Stimulus

January 30, 2009

Each generation needs to learn the lesson firsthand that Keynesian economics doesn’t work.  I’m trying to think back to my younger self to remember what was so seductive about believing the government could and should fix everything. 

It seemed so simple.  A hole in the road?  Fill it.   The poor?  Give them money.  You see a problem, you fix it. 

I was too young to know that my “fix it” mentality had been tried before and names for it.  Like most people today, I heard “Keynesian”, but didn’t know what it meant.  I was too young to know that there were reasons, very subtle and unintuitive reasons, but real reasons why “fixing it” didn’t work.  Why it failed.  Why, the fixes that were born of  good intentions, ended up causing damage to the very things they were meant to fix.

I eventually figured out that filling a hole in the road didn’t help if I didn’t fix what caused the hole in the first place.  John Maynard Keynes likes to dump asphalt into holes.  “Supply siders” as the media calls us, because calling us supporters of the Austrian school of economics might make us sound legitimate, like to fix what caused the hole.

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