For years now, Americans have called for a balanced budget, debt reduction, and fiscal sanity. Yet the federal government continues to spend beyond its income, driving the level of federal debt up and public confidence down. Why is that? Why have the monsters of public financepork-barrel spending, entitlements, and the deficitremained unchecked for so long? What effects have they had on our economy and our politics? What, if anything, can be done to tame them?This concise, well-written primer of American political economy offers answers to these questions and more, all the while covering a vast and complicated intellectual terrain in an accessible and engaging way. Political scientist G. Calvin Mackenzie and economist Saranna Thornton combine forces here to clear up some of the mysteries of contemporary economic theory and practice. They take us on a sweeping tour of the economic turning points in our national history and then go on to discuss what it will take to make sound economic policy and, ultimately, good government for the twenty-first century.Everyonebut especially students of American government, public policy, economics, and businessshould have a copy of this on the shelf to help them make sense of the economic news and its political ramifications.