What is the GDP, and what does it mean? Why does the stock market go down when interest rates go up? What causes a dreaded recession? Economics impacts everyone's life, but most people take on faith what they read in the newspaper. Now, for anyone who doesn't know much about economics, noted economist Todd Buchholz explains it all simply and clearly. With refreshing wit and irreverence, Buchholz takes readers by the hand and reveals the basic rules behind everything from food prices to trade deficits. Instead of complicated graphs and charts he uses examples from contemporary life and popular culture to demonstrate the principles at work. By cutting through the arcane musings of academicians, the jargon of analysts and advisors, and the rhetoric of politicians, he gives us a precise and accessible understanding of economic ideas, actions, and consequences as they actually exist in the here and now. Here are some of the heretofore unintelligible ideas he helps us to understand: what causes or combats inflation, and why it is so feared; what moves stocks and bonds up and down - and how to invest wisely and safely; whether it is good or bad to "protect" America from foreign goods - and what happens when we do and when we don't; what exactly Social Security is, and whether government spending is good or bad - and how dangerous the national debt is or isn't. In today's confusing economic climate, it has never been more important for everyone from homemakers to small-business owners to individual investors and middle managers to understand the forces at work.