Michael Lewis, the author behind several acclaimed books turned movies, including "The Big Short" and "Moneyball," took a peek behind the curtain of our vast bureaucracy and didn’t like what he saw.
Appearing on Greater Boston, Lewis discussed his latest title, “The Fifth Risk,” in which he delves into the inner workings of the U.S. Government and examined the shift within The Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Commerce once President Donald Trump assumed office.
“All kinds of insidious things can happen in this society without us knowing if the data gets corrupted and that worries me a lot because they don’t care. They don't care about facts,” Lewis told Jim Braude, referring to officials in the Trump administration.
“I think you can go into any department — I picked three — and you’d find a shocking story and you’d say there is a serious risk here that something really bad is going to happen that’s going to be amplified,” he later added.
Lewis intimated that the dawn of dysfunction began during the Trump transition process and suggested that people coming into government disregarded guides the Obama administration provided for how each department operated.
“The degree of malice and neglect, there’s never been anything like this,” said Lewis, who posited that the chaos helped Trump install people who were potentially controversial, and might have otherwise been vetted out.
Asked about the book’s title, Lewis explained “the fifth risk" is the problem organizations like the federal government fail to prepare for, because they don’t know to anticipate it. “There are so many things the government needs to be worrying about,” he said. “It’s the thing we’re just not attending.”
But all is not lost, Lewis said.
“The damage isn’t irreversible. When I’m in a happy mood and I’ve gotten enough sleep, what I think is: maybe he will wake the country up to what the government actually does,” Lewis said of Trump. “The question is: How long is he in there doing damage? And the longer he’s there the harder it is to fix.”