White House Burning by Simon Johnson

71%

13 Critic Reviews

The authors are especially strong in their demonstration of the fallacy of likening government debt to the debt of an individual family.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

America is mired in debt—more than $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. Bitter fighting over deficits, taxes, and spending bedevils Washington, D.C., even as partisan gridlock has brought the government to the brink of default. Yet the more politicians on both sides of the aisle rant and the citizenry fumes, the more things seem to remain the same.
 
In White House Burning, Simon Johnson and James Kwak—authors of the national best seller 13 Bankers and cofounders of The Baseline Scenario, a widely cited blog on economics and public policy—demystify the national debt, explaining whence it came and, even more important, what it means to you and to future generations. They tell the story of the Founding Fathers’ divisive struggles over taxes and spending. They chart the rise of the almighty dollar, which makes it easy for the United States to borrow money. They account for the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s, which produced today’s dysfunctional and impotent Congress. And they show how, if we persist on our current course, the national debt will harm ordinary Americans by reducing the number of jobs, lowering living standards, increasing inequality, and forcing a sudden and drastic reduction in the government services we now take for granted.
 
But Johnson and Kwak also provide a clear and compelling vision for how our debt crisis can be solved while strengthening our economy and preserving the essential functions of government. They debunk the myth that such crucial programs as Social Security and Medicare must be slashed to the bone. White House Burning looks squarely at the burgeoning national debt and proposes to defuse its threat to our well-being without forcing struggling middle-class families and the elderly into poverty.
 
Carefully researched and informed by the same compelling storytelling and lucid analysis as 13 Bankers, White House Burning is an invaluable guide to the central political and economic issue of our time. It is certain to provoke vigorous debate.

 

About Simon Johnson

See more books from this Author
Simon Johnson is Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is coauthor, with James Kwak, of The Baseline Scenario, a leading economic blog, described by Paul Krugman as "a must-read" and by Bill Moyers as "one of the most informative news sites in the blogosphere."James Kwak has had a successful business career as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as a software entrepreneur.
 
Published April 3, 2012 by Vintage. 368 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for White House Burning
All: 13 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
Apr 01 2012

The authors are especially strong in their demonstration of the fallacy of likening government debt to the debt of an individual family.

Read Full Review of White House Burning | See more reviews from Kirkus

Wall Street Journal

Below average
Reviewed by James Grant on Mar 30 2012

Myself, I take umbrage at their interpretation of the American past.

Read Full Review of White House Burning | See more reviews from Wall Street Journal

Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Gillian Tett on Apr 14 2012

So is there any solution? To their credit, Johnson and Kwak attempt to offer one. . .

Read Full Review of White House Burning | See more reviews from Financial Times

Huffington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Dean Baker on Mar 26 2012

Perhaps more importantly, their chain of causation can lead to false conclusions.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Keane on May 01 2012

White House Burning is a thorough, scholarly account of how the country got into this predicament and how it can dig its way out.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Mar 25 2012

Johnson and Kwak thankfully dispel the widespread notion that a national debt totaling trillions of dollars means the government is too big.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Las Vegas Review Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Sherman Frederick on Apr 29 2012

But incurring debt is easier than reducing the debt. And here, authors Johnson and Kwak nail the big issue of the day.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Bloomberg

Below average
Reviewed by James Pressley on Apr 16 2012

. . .readers will agree that government should stop heaping debt upon debt. They may be less enthusiastic when Johnson and Kwak propose to increase Medicare premiums, introduce a value-added tax and phase out the mortgage-interest deduction.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

New Economist

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Hoexter on Apr 21 2012

White House Burning misdirects our attention to public debts and continues to promote an antiquated conception of how money and government work.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

The Somerville News

Excellent
Reviewed by William Shelton on Apr 27 2012

. . .so sensible, thoroughly researched and non ideological that its ideas are worth sharing.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Frogen Yozurt

Good
Reviewed by Wilfried Voss on Apr 05 2012

Carefully researched. . .White House Burning is an invaluable guide to the central political and economic issue of our time.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Graham Broke the Mold

Good
Apr 20 2012

There are many terrific things in the book "White House Burning" and I can honestly say reading it was a labor of love.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Econbrowser

Good
Reviewed by Menzie Chinn on Mar 26 2012

White House Burning is an excellent explication of how sheer ignorance of history (not to mention economics) can lead to policy prescriptions sure to lead to disaster.

Read Full Review of White House Burning

Reader Rating for White House Burning
72%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 86 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×