GiN Reading Room: Economics and Taxes

If you’re looking for all of the shelves in the GiN Reading Room, you’ll find them here.

The Housing Boom and Bust by Thomas Sowell

The financial tsunami has been followed by a political flood of rhetoric, accompanied by finger-pointing in all directions. Who was really responsible? What set this off?

Animal Spirits:  How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller

The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, “animal spirits” are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity.

Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government-simply allowing markets to work won’t do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life-such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes-and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them.  Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits-the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today.

Applied Economics:  Thinking Beyond Stage One by Thomas Sowell

Now revised and updated-the acclaimed companion volume to the hugely successful Basic Economics, by one of America’s most revered economists. If there is a single recent book that can advance economic literacy in this country, it is Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Basic Economics…. Sowell has managed to make economics humane again, relevant and interesting to young people and ordinary citizens…. Buy a copy and read it immediately-no: buy two, and give one to a school teacher, a journalist, or a politician near you! -Barnes and Noble

Economics in One Lesson:  The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt

Hazlitt was a remarkably lucid writer, and this short book is justly regarded as a classic….But it comes across even better in Jeff Riggenbach’s interpretation. Riggenbach has a knack for making routine discursive sentences come alive…he could be a college professor lecturing, the kind of lecturer who really can teach. He sounds reasonable, engaging and thoroughly likeable. -AudioFile

If there were a Nobel Prize for clear economic thinking, Mr. Hazlitt s book would be a worthy recipient…like a surgeon’s scalpel, it cuts through…much nonsense that has been written in recent years about our economic ailments. –J. W. Hanes (former undersecretary of the treasury)

The End of Prosperity:  How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy-If We Let It Happen by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Peter Tanous

Since the early 1980s, the United States has experienced a wave of prosperity almost unprecedented in history in terms of wealth creation, new jobs, and improved living standards for all. Under the leadership of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Americans changed the incentive structure on taxes, inflation, and regulation, and as a result the economy roared back to life after the anti-growth, high-inflation 1970s.   Now the rest of the world is following the American economic growth model of lower tax rates, more economic freedom, and sound money. Paradoxically, one country is moving away from these growth policies and putting its prosperity at risk — America.

The End of Prosperity is essential reading for all Americans who value our nation’s free enterprise system and high standard of living, and want to know how to protect their own investments in the coming storm.  We risk losing the exceptional standard of living that has made us the envy of the rest of the world if the pro-growth policies of the last twenty-five years are reversed by a new president.

Free to Choose:  A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman

The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. -Barnes and Noble

Milton Friedman and his wife espouse the incentives of economic libertarianism as effectively as F.A. Hayek. This book could open the eyes of every politician, economist and citizen brave enough to read it. Do so at your own risk. If you live in an anti-reality, this will scare you. If you think the government makes decisions effectively, more effectively than the free market, this book will terrify you. -Barnes and Noble reader summary/review

The Greedy Hand:  How Taxes Drive Honest Americans Crazy and What to Do About It by Amity Shlaes

Shlaes, a Wall Street Journal tax journalist, makes an impassioned case for the complete revamping of the American tax system. She traces its history, offers a witty commentary on how taxes wrongfully affect everything in your life, from your clothes to your marriage, and finally provides a commonsense action plan for what government officials can do to fix it all. Shlaes makes very pointed arguments about such heated issues as social security, the marriage penalty, and estate taxes.

Irrational Exuberance by Robert J. Shiller

Shiller credits an unprecedented confluence of events with driving stocks to uncharted heights. He analyzes the structural and psychological factors that explain why the Dow Jones Industrial Average tripled between 1994 and 1999, a level of growth not reflected in any other sector of the economy. In contrast to many analysts, Shiller stresses circumstances that alter investors’ perceptions of the market. These include the entry of the Internet into American homes, the misimpression that the aging of the baby-boom generation builds long-term protection into the market, and herd behavior, such as day-trading. He also examines cultural factors, including sports-style media coverage of the Dow’s ups and downs and “new era” thinking about the economy. He considers-and challenges-efforts to rationalize exuberance that are based on either efficient-markets theory, narrowly construed, or the claim that investors have only recently learned the true value of the market.

In the most controversial portion of the book, Shiller cautions that a market that is overvalued by historical standards is inherently precarious. Among his prescriptions is an urgent plea to immediately end what he argues are perilous schemes to privatize social security in favor of plans to reform it. He also argues that private pension plans that encourage many people to put their entire retirement funds in the stock market should be modified. And he calls on our savings and investment institutions to take more sensible account of emerging risk-management principles. Shiller’s analysis is convincingly documented, and-regardless of the market’s future behavior-his book will stand as an important elaboration of why stocks soared and what our investment alternatives are.

The Late Great USA:  NAFTA, The North American Union, and the Threat of a Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.

The European Union was put into place incrementally over fifty years, not by the citizens of the member states, but by the efforts of an intellectual elite who disguised their ultimate goal of a regional government. Today, a bloated, unelected bureaucracy has rule over hundreds of millions of people – people who have no say over the EU’s actions…or their own futures.


Don’t be so sure! According to New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi, it already has. The Security and Prosperity Partnership – announced in 2005 by the leaders of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada but never presented to Congress for approval – is already laying the groundwork for the merger of the three nations into a North American Union.


Lords of Finance:  The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the 20th century.

New Deal or Raw Deal?  How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America by Burton Folsom, Jr.

A sharply critical new look at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency reveals government policies that hindered economic recovery from the Great Depression–and that are still hurting America today.

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F.A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate, widespread attention. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. In April 1945, Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this edition to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best seller, the book has sold 400,000 copies in the United States alone and has been translated into more than twenty languages, along the way becoming one of the most important and influential books of the century.

Web of Debt:  The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free by Ellen Hodgson Brown

Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been “privatized,” or taken over by a private money cartel. Except for coins, all of our money is now created as loans advanced by private banking institutions — including the private Federal Reserve. Banks create the principal but not the interest to service their loans. To find the interest, new loans must continually be taken out, expanding the money supply, inflating prices — and robbing you of the value of your money. Web of Debt unravels the deception and presents a crystal clear picture of the financial abyss towards which we are heading. Then it explores a workable alternative, one that was tested in colonial America and is grounded in the best of American economic thought, including the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. If you care about financial security, your own or the nation’s, you should read this book.

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