Murray Weidenbaum’s new book of essays offers defense of Reaganomics

“Give me a one-armed economist,” President Harry S. Truman once demanded as he vented his frustration over economic advisers who offer straightforward recommendations, then hedge their bets by tacking on a slew of caveats, often beginning with the phrase “but, on the other hand…”

Murray Weidenbaum

Weidenbaum’s essays provide a showcase for insight drawn from his experience as an economist in three arenas — business, government and academia.

Weidenbaum chaired Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1981 and 1982. In that capacity, he helped formulate the economic policy of the Reagan administration and was a key spokesperson for the administration on economic and financial issues. During the years 1983-1989, he was a member of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board.

Earlier, Weidenbaum was the first Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Nixon administration. He also served as Fiscal Economist in the U.S. Bureau of the Budget and as the Corporate Economist at the Boeing Company. He is a member of the boards of directors of Harbour Group, Macroeconomic Advisers, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He founded the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in 1975 and served as its director for many years before becoming honorary chairman in 2001. The independent think tank was recently renamed in his honor as the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy.

The list of those offering praise for Weidenbaum’s new book reads like a Who’s Who of American economic policy:

Michael J. Boskin, T.M. Friedman Professor of Economics at Stanford University and former chairman of President George Herbert Walker Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, describes the book as “must reading” for students and scholars of economic policy.

“Highly recommended,” says Boskin. “A blend of theory, history and practice, this collection of essays provides important and enduring insights into subjects as diverse as government regulation of business, tax reform, the military and presidential advising from the invaluable perspective of an academic who has also been inside business and government.”

“‘One-Armed Economist’ could easily have been titled ‘Intellectually Honest Economist,’ or ‘Clear-Eyed Economist,’ or ‘Literate Economist.’ Murray Weidenbaum is all of those things, as these essays, spanning his career, as professor, corporate planner, and top White House official, elegantly make clear. In a non-dogmatic, non-doctrinaire, clear-headed and clearly written fashion, Weidenbaum ranges over the widest range of issues involving business, government and economics. He is that rare person who can write for an audience of experts and specialists while still being able to reach a larger audience. People in business, government and academia, as well as those in corner shops and on factory floors, can benefit from his insights and experiences.”

Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

“Murray Weidenbaum is a triple threat: a wise, witty, and one-armed economist. This wonderful selection of his professional writing displays impressive public policymaking insights based on an extraordinarily rich set of experiences in the public and private sector; a refreshingly puckish and self-deprecating humor; and a most welcome willingness to say exactly what he thinks.”

Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

“With this book we all have available to us the perceptivity and wisdom of a distinguished American economist. It is good that these pieces were brought together in one package.”

Paul W. McCracken, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, Economics, and Public Policy, University of Michigan Business Schools

Editors’ Note: For more information about One-Armed Economist: On the Intersection of Business and Government, contact Karen Ornstein via email:; or via postal mail: Transaction Publishers, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Department OF0501MW, 35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA; Fax: (732) 748-9801; To place an order, please contact : ORDERS@TRANSACTIONPUB.COM; call toll-free (U.S. ONLY): 1-888-999-6778; or visit the Website: