book reviews on books I've read
This book by Bob Woodward describes President Obama’s and Congress’ failure to manage federal spending and tax policy between 2009 and the summer of 2012. More than half of the book describes in detail the budget crisis between June and July 2011 when the U.S. almost defaulted on the debt due to the gridlock in Washington. That crisis then describes why we are dealing with the sequester now.
Woodward’s analysis is thorough and does not paint a hopeful picture for times to come during the Obama administration’s dealings with the Republican Congress. Woodward doesn’t point fingers, but he reveals who the principle players in these types of negotiation, and what surprised me the most was that it wasn’t President Obama or speaker John Boehner’s fault. A lot of the blame rests with Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Boehner and Obama tried to reach a grand bargain, but Cantor and McConnell wouldn’t allow that to happen.
The basic conclusion of this book is one we’ve all come to, and that’s that Washington politics has reached a great divide, and unless something happens to change the balance in the Congress during the 2014 congressional elections, this political inertia will probably continue. The information gleaned from this book is dated, however, in that it describes one budget cycle. Unfortunately for everyone another has passed and little has happened to change the political outcome.