"Many years ago my family ordered me to remove my shoes before sitting down to watch the evening news," recalls George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux in his new book, Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Cafe Hayek.
"Seldom had I spent 30 minutes of any given evening watching the likes of Dan Rather without my wanting to throw my shoe at his face after he uttered some absurd economic fallacy."
So the barefooted Boudreaux began writing letters instead. A decade later he's penned nearly 5,000 missives not just to network news executives but to newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs. The highlights are collected in his new book.
Many of Boudreaux's epistles offer concise explanations of basic economics for misguided journalists. In a note to NPR's Tom Gjelten, for example, he explains why "imbalanced" trade is not something to be concerned about. In a letter to The Economist, he analogizes using price controls to tamper inflation to "trying to control the temperature of a room by rigging thermometers so that they never record readings above 72 degrees." In another letter, Boudreaux aims his pen at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for sending him an email promoting activities in which you "give back to the community."
"Your profits aren't pirate booty," Boudreaux tells the Ritz. "[T]hey're legitimate earnings."
Boudreaux sat down with ReasonTV correspondent Kennedy for a chat about the art of letter writing, the state of economic literacy in America, and why markets as far more robust than he once thought.
Approximately 7 minutes.
Shot by Jim Epstein and Josh Swain, and edited by Epstein.