Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

Article excerpt

The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century, by Paul Krugman. Norton, September 2003. $25.95

Those for whom Paul Krugman's biweekly column in the New York Times is a staple of their political diet will not be surprised after reading The Great Unraveling. Upon joining the Times in 2000, Krugman quickly established himself as one of the leading public critics of the Bush II administration, devoting the majority of his effort to demonstrating (with precision and clarity) the absolute poverty and outright danger of this administration's economic policies. The bulk of this volume constitutes those pieces from the Times, though other materials are peppered throughout. Krugman's objective is to show just how the administration is dedicated to dismantling the federal social safety net for the country's poor and working class, while at the same time providing massive tax breaks for only America's most wealthy citizens. Not only are these efforts morally repugnant for Krugman, but they are dangerous to the extent that they will likely be achieved only when such entitlements cannot be sustained as a result of the slash-and-burn austerity measures taken years prior; in short, as a result of a traumatic fiscal crisis. …

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