Author: Jonathan Clark
Length: 210 pages
Federal Deficits. National Debt. Sequestration. Stimulus. Tax Policy. Sovereign Debt. No, you haven’t accidently stumbled into the Financial Times website. Occasionally, we at Underground Book Reviews put down our novels and short stories and swerve into the oft-neglected lane of independently published non-fiction. Today, we look at Jonathan Clark’s debut book, The Paul Society, a primer explaining the current fiscal crisis.
From the internet to the nightly news, one can’t avoid the reality that western governments are drowning in debt. Regarding the United States, The Paul Society boldly asks one question: Why? The question itself is a lightning rod for controversy. Like aloe over a burn, Clark coolly and unemotionally tries to remove the passion from the subject, replacing it with fact. The Paul Society is well researched, logically organized, and employs many real-world examples. It feels like Clark is sitting across the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, calmly explaining why America’s fiscal situation is so messed up. Cool and calm, yes, but never boring, TPS is a perfect book for someone new to the subject.
TPS divides federal spending into different buckets, such as welfare, healthcare, defense
and subsidies. For a given “bucket” Clark details how congress converts taxpayer money to influence, influence to power, power to spending, and spending into more votes. Clark sorts out the powerful players, from corporate lobbyists, to unions, to special interest groups. In each bucket Clark keeps coming back to the same theme: The root of the problem is corrupt and entrenched politicians, unaccountable lobbyist, and an apathetic (or complicit) electorate. One thing Clark doesn’t do, however, is get partisan.
To be blunt, I expected this book to be a run-of-the-mill right-wing rant against big government. It wasn’t. Clark ignores that trap and instead dispassionately indicts both political parties, showing under the surface they often have the same agenda – convert taxpayer money into personal wealth and power. If you put a group of Tea Partiers and Occupiers in the same room and made them read this book, they might stop yelling at one another and find they have much in common. Clark clearly identifies the enemy and, in my opinion, that makes The Paul Society delightfully dangerous.
Corporate executive, small business owner and entrepreneur, Clark possesses a great deal of credibility. He never raises his voice and makes his case so logically even a Vulcan would smile. At only 210 pages, The Paul Society keeps moving and is never boring. More importantly, Clark offers hope. His answers are not easy, but ones most American’s can get behind. They start with getting informed and then getting involved, both of which begin with reading The Paul Society.
Jonathan Clark Links:
The Paul Society on Amazon
Jonathan Clark's Blog
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