Where the Money Lies

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

The alleged intention of this book, to provide clear non-partisan summaries of the major economic issues facing the US, is a fine one. But the authors don't merely fall short, they come close to producing the opposite.

The first problem is issues are chosen and framed based on the air time devoted to them on MSNBC and Fox News rather than any dispassionate or historical evaluation of their economic significance. The elections of 2016--and then 2018--are given civilizational significance. Yet the issues summarized in the book have been the basic bones of contentions in national elections since the early 1990s, or in some cases earlier. It's true that issues like immigration, deficits and the environment have come up in different forms, and both major parties and all national politicians not named Bernie or Rand have frequently switched positions, but there's nothing covered in this book that didn't come up  when Bill Clinton debated George Bush.

Trump's election is said to have "caught virtually everyone by surprise." Presumably not the nearly half of voters who voted for him, nor anyone of reasonably wide acquaintance who took seriously others said. Virtually everyone in certain zip codes who ignored deplorables and got information from echo chambers was surprised, but few other people.

The second problem is clear partisanship. The immigration debate, for example, is framed as between people who welcome immigrants and appreciate their contributions, and isolationists. The first step in being non-partisan is to describe groups in the terms they choose, not by names chosen by the other side (and "isolationist" is not even accurate as it means avoiding international agreements and foreign military adventures, not restricting immigration).

In fact, mainstream opinion on both left and right welcomes and appreciates honest immigrants who are either fleeing persecution or intending to make positive contributions to US society. Both sides are against dishonest immigrants who are terrorists or other criminals, or who falsely claim persecution and plan to make only negative contributions. 

Actual policy differences in the US by different administrations, and for that matter among other developed democracies, are surprisingly small. Nearly everyone agrees we have a patchwork, broken system that we make worse by erratic enforcement--sometimes ignoring major violations, sometimes ruining lives for minor ones. But no administration, nor any developed democracy, has come up with really good ways to fix things.

The main debate, ignoring fringe groups, is between progressives who focus on avoiding harm to individuals, and conservatives who want to change the laws but then enforce them. It's true partisans on the left often accuse conservatives of hating immigrants or loving cruelty; and partisans on the right will say Democrats want to bring illegals in to vote Democratic; but this is the kind of nonsense a non-partisan book should avoid.

The final problem is the book spends relatively little time on issues, and is superficial when it does, and fills most of the pages with timelines and capsule biographies. This is the kind of thing that exacerbates disputes. Long histories of complaints distract focus on the actual decisions relevant today and encourage retribution for past injuries rather than figuring out the best way forward. Making issues about individuals, ad hominem arguments are tools for people who want to debate, not people who want to forge consensus.
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A good look into economic issues that will be coming to the front in the 2020 Presidential election. Fair, balanced, doesn't seem to lean left or right but simply treats the issues rationally. A quick, easy read, could/should be read by everyone, instead of getting their opinions regurgitated by partisan talking heads.
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A quick, objective, very informative discussion on several important topics/issues relevant to voters in the 2020 Presidential election. Easy to read & understand, what could be somewhat complicated issues. The author offers pros/cons to the subject, offers a little historical aspect....bringing the issue up to where we are today, & gives profiles/info on 5 people/figures important to the particular issue. Issues covered are: taxes, climate change, the trade war, national debt, healthcare, gov't regulation, the stock market, & net neutrality. This would be a great book for every voter to read prior to the next election.... At the end he encourages everyone to be an educated voter & vote! A very informative book, yet very easy to read & understand. I'm glad I read it, & feel that I learned something!
I received this e-book from Dog Ear Publishing via NetGalley, with the understanding that I'd read it & offer/post my own fair/honest review.
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The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book.  The author laid out the information in a manner that allowed the reader to form their own opinion.
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