“It’s the Economy, Stupid”: How the Library May Help You be a Smarter Voter

Richard Kraus, Librarian III, Business Department,
Economy Election Tag Cloud on Wordle
Economy Election Tag Cloud on Wordle

“It’s the economy, stupid.”  Is a famous political catch phrase started during the Bill Clinton 1992 presidential election campaign and repeated over the years in response to identifying the key issues of election campaigns.  In a June 2016 Pew Research Center poll 84% of registered voters say that the issue of the economy will be very important to them in making their decision about who to vote for in the 2016 presidential election.

Both of the major presidential campaigns have posted their versions of an economic plan: Hillary Clinton offers “An Economy That Works for Everyone” and Donald Trump offers “Economic Vision: Winning the Global Competition”.  Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign site offers features “On the Issues” that include points on government spending, taxes, and jobs.

The quarterly UCLA Anderson School Forecast for September 2016 will offer: “The Presidential Election: the Economics behind the Policies”.  According to their website announcing and promoting this meeting and presentation “The theme of the conference is the presidential election. The objective is to provide for the audience the view of the economics profession with regard to specific economic policy proposals by the candidates. This will not be advocacy, but rather that the moderator and discussants in the three conversations will relate research on the topics raised by the moderator as it informs the potential impacts of the policy proposals. It is possible that a proposal is sufficiently different from that which has been studied, that the discussion will center around what economic theory might suggest, but will also make clear that there is no empirical evidence as yet.”

The printed version of the presentations will be available in the Business & Economics Department of Central Library at the end of September.

Perhaps the library and some its resources can help you become a smarter, more informed voter.



The library’s online subscription databases also can provide access to current and past issues of various newspapers and journals, to find front page stories, investigative reports, interviews, reports on polls and surveys, editorials and op-ed pieces, etc.  The databases listed here offered by the library are accessible from any computer via the web, LAPL Library Card required.

A top choice among these databases for researching the controversies and debates on the issues would be:

Opposing Viewpoints in ContextPro and con arguments with contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues drawn from news articles, journals, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.  Some of the topics with an economic component offered in this database include: Consumer Debt, Employment, Government Spending, Health Insurance, Minimum Wage, Student Loans, Transportation Infrastructure, and many others.

Below are a variety of other helpful databases available through the library:

Business Collection (Gale)Formerly called General Business File ASAP. Provides coverage of all business disciplines, including accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management and strategy, as well as business theory and practice. Research activities of companies and industries worldwide through business and trade publications, complemented by a selection of international, U.S., and regional news publications.

Business Economics and Theory (Gale/InfoTrac)Collection provides over 150 full-text academic journals and magazines focusing on topics in economics, good for business classes.

Business Insights: EssentialsBusiness Insights: Essentials brings together in a single database company profiles, company brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies, and periodicals.

Los Angeles Times (ProQuest)Extensive coverage of national, international, and local news, 1985-current.

New York Times DigitalAccess to the New York Times digital site. You must create an account for access. Click “Create Account” to create an account with your personal email address, or “Sign In” if you already have created an account.

NewsBankIncludes California Newspapers and America's News Magazines. U.S. news content from local, regional, and national sources. Diverse source types include printed and online newspapers, blogs, journals, newswires, broadcast transcripts and videos, on topics such as politics, business, health, sports, cultural activities and people.

PressReader by PressDisplayInstant access to 2000 plus newspapers from 100 countries in 60 languages.  In addition to being able to read them online, users who install the PressReader app on their mobile device, and connect through any Branch Library wi-fi, can download papers for offline reading without subscribing.   NOTE: This resource is not available from LAPL Information Express Computers.

Proquest Central (Includes Proquest Newsstand and Research Library)This database serves as a resource for researchers at all levels. Covering more than 160 subject areas, ProQuest Central is the largest aggregated database of periodical content. Includes both Proquest Newsstand and Research Library.

ZinioZinio offers full color, interactive digital magazines. Browse from a collection of popular titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limit to the number of magazines you can download.  Publications included here: Economist, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, The Nation, Mother Jones, Maclean’s

Suggested Websites

The library has also compiled lists of suggested websites in its Web Resources portion of the library’s website.  Here are just a few of them:

Web Resources: Business & Company Information

The Beige Book: Current Economic ConditionsThe report, published by by Federal Reserve Board, provides summary of economic conditions by federal reserve district. Includes major economic indicators, and interviews with key businessmen, economists, market experts, and other sources.  Archives of past years is also available.

Census Bureau's Economic IndicatorsProvides current statistics of household income, poverty and other economic indicators.

FRED -- Federal Reserve Economic DataLinks to Federal Reserve statistics.

Web Resources: Politics & Government

Project Vote SmartLocate all elected representatives, state and federal, by zip code. Tracks the performance of over 13,000 political leaders.  Voting records, biographies, committee assignments of elected officials.

Web Resources: Statistics

American FactFinderOne stop source  from the Bueau of the Census for population, housing, economic and geographic data. Includes 2010 census.

Bureau of Labor StatisticsEasy entry into the full range of economic data and analysis produced by BLS. Here is where you'll find the statistics and reports on employment and unemployment, price (such as the Consumer Price Index), living conditions, compensation, productivity and more.

FedStats: Federal StatisticsStatistical information from more than 100 government agencies engaged in the production and dissemination of official federal statistics.

Web Resources: Student Multi-Subject Resources

FactCheck.org: Annenberg Political Fact CheckEducational resource for high school teachers and students that monitors the factual accuracy of what is said in the nation's political arena. Published by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

ProCon.orgPros and Cons of controversial issues in a nonpartisan pro-con format. Provides link to Spanish version.

Books and E-books

Below is just a sampling of recent books on economic issues in the U.S.  Please note each of these books may reflect varying opinions and points of view, as well as focusing on different issues.  This list is organized by library call number order.  Click on each one to link to the listing in the library’s online catalog.  Some are also available as ebooks and links are provided to those, as well.

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