From the bookshelf

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 9, 2009

Being unemployed at least gives me the opportunity to catch up on my reading and let me start out by saying that I wholeheartedly endorse each of these books.

Let's start with the candy -- Dean Koontz's "The Husband." I'm usually a pretty streaky Koontz fan. I'll read a few of his books in rapid succession and then not touch any for a year. "The Husband" is the story of a small businessman, a gardener working hard and trying to get ahead when one day he receives a phone call. His wife has been kidnapped and they want $2 million ransom in 60 hours -- a sum he cannot hope to accumulate.

While the ultimate success of the book's protagonist is never really in doubt -- this is a Koontz book -- the suspense is kept at a high level throughout the book as Koontz shows ups how a simple man can dig deep within himself to do what must be done.

Radio talk show host Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" has been atop the bestseller lists since it was released earlier this year for a simple reason: It is perhaps the most insightful analysis into the type of policies we can expect from the Obama administration. Levin's analysis of the welfare state -- especially the generational theft resulting from Social Security and Medicare -- the attempted government takeover of health insurance and the evils of radical environmentalism are all must-reads.

The only thing I take issue with is Levin's call to do away with the progressive income tax system in favor of a flat or fair tax. While I agree with his call that all Americans should pay some federal income tax, even if it's a meager 1 percent for the poor, I think the so-called fair tax is flawed and anything but fair and I am concerned how a flat tax -- even at a mere 10 percent or so -- would mean for the truly poor

Finally, Amity Shlaes' "The Forgotten Man" is a must read. If you wondered whether it was the New Deal or WWII that brought the U.S. out of the Great Depression, this book will demonstrate it is the latter. FDR's handling of the economy during the 1930s was disastrous. FDR set the price of gold on whims and constantly left investors guessing. He structured tax policy in such a way that entrepreneurs derived so little profit that many were unwilling to take the risks necessary to create jobs.

Shales ably lays out everything that can go wrong when you think the government is the answer to the economy's woes. It's a book President Barack Obama would do well to read.

*On a helping-the-unemployed note:* Any purchases made at that originate here (from either the links in this post or the Amazon ads in the right sidebar) earn a small referral fee. The price isn't any higher for you, but I get a cut of Amazon's profit. Please remember that when shopping online.


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July 2009



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