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New Release (October 2021)

A few pages quietly slipped into the 2017 tax cut law created an archipelago of 8,764 tax havens across the United States known as Opportunity Zones billed as a way to offer rich folks lucrative capital-gains tax breaks to put their money into left-behind communities. Illustrating how Washington really works in this new Gilded Age, Only the Rich Can Play traces the origins of OZs, as they’re known, from their progenitor, Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame, and the think tank he funded to design them, organize a bipartisan coalition to support them, and lobby them into law – with Sen. Tim Scott, the sole Black Republican in the Senate, playing a pivotal role both in Congress and in winning Donald Trump’s backing at a pivotal moment.

The book details the no-guardrails approach the Trump Treasury took to administering OZs and the choices (some good, some bad) that the nation’s governors made in designating the zones from the list of eligible census tracts. Only the Rich Can Plays describes the gold rush that was triggered when tax lawyers, accountants and real estate investors discovered the provision, and then turns to where the money went (a lot of it to places like prosperous downtown Portland, Oregon) and for what (often hotels, condos, self-storage facilities and luxury student-housing) and where it didn’t (places like Baltimore) – and highlights a few places (South LA and Erie, PA) where Opportunity Zones are doing what they were supposed to do.


David Wessel, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter, columnist, and bestselling author of In Fed We Trust, dissects the federal budget: a topic that is fiercely debated today in the halls of Congress and the media, and yet is misunderstood by the American public.

A New York Times bestseller.

In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people--Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more--Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.


“Whatever it takes”

That was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s vow as the worst financial panic in more than fifty years gripped the world and he struggled to avoid the once unthinkable: a repeat of the Great Depression. Brilliant but temperamentally cautious, Bernanke researched and wrote about the causes of the Depression during his career as an academic. Then when thrust into a role as one of the most important people in the world, he was compelled to boldness by circumstances he never anticipated.

The president of the United States can respond instantly to a missile attack with America’s military might, but he cannot respond to a financial crisis with real money unless Congress acts. The Fed chairman can. Bernanke did. Under his leadership the Fed spearheaded the biggest government intervention in more than half a century and effectively became the fourth branch of government, with no direct accountability to the nation’s voters.

Believing that the economic catastrophe of the 1930s was largely the fault of a sluggish and wrongheaded Federal Reserve, Bernanke was determined not to repeat that epic mistake. In this penetrating look inside the most powerful economic institution in the world, David Wessel illuminates its opaque and undemocratic inner workings, while revealing how the Bernanke Fed led the desperate effort to prevent the world’s financial engine from grinding to a halt.

In piecing together the fullest, most authoritative, and alarming picture yet of this decisive moment in our nation’s history, In Fed We Trust answers the most critical questions, offering a breathtaking and singularly perceptive look at a historic episode in American and global economic history.


A  look at how the forces of technology, education and globalization have shaped, are shaping and will shape the living standards of the American middle class – with particular attention to lessons for our times from the history of electricity and of the spread of public high schools.


Global Goliaths:

Multinational Corporations in the 21st Century Economy


Globalization and multinational corporations have long seemed partners in the enterprise of economic growth. In recent years, however, the notion that all economies, both developed and developing, can prosper from globalization has been called into question and has fueled a populist backlash around the world against globalization and the corporations that made it possible.


Everyone talks about the size of the U.S. national debt: now at $13 trillion and climbing, but few talk about how the U.S. Treasury does the borrowing—even though it is one of the world’s largest borrowers. Everyone from bond traders to the home-buying public is affected by the Treasury’s decisions about whether to borrow short or long term and what types of bonds to sell to investors. 


The global financial crisis is largely behind us, but the challenges it poses to the future stability of the world's economic system affects everyone from American families to Main Street businesses to Wall Street financial powerhouses. . . .

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