Ever wonder why we allow six guys in hardhats to stand around doing nothing while traffic snarls? Why you can’t refinance your home mortgage because other people stopped paying on theirs? Why young people in poor-paying jobs with small children are forced to pay a large percentage of their incomes to people who had decades to work and save? How healthcare and health insurance got so expensive? If you’ve asked yourself any of these or similar questions or gotten queasy contemplating what passes for economic analysis in the media, this book is for you.
FUBAR, an acronym stemming from World War II Gl slang, means “Fouled Up (or some other `F’ word) Beyond All Recognition.” To economic historian Robert E. Wright, “fubarnomics” perfectly captures the sorry state of our economy today.
In this witty, informative, and nonpartisan overview of contemporary economic ills, Wright takes a fresh approach to public policy by finding fault with both the government and the market, and with both Democrats and Republicans. Wright convincingly shows that major economic trouble has almost always been the result of a hybrid failure, a combination of bad policymaking and marketplace deficiencies. Wright examines contemporary and historical examples of FUBAR across a wide spectrum, from mainstay social institutions, such as higher education, to cataclysmic national upheavals, such as the Great Depression. In analyzing our most current crises, he offers unique insights into the recent crippling recession, including the subprime mortgage meltdown, as well as the ever-present healthcare crisis and the perennial problem of Social Security.
Beyond identifying the major problems, Wright also offers practical solutions. From creating combined life-healthcare insurance policies and divorcing healthcare from employment, to subsidizing students instead of colleges and universities, and mimicking Social Security with private insurance and long-term bonds, his suggestions are provocative and creative, and they may just solve some of the thorniest problems facing us today.