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Veteran Journalist Recommends Voodoo Anyone?

Veteran journalist Wes Vernon gave Accuracy in Academia’s first textbook an unreserved rave in a review in The Washington Times [1]. “In an ideal world, Voodoo Anyone? would be required reading for every journalist who communicates with the public on politics and economics,” Vernon wrote. “That would emphatically include the overwhelming majority in the mainstream media.”

“Even sportswriters or commentators should understand the market forces at play for the stratospheric salaries accorded football players, just as entertainment writers have some familiarity with celebrity performers whose pay dwarfs that of their nominal bosses.” Vernon himself worked for 25 years at the CBS Radio Stations News Service.

“This thin but—in its own focused way—comprehensive book would ideally provide a clear underpinning for economics as taught in academia,” Vernon states. “It should, but doesn’t, in part because many courses in economics are often shrouded in mystery and sometimes flavored with a goodly amount of gobbledygook—the better to maintain tenured employment for a sector of the professoriate.”

“The late author Christopher Warden brings to the table impeccable credentials as an educator and journalist, having spent eight years in the latter calling as the editorial page editor of Investor’s Business Daily.” As a reporter, Vernon covered many of these same stories and can offer a professional understanding of their media treatment or lack thereof.

Voodoo Anyone? How to Understand Economics Without Really Trying tears away much of the fog that seems to afflict media coverage of the economic facts of life,” Vernon notes. “The author/scholar lays it all out in clear concise language that everyone can understand.”

Vernon offers an interesting take on the potential impact of the book. “Indeed, one could speculate that had Voodoo Anyone? been written and widely read in the early 1980s, much of the public perplexity that initially greeted (the ultimately successful) ‘Reaganomics’ might have been avoided,” Vernon opines. “It would have made an ideal supplement to the writings, of Jude Wanniski, Art Laffer, Milton Friedman, Robert Bartley, George Gilder, Jack Kemp and other supply-siders of that era.”

“The media-influenced conventional wisdoms about the Great Depression of the 1930s, the gas lines of the 1970s and the financial meltdowns of the early-21st century would have us believe that all of these crises came about because the free market failed. Christopher Warden shows that—au contraire—those crises came about when markets were circumvented.”

“Coming just as congressional Democrats are marching the nation on the plank to government control of nearly one-sixth of the economy, Warden’s chapter on health care describes an already messed-up system that our lawmakers are determined to turn into a total disaster. Already, thanks to political monkeying that has no relation to the real world, patients want more care because the real price is hidden, and health care providers actually provide less care because they are not being fully reimbursed. That amounts to rationing.”

“The political class can’t wean itself from a penchant for going from bad to worse.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia [2].