back on its public services, resulting in a budget that is underspent by about 5% of GDP, and undertaxed by about 6% of GDP.

Civilization, he argues, demands a decent life for all, which was a reality in the 1950s and early 1960s, but which has been dissipated by a massive shift in government spending coupled with a radical reduction of tax income starting in 1980.

He blames the media-numbed electorate as well as the corporatocracy, yet he is convinced that public values continue to favor a distribution of wealth which provides happiness for all.

A veteran of advising foreign nations how to get out of economic crises, Sachs turns his analytic skills to his own country, and finds that a short-sighted politics beholden to special interests has watered down our civic virtue along with our public goods such as infrastructure and education.