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The Great Equalizer: How Main Street Capitalism Can Create an Economy for Everyone Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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"Smick's call for a fairer capitalism makes for bracing reading for students of the modern economy and polity."―Kirkus Reviews
"David Smick's analytical insights are always worthwhile reading."―Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
"This call to arms regarding the need to get audacious and adventurous about U.S. economic growth is a thought-provoking, entertaining read."―Publishers Weekly
"Never one to aim low, David Smick is calling for America to reinvent herself so all of us can enjoy another era of 'mass flourishing.' And even more impressive, he's written a whole book on how to do it. The Great Equalizer is chock full of canny insights and bold ideas; it definitely deserves a close read."―Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan
"Agree or disagree and I do some of both, David Smick has written an important tract on restoring comity in Washington and a sense of economic hope across the country. Whoever advises the next president on economics will want to read this book."―Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Lawrence Summers
"David Smick was a key leader in the revolution which led to two decades of prosperity. Now, in The Great Equalizer, he courageously takes on the policies which are crippling our economy and shifting money from working Americans to Wall Street. This is an important book."―Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
"Smick describes a bold vision with specific, actionable recommendations. His ideas--written in an easy-to-understand, engaging style--are light years beyond anything advocated during the long election season. A must read with any highly innovative policy framework."―Jeffrey E. Garten, Yale School of Management
"The next U.S. President should thank David Smick for The Great Equalizer. It offers a prescription for how an American leader can succeed in a time of divided government. Having lived the American Dream, Smick has a clear-sighted view of what is best about America. His optimistic attitude, his big heart and personal experience in finance and politics offers a unique window into what ails America and what can be done about it. Specifically, his legislative experience allows him to see how Congressional deals can actually happen--deals in which each side gets some of what it wants and the American people get what they want: action not stalemate; progress not paralysis."―Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator
"David Smick's probing insights on the global economy stem from an extraordinary vantage point few observers can match."―George Soros
About the Author
David Smick is a financial market consultant and a nonfiction author. He is the chairman and CEO of Johnson Smick International, an advisory firm in Washington, D.C and the publisher and the founding editor of the quarterly magazine International Economy. He also published widely, including in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a home run......not the usual stuff on the economy....read some parts twice just so I could savor them.
Vero Beach, Florida
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Buffett’s observations come at the conclusion of David Smick’s book. However, in my opinion, provide an affirmation that serves as an appropriate introduction to the information, insights, and counsel found in this book.
Smick shares his thesis in this excerpt from the Preface: “The Great Equalizer shows that with a new, bottom-up economic approach, a more robust economy is within our grasp. Americans want their leaders ton write a new economic narrative. They want to rediscover the thing that has made them exceptional; their can-do attitude and audacious spirit — their willingness to dream big and to dare big. Average working families are desperate for higher rates of economic growth. But the time to write that new story of American dynamism is now. The clock is ticking.” We have Smick’s version of that story in his book.
The lead character is this story is Main Street Capitalism, the Great equalizer. “It is the high-growth capitalism of bottom-up innovation, with a flood of business startups, all happening on a level playing field. The empowering force of Main Street Capitalism, where every man or woman is a potential entrepreneur, is what has historically made the U.S. economy the envy of the world.”
Smick offers a series of 14 specific components of a plan, “a narrative of reform for the new president of the United States. The goal: to create a climate more welcoming of greater business startups in all sectors of the economy, propelled by greater innovative daring.” Here’s the list, discussed in detail on Pages 193-195:
1. Grand Bargains with Congress
2. Bring Our Capital Home
3. Avert Debt Crises
4. Tax Reform (Reagan 2.0)
5. Invest in Youth
6. Recreate a Global Financial Architecture
7. Encourage New Enterprises
8. The 3-5 Solution
9. Modestly Raise the Minimum Wage
10. Increase Worker Mobility
11. The Pause That Refreshes
Although there is near-unanimous agreement that wide and deep reforms are needed, opinions are divided (sometimes sharply divided) as to WHICH reforms and HOW to design and implement each.
The same is true of 5 Easy Theses in which James Stone offers solutions — that will be debated — to major problems that no rational person can deny. For example: “The largest of the wasteful tax expenditures is the interest deduction…The corporate deduction for interest is probably worse, providing an incentive for business to use debt rather than equity and paying at taxpayer expense for the increased corporate concentration that comes from debt laden takeovers and buy-outs.”
In 1865, a German physicist, Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888), coined the term entropy during his research on heat. The word’s meaning: “a turning towards” (in Greek, en+tropein), “content transformative” or “transformative content.” Claudius used the concept to establish a mathematical foundation for the second law of thermodynamics: without the injection of free energy, all systems tend to move (however gradually) from order to disorder, if not to chaos.
If being on the brink of organizational chaos as well as entropy doesn’t describe the U.S. federal government, especially the Senate and House, I really don’t know what does. However, all that said, I think it is important for thoughtful and concerned people such as Smick and Stone to speak up and reach out, offering their solutions to various problems associated with the domestic economic issues on which they focus.
What do you think about all this? Your voice also needs to be heard. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, each citizen is ”absolutely unique”...just like every one else.
To understand why, we might go back to February 2016, when Lawrence Summers published in Foreign Affairs an article entitled, “The Age of Secular Stagnation: What It Is and What to Do About It.” The article explored how expansionary fiscal policy by the U.S. government can help overcome secular stagnation and get “growth,” as defined by the neoliberal elite, back on track. Aside from being a replay of some tired arguments about the efficacy of economic stimulus, the Summers case for fiscal spending was essentially a reprise of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis promulgated in his famous 1989 essay in The National Interest.
Writes Smick: “America’s task is now clear: to produce the kind of economic and psychological transformation that will achieve average annual growth rates of 3 percent or more. That’s the difference between America thriving despite its debt and collapsing under the weight of its debt. ... The notion that decline is inevitable is a myth. Americans are fighters. They are also dreamers and discoverers. But the window for the new president to act is open only briefly.”
Except from "An Economic Primer for Stagnant Times"
By Christopher Whalen
The American Conservative