September 4, 2011

THE CRISIS KILLED THE FIRST, THE RESPONSE KILLED THE SECOND...:

The Second Death of John Maynard Keynes (Eric Alterman, August 31, 2011, The Nation)

In 2008 America elected as its president not only an African-American but an unapologetic Keynesian. In his inaugural address Barack Obama declared, "The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together."

The stimulus package that followed--while disappointing in many respects (and based on a far rosier view of economic conditions than turned out to be justified)--was nevertheless defended in explicitly Keynesian terminology. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act injected $814 billion into the economy. As Obama described it, the stimulus was "the largest investment in research and development in our history, the largest investment in infrastructure since Dwight Eisenhower, the largest investment in education...in this country in thirty years" and "the largest investment in clean energy in our history."

Coincidentally, Eisenhower came up again recently. Upon signing the deficit reduction deal at the point of a political gun--the deal in which House Speaker John Boehner bragged that he won "98 percent" of what his Tea Party-dominated majority had wanted--Obama proudly proclaimed that the deal would result in "the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president." The Onion proved painfully accurate when it described Obama as bragging of having demanded "tough concessions from Democrats and Democrats alike." But Illinois Senator Richard Durbin accurately assessed the agreement as "the final interment of John Maynard Keynes.


...but the wings of both parties resist the Third.


Posted by at September 4, 2011 9:29 AM
  

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