A Book Review by Professor James Kwak
The Economists’ Hour
False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society
“Appelbaum tells how this story has played out across a number of policy areas. In addition to the draft, the topics cover the heart of the conservative turn in economic policymaking: monetarism and the prioritization of inflation over unemployment; “supply-side” tax cuts; antitrust, or the lack thereof; deregulation; free international currency and capital markets; and the rise of finance. The book introduces us to the economists whose novel ideas persuaded politicians to see the world differently: Jude Wanniski, for example, whose famous cocktail napkin memorialized Arthur Laffer’s eponymous curve (if tax rates are too high, tax revenue declines), which was adopted by Jack Kemp and motivated Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut; and Jim Tozzi, who in the 1960s pioneered the cost-benefit analysis of regulation, which has since become the corporate sector’s most powerful weapon against government oversight.”
Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis (forthcoming)
Editor’s Note (Dec. 16, 2019): If economists are going to sustain the role they play in the establishment of federal policy in general, and regulatory policy in particular, it is imperative that they appreciate the fundamentals of Administrative Law and participate in the discussions sponsored by its professional organizations. The processes inherent in Administrative Law provide a mechanism for ensuring that the views of all stakeholders are considered in a transparent manner.