Monday, March 31, 2008


A little aside here - I read this about a month ago, and I had to return it to the library; however, I also lost my notes, so this isn't one of my finer reviews . . . it's coming straight from (my somewhat poor) memory. With work and the wedding plans coming along, I've fallen behind in this little project - I have three more books to write about in addition to this one.

I'm not an economist; hell, I can barely figure out that whole checkbook thing. However, it's always seemed to me that something was off with how our government spends our money, and how the party of fiscal responsibility was acting like anything but.

Enter Jonathan Chait's The Big Con: How Washington got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics.

Chait tells a rather eye-opening tale, of how of the three big supply-side economics proponents, only one had a background in economics - and he was run out of the Nixon administration on a rail after grossly overestimating the GDP, to his boss's chagrin. However suspect their economic theories may have been, members of the Republican party began to see this as a nice way to start picking up votes.

A book like this could easily become a liberal rant against the modern conservative movement, but Chait doesn't really fall in this trap; he's well-read and well-researched, and he writes the book with a nice bit of bemused exasperation throughout.

Chait could have also filled this book with endless tables and charts, but it doesn't drag down into an Economics 101 lesson; it's more a long look at recent history and how we got where we are today. I enjoyed reading this, although I found myself rolling my eyes at the leaps of logic the supply-siders take to justify their theory with a near-religious fervor.

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