Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? (And Other Unsolved Economic Mysteries) / Edition 1

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Is Social Security really going bust, and what does that mean to me? If I hire an immigrant, am I hurting a native-born worker? How much can presidents really affect economic outcomes? Why does the stock market go up when employment declines? What's a "living wage?" Why do I feel so squeezed?

If you'd like to know the answers to these questions, premier economist Jared Bernstein is here to help. In "Crunch" he answers these as well as dozens of others he has fielded from working Americans by email, on blogs, and at events where he speaks. Chances are if there's a stumper you've always wanted to ask an economist, it's solved in this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

According to economist and author Bernstein (All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy), the endless parade of economic legislation and corporate criminality that keep the rich getting richer are all a direct product of economic knowledge being monopolized and manipulated by the rich, keeping the middle and lower classes woefully unprepared to understand, much less stand up to, the economic forces aligned against them. Fortunately, this accessible overview should clear things up for even the most befogged reader. Answering questions from an average American perspective-"the ones in the vise grip of the crunch"-Bernstein explains murky topics like health care reform, minimum wage laws, the Federal Reserve, immigration and budget deficits with a clear, friendly manner that sidesteps any scholarly (and/or sinister) obfuscation. His progressive "we're all in this togther" philosophy, though seemingly familiar, is backed up with enough data and savvy to illuminate what's wrong in the dominant "self-reliance" narrative of American political discourse. This down-to-earth, populist guide to the pressing economic issues of our time is a clarifying, useful and empowering resource.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

Economist Bernstein (All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy) has done the American electorate an enormous service by writing this witty and perceptive primer on economics-and just in time for the presidential election. He covers virtually all aspects of economic activity and candidly notes and responds to the basic concerns of ordinary Americans. Espousing his concept of "progressive economics," Bernstein largely succeeds in cutting through the fog of typical economic mumbo jumbo with refreshingly straight talk, making indicators like "gross domestic product" (GDP) easy to understand. Wondering if those tax cuts for the rich really are necessary? Bernstein convincingly argues they're not. Is the country in a recession? He shares some invaluable insight showing that, if we aren't already in a recession, we might soon be facing one. Unfortunately, his discussion predates the economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress. The bottom line for Bernstein is that economics should provide solutions, not create problems, for consumers. To that end, his book is a clarion call to remind us that the political slogan "It's the economy, stupid!" is just as timely as ever. Highly recommended for all business/economics collections.
—Richard Drezen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576754771
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: BK Currents (Hardcover) Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Jared Bernstein is senior economist and director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He is the author of All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy and is the coauthor of eight editions of The State of Working America. His work has been published in The American Prospect, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the New York Daily News. As well as being a featured weekly commentator on a variety of CNBC programs such as Kudlow & Company and The Call, he makes regular appearances on various NPR programs, including Morning Edition and Marketplace.
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Table of Contents

Preface     iv
Introduction: So What Is Economics, Anyway?     1
The Big Squeeze
Why Do I Feel So Squeezed?     6
Econ-Noir     12
All Is Not As It Appears: Measuring Economic Outcomes     16
Whatever Happened to the Cleavers?     20
The Health Care Squeeze     25
The Medical Industrial Complex     29
Health Care Reform     34
Poverty Amid Plenty: The Whats     38
Poverty Amid Plenty: The Whys     41
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?     44
The ABCs of Worker Pay     47
What's So Bad About Inequality?     50
All Education, All the Time     54
Don't Know Much About GDP
Gross Domestic Product     61
Unemployment: Wall Street vs. Main Street     64
Underemployment     68
Making Better Doughnuts     71
Inflation     74
What's a Recession?     77
Blowing Bubbles     83
The Night of the Living Wage (and Other Scary Stories)     87
Your Textbook Got It Wrong     91
Political Economy 202
Social Insecurity     99
Economists in Chief     104
The Fed     109
The Budget Deficit (Part 1)     114
The Budget Deficit (Part 2, in Which a Nobelist Agrees with Me     118
The Economy and the Military     121
Guns or Butter     124
A New WPA?     128
"Please Remain on the Line"     130
The World Ain't Flat As All That
What's Right and Wrong About Globalization?     135
Outsourcing     141
The Conscience of a Shopper     144
World Trade     148
Globalization and Greed     151
How the Capitalists Killed Capitalism     152
Undocumented Workers     154
The Not-So-Great Immigration Debate     156
What's So Bad About a Labor Shortage?     159
The Mighty Dollar     161
Can Economists Save the Planet?     164
The Reconnection Agenda
Easing the Squeeze     169
Health Care     173
Immigration     178
Education     180
Globalization     183
What's Left?     186
Conclusion: The Lesson of the Rink     191
Notes     199
Acknowledgments     219
Index     221
About the Author     226

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Training and Hunting Grounds

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Blahhhhh blahhhhhh blahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Why income in equality is growing in America

    At last someone has written a lucid explanation of the American middle class's financial stagnation. Economist Jared Bernstein - chief economic adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden - provides a tremendous service to millions of Americans who wonder why so many two-income households remain financially insecure. Bernstein understands that most economics writing is impenetrable. He explains in lively prose why financial inequality is alive and well in 21st-century America. It's an issue the mainstream media rarely covers. The book is structured around the gimmick of answering American's most common questions about economics, and some of the miniessays don't connect, but getAbstract recommends it to working people who want to know why they are entrenched in the proverbial rat race despite political promises that they are on the verge of financial security - a state, Bernstein emphasizes, that will remain elusive for most Americans.

    To learn more about this book, check out the following Web page:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2008

    It's the super-rich versus the rest of us!

    This is a fabulous, humorous book. Jared's approach allows readers to see things they never really saw before. I highly recommend this book, but I also warn that it may depress many readers. I recommend that in addition to Crunch, readers should look into books that teach them how to compete with the rich at their own game (rather than feeling sorry for themselves).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

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