Before he interviewed singer and songwriter Bob Walkenhorst, former frontman of the Rainmakers, Kansas native Bryan Riley saw him perform in a venue so small that the band offered to cut out the middleman and come play in the audience’s living rooms. Walkenhorst, known for his provocative lyrics, is famous in some circles for the Rainmakers’ 1986 antiwelfare song “Government Cheese.” In “Who Moved My Government Cheese?” (page 60) Riley, 44, speaks with Walkenhorst about church and state, the music business, and, of course, state-supplied dairy products.
For years William L. Anderson and Candice E. Jackson have been chronicling the federal government’s encroachment in many areas of American life. In “Putting Stars Behind Bars” (page 38), they tackle the prosecution of sports figures—an issue close to Anderson’s heart, since the economist was “All-American and All-Southeastern conference in track thousands of years and 40 pounds ago.” Jackson, a lawyer, is the co-chair of the arts, entertainment, and sports group at her West Coast firm, Bullivant Houser Bailey. “Over the last 60 or 70 years,” she says, “the political party in power changes the targeted groups, but federal power is always expanding.” Indicted baseball star Barry Bonds “is an irascible guy,” adds Anderson. “He’s an ass, which made him an easy target. The feds go after people who are easy targets.”
During the transition period before Barack Obama took office, several news outlets reported that his staffers were reading Nothing to Fear, Adam Cohen’s new book about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office. Daniel M. Rothschild decided to do the same, with an eye for how Cohen’s narrative could affect present-day politics (page 55). “Both the moderates and the far left are writing their hopes on President Obama,” he notes. Rothschild works for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, managing economic growth and development programs.