Book Talk: Thomas Frank on the Great Recession

Tue Jan 3, 2012 12:53pm EST
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By Lisa Von Ahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Author Thomas Frank has seen the future and he doesn't think many Americans will like it.

In his new book "Pity the Billionaire," the chronicler of conservative politics and market-based economics discusses the two trends after the 2008 financial crisis that led to bailouts of the large U.S. banks and to a recession.

Throughout the book, Frank seems to be shaking his head over the rise of the free market-espousing Tea Party movement in the midst of hard times and income inequality that he and many others blame on markets that were too free.

"Moneyed interests understand that ... they have nothing to fear from us, and may do as they please," he writes. "This is the real tragedy of the Great Recession."

If "the new, more ideologically concentrated Right" gains full control of the U.S. government, he believes it will slash spending and gut regulators.

Frank spoke to Reuters about where he thinks the United States is now and where he thinks it seems headed.

Q: Why have Americans accepted the Tea Party?

A: "One thing was the lack of a competing voice, a robust challenge ... for two years. Another thing is that what they are offering is very attractive. They seem to have an answer. Their main maneuver is that they don't talk about the financial crisis. What they talk about, and they talk about very well, are the bailouts.   Continued...

<p>The cover of "Pity the Billionaire" by author Thomas Frank. REUTERS/Metropolitan Books</p>