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The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era
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The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  568 ratings  ·  95 reviews
In a riveting account based on new documents and interviews with more than 400 sources on both sides of the aisle, award-winning reporter Michael Grunwald reveals the vivid story behind President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill, one of the most important and least understood pieces of legislation in the history of the country. Grunwald’s meticulous r ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Will Byrnes
I’m pretty tired of this depression we’ve been having. Unemployment that hit 12% in 2009 and kept rising, states from ocean to ocean laying off tens, hundreds of thousands of public employees each. No more auto industry, and vast swaths of the Midwest losing jobs and industrial capacity faster than Mitt Romney changes policy positions. And things have not been looking up either. The federal government is investing nothing in alternate energy R&D, leaving such things to private enterprise, an ...more
John-Paul
If you hate Obama, this book won't do you any good.

If you hate government, this book won't do you any good.

If you think Obama has been a disappointment, you should read this book. It won't make him NOT a disappointment, but it will provide you with context and help you to see what he has done so you can be more aware of what he hasn't done.

If you work in the media, you must read this book. There's an old joke that the dullest headline imaginable is "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative." Well, this b
...more
Zack Ward
Sep 20, 2012 Zack Ward rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Zack by: Internet
It is unfortunate that The New New Deal is perhaps the only book on the market that offers a positive review of Obama's Recovery Act. It would make this book seem less biased if the narrative that preceded it hadn't been so negative.

Anyway, my impressions were positive overall. Grunwald goes to great lengths to explore the debate from both sides of the political aisle starting just a little before Obama's election in 2008 and ending in March of 2012. He sat in several meetings on Capital Hill wi
...more
Daniel
So if you live in Philly--and I think most people who follow me do--you've probably noticed that the old trash cans have been largely replaced with solar-powered trash compactors. Apparently it has cut the frequency of trash collection by more than a third, saving the city a substantial amount of money. They're now so commonplace as to be basically invisible, like Greenpeace canvassers or the homeless, and they're one of the many unheralded achievements of the stimulus bill. Another is Race To T ...more
Aaron Arnold
This is probably the best book I've ever read about a single bill. Grunwald does a magnificent job recounting the genesis, drafting, passage, and effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, an act so vast that not even its supporters fully appreciate the range and depth of its impact. The economics that prompted the bill's passage remain controversial in the political world, as do its contents, but Grunwald's evenhanded and fairly comprehensive reporting wo ...more
Mary
Who would've guessed that a book about the much-maligned "stimulus plan" of 2009 would be not only a compelling and witty read but also the best book-length defense of Obama's first-term accomplishments I've read? It certainly surprised me. I did pick up the book expecting that Grunwald would be fundamentally sympathetic to the cause and to Keynesian policies in general, though he proves more than willing to call out Obama and his advisors for their naivete, their missteps, and their utter failu ...more
Michael
“Without cocaine monkeys, there's no tax cuts and no roads.”

Lone anecdotes cannot begin to explain how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law in 2009, but coked up primates comes as close as any.

But let’s back up.

If you reside in a state of existence where you do not believe in facts, this is not the book for you. The New New Deal is hilariously, painstakingly nuanced, and Mike Grunwald goes to great lengths to lay it all out. Why the economy was unraveling. What Obama’s economic
...more
Shawn
I really liked this book a lot, which was surprising to me given how information dense it was. The author did a really good job of mixing in stories around the events from the people making decisions with the facts that he was writing about.

I also learned a lot about the stimulus (and TARP, which like most people I managed to attribute to Obama instead of Bush) and how it managed (will manage?) to fundamentally shift a lot of important things for this country.
Robert Owen
Michael Grunwald's “The New New Deal” belongs filed on the “Barack Obama: The Man, The Myth, The Legend” shelf. Look, I’m gonna say good things about this book and I’m gonna say bad things about this book, then I’ll give it three stars and leave it up to you to figure out just what the hell those stars mean.

Let me start with the good stuff first:

Grunwald does an excellent job of taking the reader behind the scenes of the Obama Administration’s remarkably competent response to the 2008 financial
...more
Emily
Michael Grunwald has written an impressive defense of the Recovery Act (i.e., "the stimulus"), which is so frequently lambasted from both Right and Left.

