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Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility Hardcover – April 28, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Andrew Yarrow blends his skills as a journalist, historian, and policy insider to address issues absolutely critical to our future and that of our children. Don’t just read it; make sure your neighbor does, as well.”—Dr. C. Eugene Steuerle, co-director, Urban Institute–Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, and former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan
 
(Dr. C. Eugene Steuerle)

"There's good debt and bad debt. Either can be handled responsibly or left for others to worry about. God grant us the wisdom to recognize the difference and to do the right thing. Meanwhile, read Andrew Yarrow's uniquely clear-eyed look at the issue."—Jared Bernstein, Director of the Living Standards Program, Economic Policy Institute
(Jared Bernstein)

"Andrew Yarrow's Forgive Us Our Debts should be mandatory reading for everyone who cares about America's future economic health. Andrew's concise, clearly written prose explains why deficits really do matter, for all of us, and for our children and grandchildren.”—Charles Kolb, President, The Committee for Economic Development 
(Charles Kolb)

About the Author

Andrew L. Yarrow is vice president and Washington director of Public Agenda, and teaches modern U.S. history at American University. A longtime former reporter for the New York Times, Dr. Yarrow has published extensively during the last 25 years, including Latecomers: Children of Parents Over 35, frequent op-eds, and many popular and scholarly articles.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300123531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300123531
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,007,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Eileen J. Glew on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Yarrow, a former NY Times journalist, with a masters in public policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard and a Ph.D. in 20th Century history from George Mason U., has specialized in this issue at Brookings and now Public Agenda. It takes massive research to suss out exactly what the U.S. owes, as individuals and as incurred by our government. Yarrow has written a highly readable book detailing our debt and the intergeneration dangers of failing to reduce it, and provides suggested action steps. If these steps are to be adopted, it will require every citizen be informed and mobilized to take action.
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Format: Hardcover
Debt affects us all - even if we carry none of it personally. "Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility" is a look at the raging national debt and the upcoming crises that are sure to spill out from it in coming years. Examining the upcoming doomsday scenarios facing social security and Medicare, it touches optimistically on the possibility of a much brighter American future for its finances. "Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility" is a scholarly volume, essential for college collections focusing on economics.
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Format: Hardcover
We are faced with a myriad of pending catastrophes, from global warming to a nuclear winter. But perhaps one the biggest, but least often reported dangers is the pending economy meltdown as a result of retiring Baby boomers---the largest population yet to exit our national stage. I should know; I'm one of the graying Boomers. But unlike the other potential disasters which face us, there is no real debate here. It will happen as a matter of natural fact. In reality, it is already happening as the first wave of "My Generation" begins to retire. Our children, their children, and even their children face a staggering debt which will--not could---cripple their economy and subsequent quality of life. We currently have the power to solve this dilemma, but lack the collective willpower. Why?

In an effort to fully understand the magnitude and consequences of our current domestic economic policy in layman's terms, I turned to Andrew L. Yarrow's book, "Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility". I won't kid you, it's a tough subject, but Yarrow has done a great job of explaining how we got to where we are; where we're going; and what we can do about it short term and down the road. Yarrow offers excellent examples, backed by current data to support his arguments in an easy to understand format.

So, if you're like me and want to know for the sake of your children and their future, where we're headed, I strongly recommend "Forgive Us Our Debts" by Andrew L. Young.
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Format: Hardcover
"What we have before us are breathtaking opportunities disguised as insoluble problems." - John Gardner (p. 137)

If only our national and local leaders had read this book. If only they will read it NOW. After explaining the extent of our debt and how we ended up in this multi-Trillion dollar mess, the author then makes a few simple, reasonable suggestions for ways to improve our fiscal status. There is medicine to swallow for liberals and conservatives alike here, including both policy changes and philosophical changes - but any reasonable person should take these suggestions seriously. "In short, despite a generation of largely justifiable antigovernment cynicism, government has contributed enormously, and in an enormous number of ways, to making life better for hundreds of millions of Americans." (p. 134)

Better, more effective ways to pool risk coupled with individuals taking greater responsibility along with common sense reforms to 'safety net' programs can go a long way toward improving our financial condition.

Unfortunately, this book came out before the climax of the Sub-prime Mortgage/Credit Debacle of 2007/2008, so it does not address the vast amounts of new borrowing the government has done in its attempt to 'save Wall Street'. But if anything, it is that much more important that people read this book, absorb and internalize its lessons, and demand fiscal prudence from Washington DC and from state capitals from Maine to Alaska.
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