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Big Picture Economics: How to Navigate the New Global Economy


Praise for Big Picture Economics

"Naroff and Scherer show how seemingly unrelated things like an upgrade of the Panama Canal, a Tex-Mex restaurant's menu change, or how many Americans are overweight turn out to be intricately linked to our daily experiences. What brings the book to life is the authors' focus on these hidden interconnections."
--Brendan Conway, columnist and blogger at Barron's

"Big Picture Economics should prove to be a very helpful and entertaining guide for a general public audience, as well as the financial professional and serious student of economics, by providing a fresh non-academic down-to-earth way to see how decisions on interest rate formation, taxation, investments, and the action of policy organizations, such as Congress and the Federal Reserve, are formed and impact our spending habits at a personal and national level. I greatly applaud the authors' ability to present an unbiased context needed to fully understand the implications at a personal financial level of several major policy decisions enacted over the last decade by our government that will have a lasting impact on the financial welfare of all Americans for years to come."
--Fred H. Dickson, CMT, SVP, Chief Investment Strategist, Davidson Companies

"Joel and Ron liven up the discussions of economics and contribute to the debate about policy. Add this book to your econ library."
--David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors

"A breath of fresh air, with lucid and perceptive insights on every page. It all sounds like common sense, but it is actually based on a close, expert reading of economic history and what that history implies for the future. Read this book to become a more educated judge of economic policy!"
--Robert Moffitt, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University

"Context and clarity are crucial to understanding the economy, and journalist Ron Scherer and economist Joel Naroff deliver both in their compelling new book Big Picture Economics: How to Navigate the New Global Economy. At a time when the media is filled with economic analysis based on emotional attachment to pet theories, Big Picture Economics is refreshingly grounded in rich detail and incisive on-the-scene reporting which has characterized Scherer's distinguished journalistic career."
--David Cook, Washington Bureau Chief, The Christian Science Monitor

JOEL L. NAROFF is a nationally recognized expert and recipient of the Lawrence Klein Award for Blue Chip forecasting excellence and the National Association of Business Economists Outlook Award. Named the Bloomberg Business News 2008 top economic forecaster, Naroff was also named top economic forecaster by MSNBC in 2006. Data compiled by Bloomberg shows Naroff as the top forecaster of the U.S. economy during a period that included the start of the global credit crisis.

RON SCHERER is a veteran journalist who has worked for UPI, U.S. News & World Report, and for The Christian Science Monitor, a prize-winning publication. In his 37 years at the Monitor, he covered Wall Street, economic policy during the Reagan administration, and many of the important news and economic events of the day.

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Economics of Context 1

Chapter 2: The Federal Reserve, Congress, and the Use of Context in Economic Policy 15

Chapter 3: We Are All Economists and Don’t Know It 35

Chapter 4: How a Perfect World Would Work 57

Chapter 5: Shopper Nation: Why We Buy or Don’t Buy 79

Chapter 6: How Is a Can of Tuna Like a Smartphone? Yes, Context! 101

Chapter 7: When to Spend, When to Cut, and When to Scratch Your Head Over the Federal Budget 123

Chapter 8: Tax Policy: Does Cutting Taxes Cure All Ills? 149

Chapter 9: Monetary Policy: Money, or Maybe the Federal Reserve, Makes the World Go ’Round 169

Chapter 10: The Panama Canal Widens and the Middle Class Grows in China--How Does That Affect Indiana? 187

Chapter 11: What Do We Do Now? 207

About the Authors 227

Index 229