Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/14/2009 (8:39 pm)

Stimulus Dissent

Just in case anybody reading this has been deceived by the usual, disingenuous claims by Democrats (including the President) who simply cannot accept, ever, that there exist educated, well-intentioned professionals in any field who disagree with them, I am posting a screen shot of a full-page ad purchased by the Cato Institute in the New York Times, listing 200 professional economists who “do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance.” The statement they signed reads as follows:

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such,
it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

Click on the image for the full-size .pdf file.

stimulusdissent

David Boaz at Cato@Liberty explains that those 200 are just a subset of the professionals disagreeing with the public statements of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall at TPM, by asserting that nobody, but nobody, disagrees with Keynes anymore (!), convinces himself that the Republicans really, really do want the economy to go over a cliff. Q and O makes mincemeat of him without even getting its hands dirty, and JustOneMinute mops him up with a piece of bread. Honestly, the things of which liberals convince themselves are just beyond belief sometimes.

Interestingly, Marshall identifies stimulus dissent with global warming dissent and evolution dissent. I guess nobody’s kept him up to date on climate science, where defenders of anthropogenic global warming are gradually taking on the tone of Flat Earth Society members in the wake of a steady rain of evidence exonerating human beings from controlling the climate. It’s one of those ironies of the political culture that the group called “liberal” is beginning to exhibit the resistance to change historically associated with extreme, European-style conservatism.

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6 Comments »

February 14, 2009 @ 9:00 pm #

Nice writing style. I look forward to reading more in the future.

February 15, 2009 @ 9:34 am #

Phil, I think that anyone who has taken a course in introductory macroeconomics and failed would be able to see that this bill will do the exact opposite that it pretends to do. The level of debt created by this bill over the next decade will swamp by order of magnitude anything that preceded it.

Listening to Chuck Schumer on This Week just now being pummeled by Lindsey Graham (whom I have no strong affection, yet is a good debater), he reflexively invoked the Bush administration’s legacy as justification for his support of raiding the treasury.

Listening to Maxine Waters is instructive as to how Congress has gotten us into this mess.

February 15, 2009 @ 1:12 pm #

Phil said:

“Just in case anybody reading this has been deceived by the usual, disingenuous claims by Democrats (including the President) who simply cannot accept, ever, that there exist educated, well-intentioned professionals in any field who disagree with them…”

This statement from the Cato Institute is vital, in that it demonstrates that an open discussion needs to happen on issues like government intervention in the economy. There is NO excuse for Obama ignoring dissent, especially when he ran on “bipartisan” rhetoric.

Phil, I’m curious…what is your feel for the ratio of Keynesian economists vs. free-market ones?

February 15, 2009 @ 6:49 pm #

Truly, Jim, I don’t really read enough econ papers to get a solid feel for that. However, I was under the impression that Keynes had been considered discredited since the 1980s, when Reagan solved Keynesian-induced stagflation by cutting taxes and slowing the growth of government spending. I’m shocked at the sudden resurgence of Keynesianism.

February 17, 2009 @ 7:43 am #

I believe it was at this website that linked to a web quiz on civics and history in America. The idea is that it was showcasing how the average public rated vs government officials.

I only missed three questions on the thing and two of them I was sure were wrong as written. One I remember clearly: “During a recession, what is the best course for government to take?” The test said the correct answer was: Decrease taxes and Increase spending. I do not think there was a choice of decreasing taxes and decreasing spending.

This is like socialism- The idea has such appeal to idiots that mere logic and historical evidence has no effect whatsoever.

August 8, 2010 @ 4:33 pm #

[...] that I’m a nobody criticizing the uncontested brilliance of Nobel prize-winners should reread my post addressing that very point back in February 2009, when the Cato Institute took out a full-page ad in the New York Times listing the names of all the [...]

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