Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)

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Penguin, Dec 27, 2007 - Business & Economics - 336 pages
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The bestselling author of Perfectly Legal returns with a powerful new exposé

How does a strong and growing economy lend itself to job uncertainty, debt, bankruptcy, and economic fear for a vast number of Americans? Free Lunch provides answers to this great economic mystery of our time, revealing how today's government policies and spending reach deep into the wallets of the many for the benefit of the wealthy few.

Johnston cuts through the official version of events and shows how, under the guise of deregulation, a whole new set of regulations quietly went into effect-- regulations that thwart competition, depress wages, and reward misconduct. From how George W. Bush got rich off a tax increase to a $100 million taxpayer gift to Warren Buffett, Johnston puts a face on all of the dirty little tricks that business and government pull. A lot of people appear to be getting free lunches, but of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and someone (you, the taxpayer) is picking up the bill.

Johnston's many revelations include:
 How we ended up with the most expensive yet inefficient health-care system in the world
 How homeowners title insurance became a costly, deceitful, yet almost invisible oligopoly
 How our government gives hidden subsidies for posh golf courses
 How Paris Hilton's grandfather schemed to retake the family fortune from a charity for poor children
 How the Yankees and Mets owners will collect more than $1.3 billion in public funds

In these instances and many more, Free Lunch shows how the lobbyists and lawyers representing the most powerful 0.1 percent of Americans manipulated our government at the expense of the other 99.9 percent.

With his extraordinary reporting, vivid stories, and sharp analysis, Johnston reveals the forces that shape our everyday economic lives and shows us how we can finally make things better.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jclark88 - LibraryThing

I think pretty much everyone believes that rich people use power and influence to become richer (at the expense of poorer people, generally). However, I do not think most of us think about this issue ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mjgrogan - LibraryThing

I need some heavy doses of liver-destroying acetaminophen after reading this. This is a sampling of how the rabble that makes up the lower 90% of our population gets screwed over by big corporations ... Read full review

Contents

PREFACE
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who has been called the “de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United States.” His most recent books, Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch, were New York Times bestsellers. He was a reporter for the New York Times for 13 years and now writes a column for Reuters. He also teaches at the Syracuse University College of Law and the Whitman School of Management, and he was recently elected to be board president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. He lives in Rochester, New York. Visit davidcayjohnston.com.

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