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Broke: What Every American Business Must Do to Restore Our Financial Stability and Protect Our Future

ISBN: 978-0-470-50461-1
352 pages
December 2009
Broke: What Every American Business Must Do to Restore Our Financial Stability and Protect Our Future  (0470504617) cover image


What principled business leaders can do to solve America's current financial crisis

Broke is a startling wake-up call for America and an honest accounting of what our future holds if we don't take charge and change our country for the better. If the business of America is business, then it's up to our business leaders to solve the mess we're in. Broke offers practical, nonpolitical, and nonpartisan solutions that every business leader can implement today for a better tomorrow.

Whether you operate a giant corporation or a local small business, you'll find practical steps to limit future risks, strengthen every business, stabilize the current economy, and help turn the country around. Author John Mumford has spent decades helping business leaders turn around failing companies. Now, he helps them to turn around a failing country.

  • Presents bold initiatives and concrete steps every business leader can use to create a better future-for their businesses and for the country
  • Includes practical, actionable steps for every business leader who wants to build for the future, while preserving the best of his or her existing enterprise.
  • Shows how business leaders can contribute to the solutions for our problems concerning public debt, the environment, and international relations
  • Offers a turnaround plan for the country ideal for use by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small business organizations, non-profits and others as the centerpiece of a 2010 campaign for America's turnaround
  • Endorsed by current and former CEO's, top business school leaders, former governors and senators, and leading journalists

Desperate times call for creative, effective measures, not desperation. If you're a business leader, here's how you can do your part.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1 Down a Dark Road.

Chapter 2 The Dilemma—Is America Off Course?

Chapter 3 Applying Timeless Principles to Business Leadership.

Chapter 4 Business Leadership and the Political Process.


Chapter 5 The Vital Role of Business Leaders—Getting Your Enterprise in Top Shape.

Chapter 6 Overcoming the Declining Dollar.

Chapter 7 Managing Business Debt (So It Doesn't Manage You!).

Chapter 8 Avoiding Derivatives and Financial Tsunamis.

Chapter 9 Preparing for Inevitable Disasters.

Chapter 10 Controlling Inflation's Damage to Business.

Chapter 11 Avoiding the Liquidity Traps.

Chapter 12 Maintaining Sound Business Pensions.

Chapter 13 Business and Our Nation's Financial Stability.


Chapter 14 Water—Business and a New Direction.

Chapter 15 Business Solutions to Energy Gridlock.

Chapter 16 Environment—Renewal and Redirection.

Chapter 17 Infrastructure Renewal—Business Can Lead.


Chapter 18 Business and Renewed International Relationships.

Chapter 19 Business and the Limits to Empire.

Chapter 20 Overcoming Technology Losses.

Chapter 21 Limiting the Impact of Terror.

Chapter 22 Business Solutions for the Developing World.

Chapter 23 Business and International Environmental Resources.


Chapter 24 The Role of Principled Leadership in America's Turnaround.

Chapter 25 A Tale of Two Nations—Which Path Will We Choose?

Appendix A America's Economic / Business Leadership Failures: 1965 to the Present

Appendix B Repaying America's Debt: Staffing the National Service Corps: 2010 to 2030.

Appendix C Meeting America's Growing Power Demands.




About the Author.

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Author Information

John B. Mumford is the founder of The Washington Group Consultants, LLC, which works with both Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits on all phases of strategic and operations management. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After his service, he obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School. With nearly four decades' experience in the military, government, and business, he is also a sought-after speaker on leadership, values, and business ethics. Learn more about John at www.WashingtonGroup.com and more about Broke at www.AmericaFutureWatch.org.
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Press Release

November 16, 2009
What Every American Business Must Do to Restore Our Financial Stability and Protect Our Future

The healthcare bill passed in congress in early November 2009 is just another example of how the United States has moved from a business-based market system toward a government-based economy in the last few decades – and that businesses must now take the lead to reverse this trend toward creeping socialism, and restore the market to the American people.   

BROKE (Wiley, December 2009, $24.95) by John Mumford is a startling wakeup call of where our country's future lies, as measured by key national priorities and issues of concern.  

Each chapter provides pragmatic action steps that will allow all business leaders – whether they are running their own small company or CEO to a Fortune 500 – to limit future risks, strengthen the present, and help to turn America around in our lifetimes.  Topics include: 

Debt. Our total financial obligations: The U.S. is $51.7 trillion in debt.

Solution: A 2% fee on every financial transaction until public debt is repaid and unfunded liabilities have money to back them up and enable future payment. 

The Environment. Mismanagement of natural resources is one of the main causes of the collapse of several past civilizations. Special interests drove compromise in the design, implementation, and lackluster enforcement of America's environmental cleanup record. 

The Solution: Every 18-24 year old will work for two years (4,000 hours) in the public interest at the minimum wage to help with environmental cleanup, support to government at all levels at home and abroad, and in other areas of special needs to move America back to being the “city on a hill” spoken of by the President nearly three decades ago. 

Principled business leaders will also not allow this deterioration to continue. They must lead with self-regulation and innovation. They must share in the real cost burden, as well.

International Relationships. Good foreign policy is based on the principles of friendship building. Yet for the last few decades, America's foreign policy has focused on world domination and subversion of enemies.  Its actions were short run, and its strategy was more opportunistic than rational. 

The Solution: Business leaders can help to make better friends abroad—one person at a time—by insisting upon local development and wage standards as a substitute for a long history of overseas exploitation. 

American businesses have been in a 50+ year cycle of economic ups and downs, many of which came without warning and at no fault of small and medium size businesses.  Business must cope with outside forces that threaten its existence. BROKE provides 33 lessons learned from these cycles and outside forces and offers 106 action items to assist business leaders to better prepare and to withstand these shocks.

In addition, BROKE details the key elements of a plan to: 

  • Restore the liquidity to the Social Security System in six years
  • Fund the Medicare and Medicaid trust funds
  • Create 50 million new entry level and middle class jobs
  • Modernize the U.S. infrastructure ($10.4 trillion in 10 years)                                 

Needless to say, this strategy would result in the strengthening and restoration of the free enterprise system in the United States. But time to act is short. BROKE provides the plan and the leadership examples to make it work in our lifetimes.

As a consultant with more than four decades of experience, John Mumford has helped clients by designing and implementing vast changes in program and process with astonishing results—all when their situations were dire and they had no place to turn for help. On numerous occasions, he had the lead role in saving failing businesses when hundreds of jobs were at stake. All were in dire straits. All were successfully saved.  

Now it is the entire country that is in those dire straits.  It is time for bold initiatives and decisive action.  Broke makes the case for those bold initiatives, led by the institution most at risk--business. And it will be a catalyst to rebuild a declining America.

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Broke: What Every American Business Must Do to Restore Our Financial Stability and Protect Our Future (US $27.00)

-and- Engaged Leadership: Building a Culture to Overcome Employee Disengagement, 2nd Edition (US $22.95)

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