John J Siegfried

The author talk with John J. Siegfried went over without a hitch today and served as a good kick-off point for our Meet the Author Series. Siegfried used a powerpoint presentation to speak about various economic trade reforms made over the past fifty years, organizing his subjects in rough chronological order. In particular, he focused on flight regulations and how they have led to a much higher capacity of flyers in the past several decades. He also related anecdotes from his life to various talking points; often, it seemed that his main goal was to teach us how to save money, as illustrated by the various models he spoke of. The elusive cover of his book, Better Living Through Economics, was also explained. It is a picture of a series of chickens, their heads symmetrically jutting down from the top of the page, each matched with a pot, in a line directly below.  This is a reference to the expression ‘A chicken for every pot,’ which was altered by president Herbert Hoover to be ‘Two chickens for every pot.’ He was referring to the economic prosperity that he wanted for America. This served as Siegfried’s jumping point for his entire talk. Although some of what Siegfried spoke about went over my head, and although there were perhaps a lack of questions, his talk was an informative session for economics students and teachers and illustrated problems we have every day– whether or not to spend or save money, where the next paycheck is coming from– in a larger, (frequently) political context. He stated his own free-market opinion of allowing people to not have health insurance as long as a hospital can turn them away if their condition is not life threatening. This was one of the few times when he stated his own opinion and is a view I find somewhat problematic (though relevant to our recent/ongoing health care debate). I guess I can’t ask John Siegfried to pay for my next hospital bill.  Shucks, I was looking forward to that. Please join us tomorrow at noon in room 90 for Killing Time!