Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Book is Available on Amazon

My adventure in self-publishing has gone live, and Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority is available on Amazon. There are some formatting issues with the book that are being addressed and the revised version (hopefully within 24 hours or so) will be delivered to anyone buying it when you sync in the future. It turns out that the technical details of self-publishing a book are more difficult than I thought....but the text that is out now is the text. UPDATE: These are fixed as of ~7pm 8/17/11.

I started writing this book about 14 months ago thinking that the goal would be to try and put discussion of the balanced budget onto the national agenda. I had planned to start seeking a traditional publisher now, but the timing of such a book (next Summer at best) would likely have come much too late for the coming policy discussions this Fall and Winter, especially with the creation of the super committee. Hence, I decided to put out a pared-down version of my argument in a self-published e book.

Many say that we need to be supporting the economy now, instead of focusing on the budget deficit. I think we need to do both, and that the lack of a long range plan for a balanced budget actually crowds out the ability to undertake short term policies that might support our sluggish economy.

From the prologue of the book:

The decision by Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the long term U.S. debt to AA+ from AAA status seems to have been triggered by the political theater we just witnessed, as well as the policy “no man’s land” into which we have arrived. For all the bluster about the deficit, the debt ceiling deal did not address the primary drivers of our long term problem: a tax code that cannot raise the revenue necessary to pay for any plausible level of overall spending, and health care costs.

We have plenty of short term problems that are going unaddressed as well. A quick look at the employment reports of the past year show that if we hadn’t lost government jobs the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, there is growing evidence that some sort of mortgage relief will be required to unstick the housing market, and unmet infrastructure needs to enable our economy to thrive in the 21st Century abound. Any short term economic intervention and investment seems crowded out by the noise of the debt ceiling debate and the quietness of the action so far undertaken to address the nature of the long term problem. We need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but now we appear unable to do either.

As the super committee gets underway, this book is really my version of what the "grand bargain" should look like. Perhaps movement toward one will enable short term policies to support the economy.

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