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Publishers WeeklyDeeming himself the "Main Streeter" to explain the economic crisis to average Americans, author and researcher Leopold (The Men Who Hated Work and Loved Labor) does a cagey job explaining credit derivative obligations (CDOs), and their role in the financial meltdown, in populist terms. Unfortunately, his folksy presentation is grating at best and condescending at worst; in one egregious example, his analogy between "fantasy finance" and "fantasy football" is not just patronizing, but obscures his meaning. Still, his astute arguments make it clear that the blame earned by Wall Street and (to some degree) the government has been displaced onto ordinary Americans. Yet, he proves just as partisan as his opponents in painting free market crusaders as remorseless villains. Hamhanded solutions (described in terms of how much Wall Street will dislike them) read like a wish list for the Democratic party: financial disaster insurance, wage caps for CEOs, more unionizing, increasing real wages and nationalizing student loans among them. Whether any of these solutions are politically or economically feasible gets cursory attention. A standard muckraking explication of America's financial hole, this report should resonate with those already on Leopold's side.
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