The Great American Economy: How Inefficiency Broke It and What We Can Do to Fix It

Steve Slavin. Prometheus Books, $25 (350p) ISBN 978-1-63388-305-5
Economist Slavin (To the City, with Love) identifies a new culprit for what ails the U.S.: inefficiency. He charges Americans with allowing the auto industry to decimate public transportation systems, developing the most expensive healthcare system among advanced economies, and fostering vast “make work” industries that produce no real useful goods or services. Many of Slavin’s rants are familiar, but he does have a fresh eye for overlooked senselessness. For instance, he asks, why employ 1.2 million people as tax preparers, rather than simplifying the tax code? Slavin devotes less ink (and thought) to the solutions of the problems that he identifies. For the criminal justice system, he simplistically recommends imprisoning all violent offenders until they’re “too old to be a threat” and providing “immediate drug treatment programs for addicts.” As for his solution to our health care system, it is to fold Medicaid into “Medicare for all.” Questions about how to pass legislation or fund such programs are seldom addressed. Nonetheless, this is an insightful look at the many hindrances to American economic efficiency, even if it is not a solution to them. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 08/08/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-63388-306-2
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