Martin Fridson

Unwarranted Intrusions

Politicians invariably cite lofty purposes to justify government intervention in the marketplace. On closer examination, the intercessions usually turn out to be clever schemes for buying support from special interests with taxpayers' money. The already advantaged turn out to be the biggest beneficiaries, while the resulting misallocation of resources afflicts society at large.

In Unwarranted Intrusions, well-known financial commentator Martin Fridson turns his sharp eye for investment deceptions and accounting ruses to subterfuges practiced by the U.S. government. His exhaustive research reveals politicians from both sides of the aisle basing legislation on elementary economic fallacies. George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton play their parts in the story, along with less likely figures such as Al Jolson and Bozo the Clown.

The opening part, A Nation of Subsidies, focuses on government meddling that ranges from trade protection and publicly financed athletic stadiums to subsidies for the arts. You'll chuckle as Fridson gleefully debunks the supposed market failures that officeholders use to justify their machinations.

Part two, Restraint of Trade, assails government intrusions into ordinary commercial activities, such as apartment rentals, the operation of automatic teller machines, and even television audience ratings. You'll be forced to reexamine your assumptions about protecting the public against volatile stock markets and music industry payola.

In the final part, Telling It Like It Isn't, Fridson details how politicians rely on misrepresentations to foist badly conceived policies on the electorate. From exaggerating their impact on the nation's economic performance to periodically pretending to clean up campaign finance, Fridson shows that politicians repeatedly prove themselves to be masters of false advertising. Costly government intervention operates on such a vast scale that there is no chance of immediately dismantling it all. The good news is that one small victory can represent a huge gain in public well-being. Filled with in-depth insight and practical advice, Unwarranted Intrusions will open your mind to the possibility of putting our dysfunctional system back on track.

Praise for UNWARRANTED INTRUSIONS

"Marty Fridson has tackled the most important question in political economy: What are the consequences of government intervention in markets? Whether the subject is mortgage subsidies or record company payola or savings incentives, Fridson combines relentless logic and a light, engaging touch to demonstrate that intervention doesn't just make markets less efficient, it also advantages the big guy at the expense of the little guy. No one can afford to miss this analysis."
—Noam Scheiber, Senior Editor, The New Republic

"Martin Fridson knows how to tell a good story. In Unwarranted Intrusions he recounts a series of spellbinding morality tales about what really happens when government intervenes in the marketplace. If the book were mainly about 'the cost of good intentions'—government over-reaching itself to rein in greedy capitalists—its message would be far less disturbing. It's really about the cost of bad intentions—about the unholy alliance between certain capitalists and government in general, irrespective of political party, to rein us all in."
—Gene Epstein, Economics Editor, Barron's

"Much of our daily life involves choices among goods where the benefits don't match the costs—the arts, spectator sports, imports, education, health, research, and development. Until now, developing an appreciation of proper decision making in these areas was the province of economists who used technical and specialized techniques involving models for solving the free rider, externality, tragedies of the commons, and excusable consumption. Now, for the first time, Fridson provides a sharp, direct, focused, practical, and commonsense approach to navigating in these areas. Every investor, parent, teacher, economist, politician, and especially layman should have this incisive and important book."
—Victor Niederhoffer, rated #1 commodity trading adviser 2003–2005 by MAR for funds over $50 million, and author of The Education of a Speculator and Practical Speculation

"A free economy is the greatest engine of prosperity in history. Unfortunately, special interest groups from across the political spectrum constantly burden the market with what Martin Fridson properly calls unwarranted intrusions. In this book, he offers solid advice on taxes and trade. But the book is particularly delightful for Fridson's insightful analysis of topics that are rarely examined sensibly, such as short selling, radio payola, and ATM fees."
—David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute

About the Author
Martin Fridson has achieved distinction both as a writer and as an investment professional. He has written on economics for Barron's and is a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Fridson received his BA cum laude in history from Harvard College and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He previously served as governor of the CFA Institute and director of the New York Society of Security Analysts. In 2002, the Financial Management Association International named Fridson the Financial Executive of the Year. The following year, he launched Leverage World, the first independent research publication focused on high-yield bond strategy. Fridson is coauthor of Financial Statement Analysis and author of How to Be a Billionaire, both published by Wiley.



