The devil, as the cliché goes, is in the details, and that's where Tomas Payne lives in this book. In less than 250 pages, Payne addresses pretty much everything--tax policy, income inequality, national debt, immigration, healthcare reform, climate change, free trade vs. protectionism, tort reform, the war on terror, the roots of Muslim fundamentalism, and more.
That's damn audacious. Between that and the obvious pen name of Tomas Payne--a riff, of course, on Thomas Paine, the "Common Sense" hero of the American Revolution--your first instinct will be to raise eyebrows in skepticism and seek hidden agendas. Consider the sheer scope of knowledge required. Payne's ambitions reminded me of a 2003 best seller that achieved an even more audacious goal: Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.
So, guess what? For the most part, Payne actually pulls it off. If you care about what's happening in American politics, you won't regret the time invested in this book.
His scope of expertise is stronger in some areas than others, and sometimes his bias shows, but facts actually matter to Payne--quite a sharp contrast to some of our candidates. Just when you think you have him pegged ... he surprises you."
"Regarding taxation, he carefully and convincingly dissects both the Democrats who think income taxes can go much higher and Republicans who think taxes should always go down, down, down. Instead, he finds a sweet spot where tax rates work best. He demonstrates how taxing too much slows activity and disrupts incentives to invest. Then, he describes the serious damage that occurs if you starve government."
"How should we deal with income inequality? He discusses notions most of us have never considered, such as the differences between wealth and income. Then, he persuasively shows why focusing on more taxation of "the one percent" may be a fool's errand."
"In the end, it doesn't matter if you agree with all his prescriptions for our problems. You come away with better questions. That's a start toward better answers. The strength of this book is the impressive skill Payne uses to illuminate these complex, messy issues with facts and honest insight. He brings order to political noise with the kind of radical clarity that might have made his namesake proud.
Consider Side Effects like a policy prophylactic. It will protect you from what many candidates will spew between now and November, and it wouldn't hurt for some of them to read it." - Dennis Hetzel.(Windy City Reviews)