"It was the biggest and most transformative energy bill in U.S. history, financing unprecedented government investments in a smarter grid; cleaner coal; energy efficiency in every imaginable form; "green-collar" job training; electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support them; advanced biofuels and the refineries to brew them; renewable p
...more
Lars K Jensen
Do you know those books that just make you feel constrained by Goodreads' 1-5 scale? Well, for me this is one of them.

Grunwald has gone where apparently no other (or, at least only a very few) have gone: Actually explaining what was in Barack Obama's Recovery Act (signed by POTUS in February, 2009) and what it has done to the US labor market, economy and research.

In 'The New New Deal' Grunwald both tells the story of the how the act came to be and how it passed through Congress, despite heavy op
...more
Paul
This book showed massive evidence that the money from the bail out which our last election GOP commercials claimed were "wasted" on programs actually were NOT wasted. It is a tough read, tons and tons of testimony and reports and other means from a journalist who tried really hard to sort through the political muck and get to the truth.

This book helped shed light on how much the GOP was fibbing in their review of the Obama administration. As an registered Independent I had to go to this length
...more
Phil
Michael Grunwald is a young journalist with Time magazine. The New New Deal is a justification of the Obama Administrations 787 billion dollar stimulus. This is a book of factual presentation of the politics behind the Stimulus amd the implementation and the various technologies the stimulus has helped to underwrite. Some of the energy technologies were new to me. The stories about High Speed (Bullet) train development in the US are something I was not aware of, other than our own high speed tra ...more
Sharon
This book knocked my socks off. Grunwald has the knack of making complex and somewhat dry details of law-writing, economic theory, and political maneuvering both lucid and fascinating. He slips into a slightly snarky tone at points, and it's clear where his political sympathies lie, but I did not find that he misrepresents facts or skews the logic of his argument to suggest an untruthful explanation. And he has the research and sources to back his writing. Being somewhat of an ostrich about curr ...more
Michael Berman
The short version: Obama won the policy battle (the Recovery act provided both short-term stimulus and allowed Obama to implement many of the objectives on which he campaigned) but lost the politics war (how many times will the word "stimulus" be mentioned at the DNC this week?).

The author is a bit breathless on the topic of the green initiatives in particular, but he makes the case on the short-term stimulus quite well. No less a center-right authority than The Economist reviewed this favorabl
...more
Mlg
After reading this you really don't want to know how the Stimulus got passed anymore than how sausages are made. In this sympathetic retelling, we see Obama coming into office just as the economy was going off the cliff. This gets into the nuts and bolts of why the Stimulus was passed, what elements were added and subtracted, and how Republican obstructionism reached a whole new level.
Yes, Progressives were disappointed that some of their pet projects were not included, but the book makes you r
...more
Steve Rutkowski
When policy is attacked along partisan lines, using divisive language, rarely so the people remember anything else. This was an amazing insider view of the divided politics of what was signed into law during our biggest economic catastrophe this century, and a look deep inside our increasingly divisive political reality.
Karen
Grunwald is obviously pro-Obama, but the book itself is not all sunshine-and-unicorns. He is critical of the President and his message, even while bringing to light what many of us believed was true--the Republicans were out to make sure he didn't succeed, regardless of the merits of his policies. (In some ways, the book reads like a season of "The West Wing" which is not a bad thing). The book is a great look into Obama's first term, and it is odd to look at the Epilogue and how Romney will "pr ...more
Christopher Mitchell
I rarely read insider accounts or books about how DC administrations do things because I have always wondered about the agendas of those writing the books. However, I was intensely curious about the background of the stimulus because of its size and its role in helping the Republicans create an identity as a party that would rather run the US economy off a cliff than serve in the minority.

Grunwald is unbaised in his support of Democrats on this issue but he does a good job explaining both Republ
...more
Lars
Do you know those books that just make you feel constrained by Goodreads' 1-5 scale? Well, for me this is one of them.

Grunwald has gone where apparently no other (or, at least only a very few) have gone: Actually explaining what was in Barack Obama's Recovery Act (signed by POTUS in February, 2009) and what it has done to the US labor market, economy and research.

