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Fuzzy Math: The Essential Guide to the Bush Tax Plan First Printing Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393050622
ISBN-10: 0393050629
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a best-selling author, columnist, and blogger for the New York Times, and is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Printing edition (May 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393050629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393050622
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,378,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Every policy-maker and voter should read this book. After months of Krugman's anti-tac-cut NY Times Op-Eds, I was sick of hearing about this debate. But "Fuzzy Math" literally changed my mind in one night. It is not only a guide to the Bush tax cut but also a layman's guide to general tax policy, tax law, the federal budget, and distributional issues. Not only that, but Krugman provides a novel theory (at least to me) on why anti-big-government ideologues prefer tax cuts for the rich disproportionately over tax cuts for the bottom 99%. Krugman also exposes many statistical and other tricks that policy-makers play on the public in order to promote their programs. In short, this book does so much so thoroughly, and I am amazed that Krugman fit it all into so few pages.
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Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to anyone, even though the tax cuts Paul Krugman argues against have already come. Krugman, who is a New York Time od-ed writer and also a policy professor at Princeton, presents clear reasons why the Bush tax cuts are not a good idea.
Conservatives will find the book biased, which it is since Krugman is pretty democratic. Although conservatives might be able to argue the political philosophy of progressive versus regressive taxes, they will find it very difficult to challenge the numbers that Krugman presents. The end conclusion is that Bush has used "fuzzy math" to propose a tax cut and that the money is just not there for such a huge cut. Krugman is right.
Even though the cuts have already come, this book is a great (and quick) read because it gives a clear explanation of social security, medicare, and other issues related to the national budget. Clear, concise, and easy to understand.
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Format: Hardcover
This book needs to be read by every voting American, even those who support the Bush tax cut. Author Paul Krugman clearly explains the economic and political environments in which this tax plan takes place and concludes, first, that the tax cut is not only a bad idea but might have serious consequences as the Social Security/Medicare system becomes strapped and second, that "at every stage of the debate Bush and his people have tried to obscure what they were really proposing."
"Fuzzy Math" is a book written for intelligent lay people. I personally read it in two sittings (it's only 122 short pages), then, thinking that I must have missed smething, went back and read it again. It turns out I missed nothing. Krugman breaks down complex economic concepts and explains them with great lucidity and a little bit of wit. It's really an easy read.
Krugman begins by explaining how Bush arrived at his tax cut as the centerpiece of his campaign, first as an antidote to Steve Forbes' "Flat Tax" crusade and second, to secure the support of the far right elements of the Republican Party. He then describes the efficacy of tax cuts as an economic tool, particularly as they might be used to stimulate a sluggish economy (never an issue for Bush until the economy suddenly turned sour). He concludes that this is best left to the Federal Reserve Board's manipulation of interest rates.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Almost as many people voted for Bush as voted for Gore -- and Bush ran on his tax-cut plan. In a slim volume (I read it in two sittings with no problem) Krugman very clearly spells out how the Bush campaign and administration hoodwinked the public into thinking his tax cut was for the middle class.
The fact is that 45% of the tax cut goes to the wealthiest 1% of families. Even "working stiffs" earning $400,000 per year get it bad. The truth is revealed in the Treasury departments own released numbers (see Table 7 on page 111) which are cleverly packaged in such a way that they SEEM to say the exact opposite. But Paul Krugman is not fooled, and he explains why you should not be either.
Favorite line: (on last page) "But there's a special reason to oppose the Bush plan, quite aside from its actual merits or lack thereof. This is the utter dishonesty of the sales campaign. At every stage of the debate Bush and his people have tried to obscure what they were really proposing."
For your own good, you must read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a superb book. Krugman shows the following: (1) that Bush's tax cut is so large that it will lead to significant problems with maintinaing anything close to current government service levels or in financing any kind of meaningful Social Security reform; (2) that the Bush tax cut is overwhelmingly tilted towards the top 1% of the population. In the process of making this case, Krugman also provides a considerable education on the roles of fiscal policy, the composition of federal taxing and spending, and the nature of the Social Security program. At the same time, Krugman's critique is fair. As he shows, one could make a case for the Bush tax cut if one believes the following: (1) large cuts in marginal tax rates on income and estates of the rich will have extremely large supply-side benefits for the economy; (2) federal services should be cut to levels not seen since the 1920s. However, the Bush Administration has not made this case because there is no popular support for these possible arguments for a tax cut. Rather, the Bush Administration has attempted to disguise the true size and distributional effects of the tax cut. As of this writing, they appear likely to succeed. I wish Krugman's book could have been available a few months ago, when it might have had more influence on the politics of the Bush tax cut.
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