Pity the Billionaire: The Unlikely Comeback of the American Right, by Thomas Frank, Vintage, RRP£9.99, 240 pages
Given next week’s US presidential election, Thomas Frank’s Pity the Billionaire takes on added resonance. In it, Frank contends that President Barack Obama’s $787bn stimulus package in early 2009 has been framed by right wing ideologists as the true culprit in forcing hard times on working Americans (rather than the unregulated, high-risk banking practices that precipitated the crash).
Frank may be a left-leaning commentator but he is no apologist for the Democrats. What angers him is the way in which right wing pundits and Tea Party celebrities promote the primacy of free markets almost as if they were divinely ordained – and see any intervention as immoral and un-American. His style is mostly jocular (Alan Greenspan “took a comfy snooze when called upon to supervise the nation’s intoxicated mortgage lenders”), but there is an underlying outrage at how the market has “vandalised” US society and the right’s response.