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The Country, the Economy, the Election... and Why Haven't I Marched with Occupy Wall Street Yet

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The U.S. economy and the upcoming presidential election are on my mind as well as on the minds of many Americans.

I'm not an economist, a political science major or an historian.

I'm a librarian at the Mid-Manhattan Library who specializes in health and medicine — but, I am interested in understanding what has happened to our country over the past ten years.

Perhaps others can make sense of it all by following the media reports — they just confuse me. I prefer to read a well-researched book by an author who can explain the story of the financial events of the past decade in U.S. history.

The Occupy Wall Street national mass movement began last fall. There are a number of well-written books which attempt to explain what occurred.

I recently read Danny Schechter's book The Crime of Our Time: Why Wall Street is Not Too Big to Jail. It describes the web of fraud and crime that played a large role in bringing the economy down. The FBI called the wrongdoing an "epidemic of mortgage fraud." Noam Chomsky wrote "Schechter goes right for the jugular in this rich and information analysis of the financial crisis and its roots. Not errors, accident, market uncertainties, and so on, but crime: major and serious crime. A harsh judgment, but it's not easy to dismiss the case that he constructs."

This is an excellent read.

Also recommended is Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth About The "Real" America by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel (numerous copies available at the Mid-Manhattan Library). This book goes beyond labeling states as blue or red and describes twelve types of counties in the U.S. — Boom Towns, Evangelical Epicenters, Military Bastions, Service Worker Centers, Campus and Careers, Immigration nation, Minority Central, Tractor Country, Mormon Outposts, Emptying Nests, Industrial Metropolises, and Monied Burbs. The book explains how each type of community has been affected by the economic downturn, what remedies are needed for each community to improve, and why the various communities seek different political and economic solutions.

Highly recommended is The ABCs of the Economic Crisis: What Working People Need to Know by Fred Magdoff and Michael D. Yates. Mid-Manhattan Library owns several copies of this well-written book. This short, concise book was written for students and for workers, and it explains in plain language what created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Patriot Acts: What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic by Catherine Crier. Ms. Crier spoke in May at the Mid-Manhattan Library about how modern politicians, left and right, betray the founding principles and economic capitalism. Highly recommended.

There are two upcoming programs at the Mid-Manhattan Library about the U.S. economy and U.S. politics:

On Tuesday, November 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the Mid-Manhattan Library, Richard D. Wolff will present a talk on his book Democracy At Work: a Cure for Capitalism. Mr. Wolff is also the author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan — copies available at the Mid-Manhattan Library.

And on Monday, November 19th at 6:30p at the Mid-Manhattan Library Alia Malek will present a lecture titled "Clash of Civilizations at Home and Abroad Still?" based on her book A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold Through Arab-American Lives.

If you are interested in gaining greater understanding of the current state of the economy and how we got here — please join us for one or more of these evening programs at the Mid-Manhattan Library. All are welcome.

To view a monthly list of Mid-Manhattan Library's evening programs go to our website at www.nypl.org, click on 'Classes and Events,' then on 'Programs.'

Please join us.

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