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BOOK REVIEW: Dollar woes and what lies ahead

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2010

By Glenn Beck
Threshold Editions, $29.99, 351 pages

By Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte
Idea Factory Press, $12.95, 188 pages

As the dollar heads for the basement while the infla- tion beast hovers over America - and, in fact, the world - Glenn Beck warns of trying times ahead. Mr. Beck, author of "Broke: The Plan to Restore our Trust, Truth, and Treasure," foresees this metaphoric dark night:

"It may be a hard day and a hard struggle 'til late in the night - and our kids may be crying and we may lose our house. ... But when we put our head down on our pillow and go to sleep again that night, we can be happy because we know tomorrow, it will be morning again in America."

Such rhetoric (ultimately with its hoped-for happy ending) is familiar to viewers of Mr. Beck's nightly TV show.

Interestingly, that precise warning - sounded by the author at an annual Conservative Political Action Conference here in Washington in February - is not included in his new volume. In "Broke," he explains that we have been heading toward an economic collapse for nearly 100 years. He doesn't need to repeat the above scenario. One would have to be incapable of connecting obvious dots to miss that message in his telling of history.

Every single administration starting with Woodrow Wilson is put under the author's microscopic analysis. He concludes it was the Wilson presidency that gave the biggest wind to the back of social, cultural, foreign, monetary and reckless spending policies that have driven America toward the economic cliff.

In fact, considering what Wilson did, or tried to do, to this country during his tenure, one can understand why Mr. Beck repeatedly has told his viewers of his disdain for "that guy." Our 28th president, this book informs us, "did more damage to the fabric of America than anyone who's come before or after."

Could that even include President Obama? The TV-radio pundit apparently thinks it was Wilson who put this nation on a path that would later pave the way for the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Mr. Obama.

"To understand how America changed from a country devoted to faith, family and frugality into a country devoted to freebies, you first have to understand the progressive movement and how it has been working to destroy the bedrock that America was built on," Mr. Beck says.

For starters, he shows that Wilson, "the left's holy father," was a bigot, "albeit a very educated bigot."

Wilson sneered at "inalienable rights of the individual as 'a lot of nonsense' " as his administration "ushered in the attitude that taxes were not simply about raising revenue; rather, they were a means of punishing the wealthy for the 'sin' of greed and wealth accumulation."

That attitude, coupled with spending that led America into trillions of dollars in indebtedness over the ensuing decades, is Wilson's legacy, alive and well today in the recent efforts to impose Obama tax increases on job creators.

Not that Mr. Beck lets Republican presidents off the hook. With rare exceptions (Presidents Harding and Coolidge) they also allowed reckless debt-inducing policies. "Broke" argues that even President Reagan should have confronted the Democrats in Congress when they reneged on their promise to cut back on spending.

Just in case anyone could possibly miss Mr. Beck's point, the book "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse" flatly says we are "digging the biggest hole in U.S. history," one that is so deep, says author Craig R. Smith, "that you can hear the voices of Chinese creditors asking one another if they will ever get that $900 billion they have lent us."

Mr. Smith, founder and chairman of Swiss America Trading Corp., fears not only for the foundations of the U.S. dollar and economy, "but also for other major currencies and economies around the world." In the book, edited by Lowell Ponte with a forward by Pat Boone, Mr. Smith foresees a possible world where paper money is worthless, grocery shelves are emptied by shoppers or looters and roving gangs raid isolated homes or farms.

Mr. Smith recommends that we diversify our savings so that up to 25 percent of it "is out beyond the greedy grasping hands of politicians." Think gold - a currency hated by politicians and central bankers because it hinders their ability "to create money out of thin air."

Mr. Beck's policy proposals include a balanced-budget amendment, the line-item veto and a "binding" budget commission with political outsiders, primarily entrepreneurs and executives, meaning fewer politicians.

These two books complement each other very well. While Mr. Beck's strength is the fascinating history of how we got where we are today, Mr. Smith comes down hard as to what happens if we don't extricate ourselves from the mess. Our time is running short.

Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.

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