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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
In 2004, Callahan dissected "the pervasive greed and corruption found in the 'winning class' of the Enron era," in The Cheating Culture; now he takes another look at the super rich and finds paradoxically that in recent years "liberalism has spread in the upper class," and Billionaire Democrats played a significant role in Obama's victory. He disputes the claim that wealthy backers have pushed the party to the center in opposite to the their middle class constituency, and presents evidence to the contrary. While the "reformist tradition of patrician public service" dates back to Theodore Roosevelt, Callahan worries about a liberal plutocracy, even a benign one; prioritizing environmental causes over pollution in poor communities, ignoring the ongoing problem of home foreclosures, and opposing any meaningful financial reform will endanger our political democracy, he argues. And even were this not the case, "the outsized influence of rich people over electoral outcomes... undermines the ideal of one person, on vote," making Callahan's top priority "major reforms in the area of campaign finance and elections." What could have been a basic polemic is a nuanced, counterintuitive examination that deserves serious consideration from all sides of the political spectrum.