Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pontificating about the Stupidity of Big-Government Stimulus

Obama and the Democrats are trying to enact a third so-called stimulus (a.k.a., jobs bill). I'd make a joke about three strikes and your out, but we should remember that this is actually the fourth attempt since we should count Bush's lame faux stimulus in 2008. In any event, one would hope people would learn that borrowing money from the private sector and then squandering it on inefficient and counterproductive programs is not a recipe for economic growth. I was interviewed by Derek Thompson of The Atlantic. Here are a couple of excerpts:

The Keynesian theory is just completely wrong. It didn't work for Hoover, for FDR, for Japan in the 1990s, for Bush in 2008 or for Obama. Taking money out of your right pocket and putting it in your left pocket doesn't make sense. We're wasting money on astoundingly bad ideas, especially by bailing out profligate state governments. It's better to let the economy run its course than to shovel money at the problem. ...recessions are the economy adjusting to previous bad policies. There's not much you can do. Our economy got way out of whack because of bad policy, and that includes bad monetary policy like easy money from the Federal Reserve. It's like a hangover. And the best thing after a hangover position is to not compound the mistake with more drinking. I don't believe in the hair of the dog theory for getting the economy back on track.
This leads to a rather obvious question. If deficit spending is not stimulus, why are politicians making the same mistake over and over again? The answer, of course, is that politicians will use any excuse to spend money. But there's another reason for the current orgy of fiscal recklessness. As explained in this video, Obama and the Democrats want to take credit for the economic expansion that eventually will occur. And even if it is a weak recovery because of all the wasteful spending, they can claim the growth occurred because of the so-called stimulus. This makes about as much sense as a rooster crowing and taking credit for the sunrise, but politicians care about spin.

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