What Went Right in the 1980s

Overview

More and more we hear that the 1980s was a "Decade of Greed," the prosperity was fake, the rich got richer, charity faded, and deregulation failed. Do you believe it?

Richard McKenzie, professor of economics at the University of California at Irvine, wasn't sure -- until he started to investigate. Then he found evidence, presented here, that systematically refutes these claims and dismisses them as media themes and political rhetoric. In reality, he says, the 1980s boasts the ...

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Overview

More and more we hear that the 1980s was a "Decade of Greed," the prosperity was fake, the rich got richer, charity faded, and deregulation failed. Do you believe it?

Richard McKenzie, professor of economics at the University of California at Irvine, wasn't sure -- until he started to investigate. Then he found evidence, presented here, that systematically refutes these claims and dismisses them as media themes and political rhetoric. In reality, he says, the 1980s boasts the most positive economic record in American history, and it deserves due recognition.

"This should be required reading at the Congressional Budget Office." (Hon. Dick Armey, U.S. House of Representatives)

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Editorial Reviews

Dennis Chase
The 1980s were a decade of greed, only the rich did well, charities struggled, and deregulation flopped. That's the conventional wisdom, and it begs for an activator to stimulate debate. McKenzie does a nice job of puncturing balloons; in fact, he shows that the 1980s weren't a decade of greed at all. Charitable giving rose dramatically. Employment spiraled upward, in contrast to the daily announcements of layoffs in the 1990s. All of these arguments, and particularly the analysis of income distribution, are heavy on graphs, charts, and footnotes, giving the book credibility but also giving it an academic quality in spots. This is a book for economics-minded people who want to go deep into the numbers, but it can also be read quite comfortably by noneconomists. It is not "balanced"; rather, its design is to balance the conventional wisdom that reads another way in most texts. Also, it's not as accessible, and therefore not as good, as Robert Bartley's "The Seven Fat Years and How to Do It Again" (1992), but it comes close.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780936488714
  • Publisher: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Reality Is Tricky 1
Ch. 2 The Misunderstood "Decline of America" 15
Ch. 3 The Decade of Greed That Wasn't 55
Ch. 4 Politics of the Rich and the Poor: Incomes 77
Ch. 5 Politics of the Rich and the Poor: Expenditures 141
Ch. 6 The Dance With the Debt Devil That Was Something of a Waltz 167
Ch. 7 Retreat of the Part Time Economy 213
Ch. 8 The Reagan Record 253
Ch. 9 The Bright Side of Government Deficits 287
Ch. 10 The Assault on Deregulation 310
Ch. 11 The 1990s: Prospects for Prosperity 357
Index 385
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