Able to Raise Keynes

Recently on This American Life, economists told NPR listeners how the then-upcoming stimulus bill would amount to the very first legitimate and full test ever of Keynesian ideas.

Sure, politicians have been using John Maynard Keynes’s notions as an excuse to deficit spend ever since the Great Depression. But then, Lord Keynes had wanted politicians to spend even more, more than they dared.

Now, President Obama and our Democratic Congress have decided to spend enough billions, or trillions, to really do the trick.

Switch to Larry King’s latest interview with Bill Clinton. Our former prez assured us that the stimulus bill “would do what it is supposed to,” and he mentioned three things, only one of them vaguely about stimulus. He said the bill was better seen as a “bridge over troubled waters.”

Clinton said the real issue was declining asset values, which Congress would address later.

At Mises.org, Stephan Kinsella asked how this could amount to Keynesianism. Clinton used a different lingo entirely.

Here’s how: It’s not that the bill will give us Keynesian stimulus. It’s that it has stimulated politicians in the old, old Keynesian way.

Congressional Democrats know that the stimulus won’t work. So they are preparing the spin now. From them we heard the official excuse for the bill. From Clinton, the future excuse.

Politicians know zip about the economy. They just know how to spend our money. And our great, great, great grandchildren’s.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.