wage and investment levels would be setnby local political authorities. Thus thenproduction of goods and services wouldnbe severely discouraged under a plannrequiring producers to pay off all sortsnof racial minorities, the poor and thenenvironmentally affected. This plannwould subject producers to severe criminalnsanctions for any violation of safety,nhealth and consumer-protection standards,nand then dispose of any residualnprofit by politically regulating wagesnand prices. This is entirely consistentnwith Hayden’s apparent belief that mostneconomic activity in America generatesnmore costs than benefits. The virulencenof Hayden’s hostility to productionnmakes him resemble one of Ayn Rand’snless sophisticated villains.nPerhaps the most revealing measurenof the quality of Hayden’s thought isnthe lack of correspondence between thenproblems he is attempting to addressnand the solution he proposes. He complainsnof cultural corruption, pollution,nthe power of multinational corporationsnand the costs of interjurisdictionalnmovements of production. His solutionnto these alleged national and internationalnproblems is to concentrate politicalnpower at the local level. Yet, as longnas diverse policies were followed by differentnlocal jurisdictions, productivenbusinesses and individuals could easilynescape Hayden’s punitive regulations bynfleeing to less hostile communities. Innthe absence of strong state and localnregulatory authority, the very pollutingnand destructive operations Hayden seeksnto suppress could function with impunityna few miles upwind from his house, if anneighboring local authority were perversenenough to believe that the benefitsnfrom productive activity exceeded thencosts. This possibility would be evennmore likely if the costs could be imposednon people in other jurisdictions, so a shiftnof regulatory authority to the local levelnmight well result in a net increase in thenvery activities Hayden wishes tonsuppress.nIn short, both the problems Haydennidentifies and the solutions he proposesnChronicles of Culturenare fantasies, and inane fantasies at that.nIt is difficult to understand what audiencenhis book seeks to address, as anynreader possessed of sufficient determinationnto finish the work would be mostnunlikely to find its contents impressivenor enlightening.nINothing seems to excite the hubrisnof the professional writer so much asnwriting about economics. Like any goodnjournalist, Robert Kuttner would probablynregard it as highly unprofessionalnto print names, dates or figures withoutnverifying their accuracy, yet he has nonhesitation in asserting, without the supportnof a single footnote, that equal taxncuts for big business and for low-incomenindividuals would have the sameneconomic effects. Which puts his actnat about the intellectual level of anstand-up comic.nNoneconomists of every politicalnstripe like to pretend that any publicpolicyndecision can be reduced largelynnnto a matter of ideology and opinion,nsince this allows them to hold forth onnimportant but complicated mattersnwithout taking the trouble to understandnthem. Thus, for Kuttner, the storynof tax policy is a story of personalities,npressure groups, public sentiment andndevious special interests; any evidencenbearing on the actual economic impactnof tax changes is awarded only brief andnoften derisive references. This approachnwould be reasonable if Kuttner restrictednhimself to presenting a narrative andnpolitical analysis of recent Americanntax and spending limitation initiatives.nWithin his areas of expertise—journalismnand political science—Kuttner presentsna lucid and well-reasoned discussion.nUnfortunately he also insists onndiscussing a myriad of complex economicnquestions while referring to, atnmost, a dozen academic sources.nPublic finance is one of the oldestnand best-established areas of economicninquiry. There is a mass of empiricalnevidence relevant to tax questions,nwhich any professor or graduate studentnin the field could easily summarizenfor a nonprofessional audience. Yet fornKuttner the evidence seems not to matter,neven though he considers tax questionsnimportant enough for an eightypagendiscussion. He devotes a dozennpages to discussing the relationshipnbetween the level of the capital-gainsntax and investment, of which a singlenparagraph mentions a few empiricalnstudies. A three-page discussion, whichnbrands accelerated depreciation for businessnassets as a “raid on the treasury”nand the “latest tax-cut gimmick,” surento have no impact on the level of investment,nrefers to no evidence at all—notneven to several recent studies that lendnsome support to these conclusions.nSometimes the absence of referencesnbecomes almost bizarre. Kuttner attacksna body of literature which suggestsnthat the rate of capital formation is influencednby the level of taxation, but henidentifies no more than two or three ofnthe works he criticizes. He states thatnhis view is supported by other research-n