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June 11, 2012

Horrible: American Family Net Worth Down 40% Since Depression; Lowest In 20 Years

It really, really was an enormous mistake-- not just in terms of politics, but in terms of human misery -- for Obama to treat the depression as a Check That Box affair.

Do something superficial and thoughtless so you can say you did something about it (the $870 billion stimulus that did not stimulate, and went chiefly to Democratic wish list items) so that when the recovery inevitably comes, you can claim credit.

This was a horrific thing, this depression. The fact of it cannot be laid at Obama's feet (although, along with virtually every government official in office from 2002-2008, he did nothing at all to stop it).

But the fact that he so badly misdiagnosed the disease can be.

Doctors receive urgently unwell patients in the emergency room. There are no healthy patients in the emergency room, after all.

Is it a doctor's fault that a patient comes to him in a critical state? No, of course not.

Is it the doctor's fault if he misdiagnoses the ailment and treats the entirely wrong illness, in entirely the wrong way? Yes, that is then the doctor's fault.

This depression was not a blow-off malady, to be bandaged up and and a course of pain-killers. There was -- is -- something fundamentally wrong with the economy.

Even at this late date, with the patient bleeding out, Doctor Obama recommends the same treatment: more money for state and local government, and of course federal government too.

Liberals often say that Republicans are being "treasonous" as regards the economy, as they know or should know that Keynesian stimulus is a conventional-wisdom consensus approach to a recession, or depression.

Even if that were the case (and note it can be argued that further government borrowing becomes far too costly when the level of government debt is undermining confidence), they always forget something: Keynes did not suggest government spending as a cure all. He suggested that the government run up a debt, pumping money counter-cyclically into the economy.

He suggested doing so through spending or general tax cuts.

They always forget about that "or general tax cuts" part of Keynes recommendation. They simply pretend that's not an option, or wasn't suggested by Keynes at all.

Given that Obama has so sharply increased spending, perhaps his mind should start wondering about that other possibility.

I don't know if Republicans would go along with a major temporary general tax cut to spur the economy -- I imagine they would, but Debt Hawks would surely see this as potentially dangerous.

But Obama hasn't suggested such a thing, the one sort of Keynesian stimulus Republicans could conceivably support. He just keeps insisting on more of the same, more of the cure that makes the patient worse. More money for Democratic Clients.

Obama likes to imagine himself as FDR, but FDR's slogan was "bold, relentless experimentation."

I don't see such "bold, relentless experimentation" from Obama. I see a man who keeps to his wooby, keeps to his comfort zone, keeps to his Political Safe Place, offering up the same stuff we've been doing since 2009.



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posted by Ace at 03:49 PM

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