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“Meltdown!” Book Review

Thomas Woods’s newest book Meltdown has officially hit the bookstores today, and I hope you will seriously consider picking up a copy for yourself. Woods is one of my favorite Mises Institute authors, a strong libertarian Christian, and a good friend. I first encountered his work with the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, and I absolutely adored the book. I mentioned a few other books of his recently just before Christmas in a Top 10 list. All in all, Meltdown promises to be a great read.

Here is a short description of Meltdown from the Mises Institute.

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Why the heck is this happening to us? What happened to mortgages, to banks, to large retailers, to retirement savings, to stock prices, to the availability of credit? How could so many errors have coincided?

To the media pundits and government officials, this is a market failing that requires the government to take trillions of dollars from you and run the money presses full time. Otherwise we are doomed.

But there is another way to look at the great market collapse of 2008: the whole thing, including the bubble that preceded it, is the fault of the government and the Fed. All attempts to “fix” the problem are like forcing the patient to swallow more of the poison from which he currently suffers.

Mises.org has been making this argument, and warned of the coming crash years ago. But where can you find the argument explained for the average person in a convenient package, without technical jargon and with logic and facts?

Enter Tom Woods with his blockbuster book Meltdown. It’s all here, all the information you need to understand what is happening and what to do about it. It is billed as a free-market response to the crisis but it is more precisely an Austrian School response.

He covers the problem of housing subsidies, of low interest loans, of the absurdities of the boom times, and how it was inevitable that they would come to an end. He puts the fault right where it belongs: with the government and the central bank.

He further blasts the political establishment for taking exactly the wrong path in response. Interest rates should be raised, not lowered. Government spending should be cut, not increased. Tax should be reduced. Regulations should be cut, not expanded. On the current path, the bozos in Washington are going to wreck whatever hope for recovery there is.

The great thing about this volume is that it is rooted in serious ideas. We aren’t talking about some quicky investment book by a media talking head. Professor Woods is steeped in the ideas of Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard, and never misses a chance to explain the relationship between theory and reality. It contains what might be the clearest explanation of Austrian business cycle theory ever written.

This book is a fantastic weapon in the intellectual battle that is taking place right now. It needs to become a bestseller, and it could. You can do your part by distributing it as widely as possible. History really does hang in the balance.

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