Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to 50 Questions about Government, Taxes, Business, and Households

Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to 50 Questions about Government, Taxes, Business, and Households

Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to 50 Questions about Government, Taxes, Business, and Households

Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to 50 Questions about Government, Taxes, Business, and Households

Synopsis

Budget deficits, gas prices, health care costs, social security, job security.... Anxiety over the economy pervades our daily lives--from reports on the early morning newscasts to gossip around the water cooler to dinner table debate. Yet most citizens are woefully ignorant when it comes to understanding how the economy works and how to interpret the impact of policies and business decisions. It's easy to slip into generalities: government spending is wasteful, taxes are too high, good-paying jobs are being shipped overseas, Americans don't save enough. Other issues become hijacked by political partisans to advance their agendas: trade must be fair , tax cuts will pay for themselves , there will be no money left in the social security till after the baby boomers loot it In Smart Economics, Michael Walden provides an antidote: take 50 of today's top economic issues and explain their meaning, implications, and potential solutions in a logical, straightforward, commonsense, and non-partisan way. Has Government Spending Been Out of Control? Is Profit Bad? Walden applies basic economic concepts and logical argumentation to help readers get their bearings--to separate fact from fiction and ultimately make better economic decisions themselves. The result is an entertaining and highly informative introduction to economic principles and their influence on our behavior.

In Smart Economics, Michael Walden provides an antidote: take 50 of today's top economic issues and explain their meaning, implications, and potential solutions in a logical, straightforward, commonsense, and non-partisan way. From Has Government Spending Been out of Control? to Is Profit Bad? to Why Are Pro Sports Stars Paid So Much? Walden demystifies the dismal science, using basic concepts and logical argumentation to help readers get their bearings--to separate fact from fiction and ultimately make better decisions, when it comes to spending, investing, saving, and voting. The result is an entertaining and informative introduction to economic principles and their influence on our behavior.

Excerpt

Everywhere you turn, there’s economics. Whether it’s talk around the office watercooler, chatting over the neighbor’s fence, or discussion on talk radio, you just can’t get away from economics. the economic content may not jump out, but it’s there, nevertheless.

The reason is simple. Economics is at the heart of so much of what we talk about because economics underlies our daily decisions over how to use resources. in fact, the only reason economics as a discipline was invented was to help people make the best decisions regarding the use of their limited resources. You’ve heard the phrase “You can’t have it all.” Well, much as we’d like to, we can’t. There are many competing uses for our time and money; economics is there to help us make choices.

So it’s not surprising to hear and read about economics every day. Just look at a typical serving of topics on talk radio. Government actions and government spending are favorite “hot-button” topics, with issues like government waste, Social Security, the budget deficit, a living wage, and business incentives. Taxes are always a come-on, and the weekly roster of tax issues might be who pays taxes, how much taxes are paid, and the impact of tax cuts.

Business isn’t ignored on the radio gabfest, with headline-grabbing topics like “obscene” profits, salaries of CEOs (chief executive officers) and professional athletes, outsourcing, and oil and gas prices. and household economic issues certainly get coverage, such as incomes of the rich and poor, poverty, debt loads, college expenses, and prescription drug prices.

To an economist (which I am), the pervasiveness of economic discussions is heartening. But it’s also frustrating and troubling because so much of the discussion is just plain wrong and misleading.

There are two reasons for this. One is time. We live in a fast-paced society where everything must be condensed in time. Names are shortened to one syllable, and entire paragraphs are summarized in one phrase.

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