THE SEVEN FAT YEARS by Robert L. Bartley


And How To Do It Again
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 From the editor of The Wall Street Journal--an ebullient and persuasive argument that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the 1990's could prove a belle Çpoque for industrial powers like the US. To Bartley, the best way to ensure a bountiful future is to understand the forces responsible for the so-called seven fat years--the period from 1983-90 when America's GNP grew by almost one third in inflation-adjusted terms. Monetary and fiscal policy apart, the author attributes the long-lived recovery/expansion to, among other factors, the breakup of a domestic political stasis, the emergence of neoclassical economic theory, and a world-class communicator in the White House. (While the author doesn't dwell on it, his newspaper also played an influential role, cheering the business community in its efforts to overcome the stagflation of the 1970's.) By Bartley's account, the US could secure another boom by resuming the policies and practices that produced prosperity during the Reagan era. Not too surprisingly, he puts further tax cuts (to promote a renaissance of entrepreneurial enterprise) and spending curbs at the top of his agenda. As for perceived problems such as the federal budget deficit and the S&L debacle, the author views them through a conservative's eyes, meaning he dismisses the one as irrelevant and attributes the other to venal lawmakers who kept regulatory authorities from doing their jobs in timely fashion. Bartley goes on to caution that if elitist opinion-makers insist on seeking atonement for putative excesses of the past in renewed intervention or other self-defeating courses, the country could well face seven lean years. He also warns that even the US can no longer isolate itself behind protectionist trade barriers from the Global Village's economy. Shrewd, informed commentary on the socioeconomic and political state of the union.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1992
ISBN: 0-02-901915-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992