First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity

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Overview

America’s economic future is uncertain. Mired in a long crippling economic slump and hamstrung by bitter partisan debate over the growing debt and the role of government, the nation faces substantial challenges, exacerbated by a dearth of vision and common sense among its leaders. Prominent Stanford economist John B. Taylor brings his steady voice of reason to the discussion with a natural solution: start with the country’s founding principles of economic and political freedom—limited government, rule of law, ...

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First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity

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Overview

America’s economic future is uncertain. Mired in a long crippling economic slump and hamstrung by bitter partisan debate over the growing debt and the role of government, the nation faces substantial challenges, exacerbated by a dearth of vision and common sense among its leaders. Prominent Stanford economist John B. Taylor brings his steady voice of reason to the discussion with a natural solution: start with the country’s founding principles of economic and political freedom—limited government, rule of law, strong incentives, reliance on markets, a predictable policy framework—and reconstruct its economic foundation from these proven principles.

Channeling his high-level experience as both a policymaker and researcher, Taylor then zeroes in on current policy issues—the budget, monetary policy, government regulation, tax reform—and lays out in simple terms bold strategies designed to place the country on sound footing in each of these areas.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Former treasury undersecretary Taylor (Economics/Stanford Univ.; Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis, 2009, etc.) looks to get back to the good old days "of economic freedom upon which the country was founded." These "first principles" are merely the ones of unrestricted free trade, meaning without pesky regulation and without government intervention or interference. Wave a wand and return to that, and voilà: "we can restore America's prosperity and our confidence in the future." It's up to the worker who wants to be competitive to secure the skills and education necessary to the task, all a matter of incentives and rewards. But what if such a worker finds his or her job outsourced to Asia? To do anything in the way of protecting a job would be "interventionism," while efforts to even out some of the turbulence of the so-called free market constitute dreaded and despised "short-term Keynesian discretionary" remedies. Taylor fair-mindedly notes that Republican and Democratic presidents alike have been more interventionist than less; readers who do not remember Richard Nixon's experiments in wage-and-price freezes, for instance, may be surprised to realize how, well, socialistic they seem in today's context. And the author is surely right to point out that the flaws in the banking system were far deeper than a mere bailout could fix, adding, "The extraordinary bailout measures that began with Bear Stearns before the panic were the most harmful interventions." Yet Taylor's neolibertarian prescriptions seem more dogmatic than helpful, his attacks on health-care reform a species of I've-got-mine privilege. His befuddlement at the thought that the Chinese government might jail vendors for selling nonorganic pork as organic ("there was no safety issue") hints at a failure to connect with the world outside the pages of Ayn Rand, to say nothing of grasping the concept of truth in advertising. Save the cost of the book and listen to a speech by just about any of this year's crop of GOP candidates.
U. S. Congressman Paul Ryan
“Taylor’s latest contribution could not come at a more important moment.”
U.S. Congressman - Paul Ryan
“Taylor’s latest contribution could not come at a more important moment.”
Manhattan Institute
“A clear and compelling call-to-action and an important reminder of the central link between economic freedom and prosperity.”
Washington Examiner
“A timely antidote to the gloom about the nation’s future that has overtaken too many of our intellectuals. . . . Taylor is the unusual economist who, much like Hayek, has a grasp of history and appreciates the lessons it teaches.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393073393
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/23/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 531,759
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John B. Taylor is the Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and George Shultz Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He was Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs from 2001 to 2005.

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Table of Contents

Preface 9

1 First Principles Work 15

2 Who Gets Us In and Out of These Messes? 50

3 Defusing the Debt Explosion 101

4 Monetary Rules Work and Discretion Doesn't 121

5 Ending Crony Capitalism as We Know It 144

6 Improving Lives While Spiking the Entitlement Explosion 166

7 Rebuilding American Economic Leadership 186

Notes 207

Index 221

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Dr. Taylor is a talented, well-grounded economist whose work in

    Dr. Taylor is a talented, well-grounded economist whose work in real world and academic economics carry on the traditions of von Hayek and 
    and other notables of the Austrian School, which has proven the only sound alternative to Marxist and Keynsian theories.  Taylor's approach
    in this publication and others has a decided advantage over other contemporary "economists" like Paul Krugman in that Dr. Taylor's
    analysis and prescriptions have been proven repeatedly to work in the real world.  An observation on the "reviews" included by B & N is
     that for some reason an extremely empty-headed review by an apparent Marxist at Kirkus Reviews is given space.  That was an obvious
    mistake as the "reviewer" appears to be both out of touch with current economic practice and possessed of a somewhat limited
    intellectual endowment.  I suggest buying the book and reading it, as the Kirkus reviewer apparently neglected to do. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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