THE FIFTH RISK By Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis’s premise in The Fifth Risk is that Donald Trump and his minions are destroying essential parts of our Government. Lewis documents the hiring of incompetent candidates for many Government departments (their only commonality is their loyalty to Trump). Candidates hostile to the departments they’re supposed to run are the norm. Lewis maintains that all this dysfunction–like the Jenga game on the cover of The Fifth Risk–will eventually lead to collapse and disaster. Lewis says that Government is supposed to protect us. The current Environmental Protection Agency is NOT protecting us as programs are gutted and scientists are driven out. Willful incompetence and ignorance in the Trump Administration, along with record-breaking turnover in staffs, promises Big Problems ahead.

One of the more chilling stories in The Fifth Risk involves the beginning of the Transition Team. “In June, Chris Christie received a call from Trump Advisor Paul Manafort. ‘The kid is paranoid about you,’ Manafort said. The kid was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Back in 2005, when he was a U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Christie had prosecuted and jailed Kushner’s father, Charles, for tax fraud. Christie’s investigation revealed, in the bargain, that Charles Kushner had hired a prostitute to seduce his own brother-in-law, whom he suspected of cooperating with Christie, videotaped the sexual encounter and sent the tape to his sister.” (p. 18). And these are the type of people running our Government!

The Fifth Risk presents a troubling picture of how our Government is being deliberately crippled. GRADE: A
Prologue: Lost in Translation 15
I. Tail Risk 33
II. People Risk 81
III. All the President’s Data 127
Acknowledgements 221

15 thoughts on “THE FIFTH RISK By Michael Lewis

  1. Deb

    We didn’t need a book to tell us Trump is destroying America—and the people who do need a book to spell it out for them (aka, the “low-information voters” who put him in office) would never read this book—and never believe it if they did.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, those “low-information voters” might not believe what Trump is doing to our Government but his actions have costs and consequences for them in the months ahead.

  2. Prashant C. Trikannad

    Exactly what Deb said. I was thinking along the same lines. One may not know everything about this administration, but one pretty much gets a sense of how it is run and, worse, what it’s doing to America. The bitter truth is there hasn’t been a President since Obama left office.

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, people who hate Government control the levers of Power in America right now. The damage they’re wrecking will take years to fix.

  3. patti Abbott

    Glancing at the front page of the paper tells all you need to know. Now someone needs to tell us all we need to do.
    Everything is personal with Trump and his family. The kid who tripped Kushner in second grade better look out.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    As soon as I saw this book was coming out, I knew you’d be all over it. But I just can’t bear to read what we already know. Jackie is already so upset by what is going on to sleep well. As much as I admire Lewis, I will skip this one.

  5. maggie Mason

    Everyone is so right with comments, especially Prashant. I can’t remember so many books, mostly negative, about a POTUS. If he’s left unchecked, we may even lose our democracy.

    On another topic, I just returned from a mini family reunion in Chicago where I took a break from all social media, so I missed your blogs.

    If you have a first republic bank near you, give them a look. I deposited most of the money I got from the sale of my house there and got rates ranging from 2 to 2.5%. I actually have a personal banker there who calls every once in a while. I got a nice goodie bag (tote) with an umbrella, wonderful bottle I carry on marches, etc. I told some people about it, but didn’t know to tell them to say I referred them or would have gotten some $$. I will get a $500 bonus for opening a checking account there and doing 15 trnsactions I have discovered the joys of cash back. I just got a renewal notice on a chase account an the rate given was .02%. Plus, when I found my chase accounts were not in my trust I was told I had to close them out and reopen them to put them in my trust. I’m closing them and going elsewhere.

  6. Rick Robinson

    We saw a really scary ad yesterday, saying in huge print that a vote for a Democrat was a vote for the radical left, so VOTE REPUBLICAN. The individual ads for specific candidates are bad enough, but a blanket party push like that? Dirty. They don’t care who it is, as long as it’s a Republican. Those sheep voters who love Trump will buy it, of course.

    I’ll pass on the book, don’t need more convincing that things are terribly bad.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      Unfortunately, since we live next door to New Jersey we get all their sleazy ads. Granted, Bob Menendez is kind of sleazy, but the new ads by his challenger are WAY beyond acceptable, claiming the FBI has “credible” witnesses that he had sex with underage prostitutes. This Bob Hugin – a pharmaceutical executive who enriched himself partly by jacking up the price of cancer drugs, piously denies that he is accusing Menendez. Oh no, see, there are SERIOUS CREDIBLE accusations and the FBI should do their job and investigate these NEW charges.

      Only…this is all total BS. One, there is NO evidence. Seems Menendez was visiting his sleazy friend at the same general period the latter was known to have had certain unnamed women over. Isn’t that enough for you? The “witness” against Menendez, one “Peter Williams,” is apparently actually someone tied to Cuban intelligence. There is no evidence of him sleeping with any prostitutes, let alone underage ones. But the key part is, THIS IS NOT NEW. This all came out when he ran for re-election six years ago and it was ALL investigated and there was no credible evidence. Hugin’s “credible” witness Williams was only available via email. No one knows who he is or if he really exists. None of the women or girls who are his supposed accusers exist either, as far as any investigation has shown.

      For months, he was running ads about the Federal Charges against Menendez – fair enough, though somehow he never mentioned that he wasn’t convicted of anything. Then he started positive ads about the people he purportedly personally saved with his cancer drugs – no talk about the cost. But now that the election is close and he’s running behind he shows that – like Trump – there is NOTHING he won’t do or say. It’s truly disgusting.

      /end rant

  7. Deb

    I saw the ad Rick is talking about for the first time the other day and it’s scary as hell: A vote for ANY Democrat means mob rule, undocumented foreigners pouring over the borders, tax hikes, etc. I thought I was beyond being shocked by the extreme tactics of the GOP, but this one is utterly reprehensible. I haven’t been this gobsmacked by a political ad since the mid-1970s when I saw an ad on Georgia television for JB Stoner (later indicted for the Birmingham church bombing, iirc) and he used the n-word multiple times. I expect the GOP as currently constituted to reach that point any day now.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, commercials like that program the Trump base to reject anything that comes from a Democrat. That’s not the way Democracy is supposed to work.


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