In 'The New New Deal' Grunwald both tells the story of the how the act came to be and how it passed through Congress, despite heavy op
...more
Julie
I thought I had a good grasp of the Stimulus Package the Obama Administration put together in 2008/9 but after reading this book - I am shocked at the amount of information - TRUE information - I was missing. I think my biggest take-aways from this book are as follows:

1) the media did an incredibly poor job of reporting THE FACTS about the Recovery Act. The majority of the media outlets - regardless of political affiliation (which they shouldn't have) - only showcased rumors and misdirections fr
...more
Joey
Probably one of the better three-star books I've read. I dropped it from four-stars to three because of an unforgivable stretch of something like 50 pages with arcane and technical details of the Recovery Act's green energy successes. I'm all for green energy, but it felt like this wasteland of technobabble just threw the brakes on what was up to that point a very enjoyable read. I never really recovered after that.

But to be fair, Grunwald is clear and persuasive with his thesis: the Recovery Ac
...more
Ben
In many ways a perfect example of something that would have worked better as maybe two or three articles or Kindle singles than it does as a book. The beginning part discussing the behind-the-scenes creation of the stimulus is probably the most interesting and previously unreported part of the book.

But hearing how Jason Furman and others put together the package is only about 50 to 60 pages. And unfortunately, a lot of the rest suffers. The part on political wrangling on the Hill doesn't feel l
...more
Christopher
One of the definitions I have for a great book, psrticularly a non-fiction or current affairs book like this, is that it pierces through the haze of my own preconceived notions and reveals something in a new, startling, and unbiased way. This book is definitely one of those books. Mr. Grunwald has written a book that will rewrite the narrative on the Recovery Act, Pres. Obama's $800 billion stimulus that was passed in his first 100 days in office. While partisans on both sides of the political d ...more
Mason
Election-cycle literature tends to be either hyperbolic (To Save America) or overly simplistic (It’s The Middle Class, Stupid!), or, if you’re Sean Hannity, both. Therefore, this 500-page piece of even-handed, thoroughly researched, energetically relayed investigative journalism is a breath of fresh air. Unlike so many political writers, Grunwald doesn’t begin at his conclusion and then argue towards it—he spends months and months taking in every meeting, poring over every record, learning the O ...more
Chris
The notion that President Obama wasn’t “focused” enough on jobs and the economy is an absurdity. Setting aside the dubious criticism that the President was so “distracted” by health reform that he ignored the economy—as if it were impossible for a president to walk and chew gum at the same time—the fact is, Obama did focus on recovery. Constantly. To wit, within four weeks of taking office, Congress passed, and the President signed, a massive $800 billion economic and jobs package—one which, mea ...more
Dayla
I loved this book by Michael Grunwald. It should be required reading for everyone still believing in trickle down economics. How Team Obama took the bull by the horns and started to plan for the Stimulus package months before he hit the white house floor running. The near $800 billion stimulus was distributed to "reinvent the economy to seize the future." Grunwald tells the story of "Obama's most ambitious and least understood piece of legislation" (that is, until the Affordable Care Act). Obama ...more
Lori
apparently obama's stimulus plan was a huge success, maybe the most successful government plan ever, and no one even knew it. tons of jobs were created, tons of projects happened that never would have happened without it, many people who would have been out of work were kept on or rehired because of it, and no one knew it because republicans convinced us it was a failure. there was very little abuse of funds but republicans lied and said there was and the evil press bought it. i guess the bottom ...more
Kay
I definitely learned some things and this book really achieved the goal of retelling extremely recent events in a way that makes you think about them ever so slightly differently. I think Grunwald is a great reporter and a good writer -- if he weren't, a book about the bureaucratic successes of the economic stimulus package known as the Recovery and Reinvestment Act would be much more difficult to digest.

He does a good job of addressing the limitations of what made the stimulus less effective t
...more
Robert J.
It's kind of like the Obama administration. You really want to like it, but the more you learn, the more you realize it just doesn't get there. The main thesis of the book is that the Obama administration is underrated and that the stimulus act in the first term is actually a glorious new deal for sustainable energy and infrastructure. The trouble is, the facts are not on his side, so the author simply ignores them. Before reading this book, read The Escape Artists by Noam Schieber and Predator ...more
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