Art Laffer, an economist renowned for the childlike simplicity of his theories, has decided to enter the children’s book market. His new book Let’s Chat About Economics! was coauthored by writer Michelle Balconi, who heard Laffer speak at on a panel and enthused “I was listening and I just really wanted my kids to be there. I said to my husband, ‘We have to talk about this tonight.’” I’m sure Mrs. Balconi’s kids are grateful to have missed the event.
The actual content of the book is comprised of straightforward economic concepts couched in familiar settings for children, like planning a vacation for spring break (diminishing returns) or buying groceries (budgeting and scarcity). The Laffer curve is not included, but there are fun and colorful graphs to illustrate ideas in ways that kids can understand. Perhaps Laffer can send a few free copies to the Kansas public school libraries decimated by budget cuts in the wake of disastrous tax policies he championed.
Given the recent success of Mr. Laffer’s book, here are a few more titles he might consider:
Sam Brownback and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year: Poor Sam Brownback! From the moment he passed deep income tax cuts, nothing has gone his way. Revenues are way under projection, economic growth and jobs have failed to materialize, and he had to propose tax increases to keep Kansas solvent. It’s enough to make a governor want to move to Australia.
Harriet the Supply-Sider: Harriet M. Welsch is a precocious eleven-year-old and aspiring writer who believes that tax cuts for the wealthy will generate prosperity for everyone. When the other students at her progressive New York City elementary school catch wind of her political views she is shunned, but she gets the last laugh as a successful novelist under the pseudonym Ayn Rand.
The Borrowers: A fantasy novel about tiny politicians that live in the walls of an English home, this story features a wee president who is forced to take things from the Big People in order to pay for tax cuts and boost military spending.
Bridge to Topeka: Two lonely and imaginative young children create a fantasy bridge to Topeka, Kansas, when the original one collapses due to inadequate funding that delayed routine maintenance.
Frog and Toad are Austrians: Frog and Toad may be opposites, but there is one thing they can agree on: The United States should return to the gold standard and abolish the Federal Reserve.
The Job-Giver: This utopian tale is set in the near future, where society has eliminated all pain and strife by appointing the wealthiest man in town – the “Job-Giver” – as ruler.
Miss Nelson Was Laid-Off! When Miss Nelson’s students constantly take advantage of her kind nature, she takes a leave of absence and is replaced by a long-term substitute, the strict Miss Viola Swamp. The students believe this to be a ruse, but it is revealed that Miss Nelson was let go due to budget cuts.
The Grinch Who Stole Pensions: The mean old Grinch is at it again! This time, he’s run for and won a seat in the state legislature, using his power to try and wiggle out of his state’s pension obligations to teachers and police officers.