Thank God the Republican and Democrat National Conventions are over. Now the real fun begins sorting out the half-truths from both sides of the aisle. There’s been so much negative advertising I’m almost ready to not vote. Oh and can my so-called friends on Facebook stop with the Obama/Romney/Love/Hate posts. I’m pretty sure I know who I’m voting for and I could care less for another SomeeCards pic.
But I digress. The issues do matter and as Obama fights for a second term and Romney (who went to high school less than 2 miles from my Mac) tries to tear down as much positivity he can, there’s one topic that is the standout for 2012: the Economy. Yeah, that’s a huge 7-letter word. Dare I say that the vast majority do not understand what the hell it is, what it means, or how to fix it. All we hear about everyday is the Unemployment number, The Stock Market index and the price at the Gas Pump.
Where to turn? Thankfully there’s a new book out that everyone in America should read. It’s called Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn’t Work) In Words And Pictures by Michael Goodwin and illustrations by Dan E. Burr. It’s unlike anything you’ve read before and I can guarantee that it’ll be up for an Eisner Award next summer.
In its simplest form, Economix is a history textbook. Starting back in the 1600′s, Goodwin explains, in plain English, just what an economy is, including all the different forms throughout the years, how the political system influences it and how war is a major player in spending and power. Taking a que from the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books, Dan E. Barr’s art is full of brilliant cartoonish renderings of people, places and things. Funny when depicting government lunacy and poignant troubles in the world like 9/11 all the while being informative. Goodwin and Barr have all the major players including Adam Smith, Lenin, Stalin, Alan Greenspan and just about every U.S. President. But like I said, that’s being simplistic.
At the heart it’s a wake up call to all Americans and to a wide extent people worldwide. I thought I knew Econ 101 from what I learned in college and reading in the Wall Street Journal from time to time, but boy have I been blind. There’ more to the economy the balancing the budget or raising taxes. Those are concepts we can all understand because it hits us in our wallets. Or does it? For example many laws enacted by Congress do not take effect for years down the road, thus the other political party (or President ) has several attempts to repeal laws. And what about business, the backbone of America? We all would like to build something from nothing, have it grow so our kids can prosper and afford to go to college so they can succeed. There’s no doubt that business runs our country. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, tough. Companies are taxed and contribute heavily in charitable donations. Conversely, small businesses employ and contribute their share, too. Washington depends on business to do well and business depends on Washington to let them work with minimal restrictions. That’s the cycle and for the most part it works. The trouble is that not all do their fair share. Businesses both big, medium and small cheat; government spends unwisely and a whopping 42% of American pay no income tax what-so-ever! Think of where the good ‘ol USA would be today if we just all followed the rules.
Goodwin keeps it level and doesn’t stray to far to the right or left. After his intense studying of the subject he does give ideas on what America can do to improve. And after you read it you will, too. Here are mine:
Let’s face it, Economics is tough and a single person can’t do much on the federal scale, but we can do our part locally.
- Volunteer – anywhere and anything. It can be a Little League or the school PTO.
- Get involved at your church or synagogue. No shortage of To-Do lists there.
- Do more for your local library. We’re all book nerds, right? Here’s your chance to show it.
- Be active in local county and city politics.
That’s just a start, of course. The bottom line is that you are better ff when you are informed. Big business and Washington may run our lives from a far, but that doesn’t mean that have to run it from our front porch.
Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work), in Words and Pictures
By Michael Goodwin, illustrated by Dan E. Burr, foreword by David Bach, introduction by Joel Bakan
304 pages, $19.99, September 2012, Abrams ComicArts
Kings in Disguise: A Novel by Dan E. Burr