Summary of White House Burning

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White House Burning book summary


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The Founding Fathers might listen to today’s political harangues about the United States’ debt and deficits with bemusement. Not much has changed in the more than 200 years of America’s existence, except that the absolute numbers are a lot bigger than they were in 1776. Throughout US history, prudent and productive borrowing has advanced the nation’s economic progress. Today’s challenge – a growing number of retirees supported by fewer workers – offers a new twist to an old problem. Yet good remedies (a couple of which, like Congressional trims to George W. Bush’s tax cuts, have taken place since the book came out) exist to keep the US out of the financial abyss, say professors Simon Johnson and James Kwak, the co-authors of 13 Bankers. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends their levelheaded, rigorous explanation of what the US’s debt and deficits really mean.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How debt and deficits form a recurring theme in US history,
  • How America spends its money and how that affects the deficit,
  • What myths exist about the deficit, and
  • What remedies can tackle the deficit and protect Americans.

About the Authors

MIT professor Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, and University of Connecticut Law School Professor James Kwak previously wrote 13 Bankers.



A History of Debt and Deficits
The US was born “a fiscal basket case.” Burdened with debt, the new nation defaulted on its principal and interest payments during its first years as a state. It could barely provide for its troops, who prevailed over the British during the Revolutionary ...

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By the same authors

  • 13 Bankers

    Simon Johnson and James Kwak

    Pantheon Books, 2010


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