KILLING THE SACRED COWS by Ann Crittenden

KILLING THE SACRED COWS

Bold Ideas for a New Economy
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A progressive's remedies for perceived ills allegedly created by Reaganomics. Taking as an article of faith that ``the American people clearly want...drastic change,'' Crittenden (Sanctuary, 1988) offers a potpourri of proposals designed to promote economic equity as well as growth. More notable for breadth than depth, her agenda addresses a host of problem areas ranging from federal budget deficits through cutbacks in defense spending, executive compensation, financial institutions, health care, housing, job creation, pension rights, and welfare. At the heart of Crittenden's program (whose ideas are largely borrowed from public interest groups like the Financial Democracy Campaign or from liberal critics of Republican regimes) is a more active role for government. She advocates tax credits for the working poor, incentives for start-up enterprises, escalating levies on the wealthy as well as on big business, mandatory investment in apprentice training by companies with more than 20 employees, and pay-as-you-go deposit insurance. In many instances, though, Crittenden's reliance on moral intuition rather than statistical evidence undermines her well-intentioned positions. She fails to explain, for example, exactly how the US would be better off were Washington to make income distribution more equal. In like vein, it's arguable whether New Deal initiatives (rather than the onset of WW II) ended America's Great Depression. Nonetheless, Crittenden does come up with some genuinely constructive suggestions--e.g., a GI Bill for casualties of the cold war's end, more realistic accounting of government's capital expenditures, and the linking of congressional salaries to the nation's balance sheet (meaning lawmakers could be fined, say, $1,000 each for every $1 billion of red ink they incur). A thought-provoking, if scattershot, tract.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1993
ISBN: 0-14-017321-8
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992