With the lingering effects of the most recent financial crisis and economic downturn, and the subsequent Tea Party movement advocating smaller government and deficit reduction, this book carries timely and important theoretical as well as practical implications, particularly in regard to the potential for counter-cyclical fiscal policy in mitigating negative impacts during a recession. The first contribution of the book is in public finance theory: it provides insights into the applications of the stabilization function in the context of strong government, thereby refining Keynesianism. The second aspect is in Public Choice: the creation and functioning of budget stabilization funds offer extra evidence to demonstrate that the general public provides input and voice in more than the conventional ways when it comes to policy making, even in an area dominated by strong government. The third aspect is in policy making, exploring the opportunities for refining policy tools in preparation for future downturns.
Don Blankenship, head of Massey Energy since the early 1990s, ran an industry that provides nearly half of America's electric power. But wealth and influence weren't enough for Blankenship and his company, as they set about destroying corporate and personal rivals, challenging the Constitution, purchasing the West Virginia judiciary, and willfully disregarding safety standards in the company's mines—in which scores died unnecessarily.
As Blankenship hobnobbed with a West Virginia Supreme Court justice in France, his company polluted the drinking water of hundreds of citizens while he himself fostered baroque vendettas against anyone who dared challenge his sovereignty over coal mining country. Just about the only thing that stood in the way of Blankenship's tyranny over a state and an industry was a pair of odd-couple attorneys, Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, who undertook a legal quest to bring justice to this corner of America. From the backwoods courtrooms of West Virginia they pursued their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and to a dramatic decision declaring that the wealthy and powerful are not entitled to purchase their own brand of law.
The Price of Justice is a story of corporate corruption so far-reaching and devastating it could have been written a hundred years ago by Ida Tarbell or Lincoln Steffens. And as Laurence Leamer demonstrates in this captivating tale, because it's true, it's scarier than fiction.