In Unwarranted Intrusions, well-known financial commentator Martin Fridson turns his sharp eye for investment deceptions and accounting ruses to subterfuges practiced by the U.S. government. His exhaustive research reveals politicians from both sides of the aisle basing legislation on elementary economic fallacies. George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton play their parts in the story, along with less likely figures such as Al Jolson and Bozo the Clown.

The opening part, A Nation of Subsidies, focuses on government meddling that ranges from trade protection and publicly financed athletic stadiums to subsidies for the arts. You'll chuckle as Fridson gleefully debunks the supposed market failures that officeholders use to justify their machinations.

Part two, Restraint of Trade, assails government intrusions into ordinary commercial activities, such as apartment rentals, the operation of automatic teller machines, and even television audience ratings. You'll be forced to reexamine your assumptions about protecting the public against volatile stock markets and music industry payola.

In the final part, Telling It Like It Isn't, Fridson details how politicians rely on misrepresentations to foist badly conceived policies on the electorate. From exaggerating their impact on the nation's economic performance to periodically pretending to clean up campaign finance, Fridson shows that politicians repeatedly prove themselves to be masters of false advertising. Costly government intervention operates on such a vast scale that there is no chance of immediately dismantling it all. The good news is that one small victory can represent a huge gain in public well-being. Filled with in-depth insight and practical advice, Unwarranted Intrusions will open your mind to the possibility of putting our dysfunctional system back on track.

Praise for UNWARRANTED INTRUSIONS

"Marty Fridson has tackled the most important question in political economy: What are the consequences of government intervention in markets? Whether the subject is mortgage subsidies or record company payola or savings incentives, Fridson combines relentless logic and a light, engaging touch to demonstrate that intervention doesn't just make markets less efficient, it also advantages the big guy at the expense of the little guy. No one can afford to miss this analysis."
—Noam Scheiber, Senior Editor, The New Republic

"Martin Fridson knows how to tell a good story. In Unwarranted Intrusions he recounts a series of spellbinding morality tales about what really happens when government intervenes in the marketplace. If the book were mainly about 'the cost of good intentions'—government over-reaching itself to rein in greedy capitalists—its message would be far less disturbing. It's really about the cost of bad intentions—about the unholy alliance between certain capitalists and government in general, irrespective of political party, to rein us all in."
—Gene Epstein, Economics Editor, Barron's

"Much of our daily life involves choices among goods where the benefits don't match the costs—the arts, spectator sports, imports, education, health, research, and development. Until now, developing an appreciation of proper decision making in these areas was the province of economists who used technical and specialized techniques involving models for solving the free rider, externality, tragedies of the commons, and excusable consumption. Now, for the first time, Fridson provides a sharp, direct, focused, practical, and commonsense approach to navigating in these areas. Every investor, parent, teacher, economist, politician, and especially layman should have this incisive and important book."
—Victor Niederhoffer, rated #1 commodity trading adviser 2003–2005 by MAR for funds over $50 million, and author of The Education of a Speculator and Practical Speculation

"A free economy is the greatest engine of prosperity in history. Unfortunately, special interest groups from across the political spectrum constantly burden the market with what Martin Fridson properly calls unwarranted intrusions. In this book, he offers solid advice on taxes and trade. But the book is particularly delightful for Fridson's insightful analysis of topics that are rarely examined sensibly, such as short selling, radio payola, and ATM fees."
—David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute

Selected Works

Political Economy
The case against government intervention in the marketplace.
Investments
A study of the techniques used by fourteen billionaires to build their fortunes.
Extraordinary Moments in Stock Market History
A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explodes Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

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