A book review of White House Burning, The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt and Why it Matters to You, by Simon Johnson and James Kwak by Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times.
These days, the question of what to do about the national debt is stirring up a vicious intellectual fight between the two parties – so much so that fiscal issues look set to be the dominant theme of the 2012 election. But the louder the rhetoric, the less anything is actually being done. Instead, as Simon Johnson and James Kwak note in their thought-provoking book White House Burning, America’s fiscal problems have become worse, not better, over the past two years, as the federal debt and deficits touch 80 per cent and 10 per cent of gross domestic product, respectively. And while voters want action in a general sense, few are ready to accept the consequences of this – partly because there is little comprehension about how this debt arose.