1st Edition

The Politics of Bad Ideas The Great Tax Cut Delusion and the Decline of Good Government in America

By Bryan Jones, Walter Williams Copyright 2008

    This highly anticipated addition to the "Great Questions in Politics" series offers a provocative argument about the persistence of bad ideas in shaping American economic policy. The result of a collaboration between political scientist Bryan D. Jones and economist Walter Williams, The Politics of Bad Ideas is indispensable reading for any study of American government, public policy, or economic and budgetary analysis. The Politics of Bad Ideas examines why, over the last quarter century, bad economic ideas -- such as cutting taxes without cutting spending -- have become so influential in shaping government policies.  Using in-depth research and trenchant political and economic analysis, the book explores why those bad ideas continue to survive despite overwhelming evidence that they in fact cause damage to the federal government's long-term fiscal stability and the American economy.

    Preface Chapter 1: The Politics of Bad Ideas Chapter 2: The Tax Cut Theories  Chapter 3: Evaluating the Claims Chapter 4: Budgetary Politics and the Spending Mind-Set Chapter 5: Institutions, Rules, and Politics Chapter 6: Big Government Republicanism Costs Money Chapter 7: Politics, Economics, and Tax Theories  Chapter 8: The Impacts of Recent Fiscal Policies on America Chapter 9:  The Rise and Decline of Reality-Based Policymaking in the Federal Government, 1945-2006  Chapter 10: The Role of Institutions Chapter 11:  Why Do Bad Ideas Persist? Chapter 12: Escaping the Dead Weight of Bad Ideas Appendix


    Bryan D. Jones is Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics and Director of the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Washington, Seattle. His scholarly interests focus on American public policy processes. Jones' numerous books include Politics and the Architecture of Choice (Chicago, 2001), Preconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics (Chicago, 1994), both winners of the APSA Political Psychology Section Robert Lane Award, and Agendas and Instability in American Politics (co-authored with Frank Baumgartner; Chicago, 1993), winner of the 2001 Aaron Wildavsky Award for Enduring Contribution to the Study of Public Policy.

    Walter Williams is Distinguished Fellow, Center for American Politics and Public Policy, and Professor Emeritus, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington. He is a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of newspapers throughout the country. His numerous books include Reaganism and the Death of Representative Democracy (Georgetown University Press, 2003), Honest Numbers and Democracy (Georgetown University Press, 1998), and Mismanaging America (University Press of Kansas, 1990).