Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget
By David Wessel
Crown Business, 2012. 204 pgs. Nonfiction
In an attempt to be a conscientious and informed voter in the upcoming presidential election, I decided to read David Wessel's slim new book discussing our federal budget. In five concise chapters I learned shocking fiscal facts, how the U.S. achieved our federal indebtedness, where our tax money goes, where the money actually comes from, and why something must be done to save us from our spendthrift ways.
I think what I most appreciated about "Red Ink" is the attempt Wessel makes to be as fair and balanced as possible, steering clear of political polemicizing (and also avoiding overmuch financial jargon). The result is a comprehensible and somewhat terrifying portrait of the dangerous sword of indebtedness that could skewer us all at any moment. The good news is that this big mess is still fixable, but it will require sacrifice and compromise. "Red Ink" is the perfect primer for understanding the ongoing debate about the federal budget and debt.