Some books are years ahead of their time, while others are stale before they are printed. The Trouble with Billionaires, which was published last September, was almost perfectly timed, hitting the bookshelves just as we became aware of the increasing influence of a handful of billionaires on the political system in the United States. Although the authors are Canadian (McQuaig a journalist, and Brooks one of the top tax academics in the world), they perfectly captured the current political moment in the U.S. The super-wealthy now truly run the show, and they are less shy than ever about doing so.
Given the time delays in publishing, the substantive work on this book was completed months before it had become clear that the Koch brothers, the billionaire brothers who made their fortune with bare-knuckled tactics in the coal industry, had engaged in a full-on effort – successful, as it turned out – to buy the U.S. mid-term elections. Indeed, even though the book is based on careful research about political influence by billionaires, the Kochs’ names do not even appear in the book’s index. The book’s title, in retrospect, could have been: The Trouble With Billionaires is That Too Many of Them Act Like the Koch Brothers. Continue reading "Should We Tax the Rich, or Leave Them Alone?"