Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics

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9780316706186: Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics
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A respected political analyst offers a controversial plan to stop the bloat of government and the ever-increasing power of special interests, arguing that Washington has become a parasite feeding off the governed. 75,000 first printing. Tour.

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From the Back Cover:

Everyone knows that Washington is completely out of touch with the rest of the country. Now Kevin Phillips, whose bestselling books have prophesied the major watersheds of American party politics, tells us why. Washington - mired in bureaucracy, captured by the money power of Wall Street, and dominated by 90,000 lobbyists, 60,000 lawyers, and the largest concentration of special interests the world has ever seen - has become the albatross that Thomas Jefferson and our other Founding Fathers feared: a swollen capital city feeding off the country it should be governing. Throughout most of our history, the genius of American politics was that ballot revolutions every generation swept out failed establishments and created new ones. Now that can no longer happen. Feared and even hated by a majority of the citizenry, "Permanent Washington" has dug in. Using history as a chilling warning, Kevin Phillips parallels the present atrophy to that of formerly mighty and arrogant capitals like Rome, Madrid, and Amsterdam. Unchecked, Washington will - like other great powers before it - lead the country to its inevitable decline and fall. To work again, Washington must be purged and revitalized. In his unique blueprint for a political upheaval, Kevin Phillips puts Washington on notice by sounding a cry for immediate action, offering us a wide variety of remedies - some quasi-revolutionary, others more moderate, but all sure to be controversial.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A blistering jeremiad that gives new vibrancy to the political clich‚ that Washington is out of touch with the average American. At first glance, it would seem that any book rehashing this idea, even calling for a Jeffersonian-style electoral revolution, is hardly onto anything new. But Phillips (The Politics of Rich and Poor, 1990) is a brilliant reader of the political tea leaves; this seasoned Washington observer more than compensates for boiler-plate populism with a steady accretion of detail and provocative historical comparisons. For instance, he not only notes how parasitic the Beltway has become, but catalogues it with alarming data: the capital is overrun, he states, by 40,00050,000 lawyers, 90,000 lobbyists, a Congressional staff of 20,000, and 12,000 journalists. Phillips also finds novel examples of ``the capital's intermingling of public service, loose money, vocational incest, overinflated salaries, and ethical flexibility.'' One instance is what he calls ``loophole nepotism,'' the congressional practice of putting relatives on a colleague's payroll. Former assets of the American tradition have become liabilities, he thinks, including a separation of powers that discourages cooperation and responsibility, and a labyrinthine framework with 83,000 state, county, and city government subdivisions. Moreover, the government's inability to regulate electronic financial speculation has exposed the middle class to the decline of the manufacturing sector and even white-collar downsizing. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are willing to reform the mess since they feed at the special-interest trough. Phillips draws useful parallels with three capitals once afflicted with unproductive hangers-on: Madrid in the 1590s, the Hague in the 1690s, and London in the 1890s. He calls for reform measures ranging from the quixotic (periodically moving Congress out of the capital) to the sensible (the elimination of incentives for lawyers and lobbyists). Unusually wise to the dodges of Washington's rich and powerful. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780316706025: Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics

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ISBN 10:  0316706027 ISBN 13:  9780316706025
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9780756758103: Arrogant Capital : Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics

DIANE ..., 2002
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