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Memos to the President: A Guide through Macroeconomics for the Busy Policymaker [Paperback]

Charles L. Schultze
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 1993 0815777779 978-0815777779
Whether as politician, journalist, or concerned citizen, those who make judgments about how government policies are likely to affect the performance of the economy need to understand how the economy works. Otherwise, they are left with half-remembered college courses and a collection of slogans, myths, and rules-of-thumb that are often wrong. In this new book, Charles Schultze employs an unusual format for explaining to busy policymakers and interested citizens how the US economy works. He imagines that an incoming President has decided to set aside time each week to learn about the economy and has asked his Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to provide him with a series of memos devoted to that purpose. In these memos, Schultze seeks to explain the key economic relationships as a background for making macroeconomic policy judgments-relationships among domestic and foreign economic forces, and government policies and economic outcomes. The memos rely heavily on the use of real-world examples from recent economic events and policy debates. They focus principally on such policy-related issues as inflation, unemployment, long-term economic growth, and the flow of international trade and capital. The memos are divided into three sections: the first set lays the background, explaining why it is particularly important for policymakers to distinguish between those economic forces which affect total demand in the economy and those which affect total supply; the second addresses the problem of economic stability; and the third looks at long-term economic growth.

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Editorial Reviews


About the Author

Charles L. Schultze is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at Brookings. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Carter administration and director of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget during the Johnson administration.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815777779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815777779
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,756,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Primer on Macroeconomics March 21, 2003
This is a GREAT book to use to understand the macroeconomy. I read it in 2002 and although the book was written 10 years ago, it described what was happening in the economy perfectly. The 30 10-page essays are an ideal way to learn an important but dense topic: small, manageable bites. I highly recommend this book. After taking my time reading it, I am going to read it again after 6 months. It is worth the price and the time to read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good intro to macro issues August 3, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought that in general the book was pretty good. I liked the essay format as they were good sized chunks that explored a single topic well. It is a very easy read, especially at a chapter or two a day. I would have liked to see more mathematical discussion of some points, but that is not the point of the book so I can't fault it for not covering any. All in all a good read, but a bit dated at this point, thus the 4 stars.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Economic Superstitions 101 September 15, 2006
All you need to know about this book is that it's written by a useful idiot helping out the government who makes completely false claims such as that:

1.) The Federal Reserve protects the dollar, never mind that the dollar has lost over 90% of its value since the Federal Reserve was created.

2.) The government should work to guarantee full employment, never mind that government policies and regulations are what cauase massive unemployment to begin with and government jobs themselves are usually less useful to the rest of society, such as paper shuffling.

3.) The government should manage international trade, never mind that massive problems that have come about because of institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the Orwellian titled North and Central American Free Trade Agreements. Never mind that regulation of international trade usually exploits consumers for politically-connected domestic interests.

4.) The government should protects us from pollution of our environment when it's places where government is biggest such as in D.C. where it's usually dirtiest.

5.) The government can create in increased standard of living for all, yet Americans' standard of living has decreased for nearly thirty years due to the growth of government and its having its hands in almost every area of the economy.

6.) There is such a thing as overall demand in the economy when there really isn't amongst consumers.

7.) Investments and capital are the same thing. Actually they're very diverse.

8.) Perhaps the biggest superstition is the attempt to separate micro from macro in economic affairs and claim that the decisions of individuals don't affect the overall picture. This is false because the decisions of numerous individuals is what makes up the overall picture.
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