Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget  by David Wessel
Published in July of 2012.
What is your vote for the book that you think every student on your campus should read before the election?
The book that has the best chance of pushing our students beyond the superficial when deciding which candidate and party to support?
My vote goes to David Wessel's slim (208 pages …4 hours 10 minutes audio) Red Ink.
Every student should be asking about the impact on the budget deficit on their future economic chances. Every students should understand the relationships between taxes, spending, deficits and debt.
Every voter should be weighing the candidates stances on issues that pertain to the U.S. budget.
Our students should understand who pays taxes, and how our tax dollars are spent.
How much money goes to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, or Welfare? What spending is mandatory and what spending is discretionary?
Without a basic working knowledge of the U.S. federal budget it is almost impossible to evaluate the various claims and counterclaims about either candidates policy proposals around taxes and proposed legislation.
Wessel's book is a good choice because it should appeal to both our liberal and conservative students. I was unable to detect any particular partisan leanings in Red Ink, and I have no idea where Wessel will cast his vote.
The fact that Wessel managed to be both passionate and nonpartisan in Red Ink is an impressive achievement. Add in Wessel's mastery of the intricacies of the budget and budgeting process, and his gift for unimaginably big number into understandable choices and consequences, moves Red Ink into the "must read" category.
Which book are you recommending to your students in this election season?