Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Jonathan J. Bean
This is wrong. We can fashion a model for economic recovery from the porn plan. Moreover, we can do so in a way that draws upon the New Deal's efforts in two areas:
Click here to read more.
And do scroll down to the comments from young British Muslims.
Of course, he's still a warmonger but what else do you expect of the British royals?
"Near-zero interest rates and even a tax on bank deposits are necessary to force those with cash to use it productively."
"The history clearly shows that air power alone cannot win wars. It only works as an extra dimension to land or sea warfare."
Aeon J. Skoble
UPDATE: those are great answers in the comments; thanks very much to the three of you.
David T. Beito
widely believed theory (at least among my students) that “wars have been good for the economy” in American history.
Variants of this thesis can be found among across the political spectrum. On the right, neocon Conrad Black argues that World War II “had restored prosperity after the free market had failed.” On the left, Paul Krugman similarly writes: “There's nothing magic about spending on tanks and bombs rather than roads and bridges. The reason World War II worked more effectively than the WPA [in terms of promoting economic growth] as that it was *bigger.*” While Krugman might prefer that this “bigger” spending be on roads and bridges, rather than bombs, this does not change the fact he still accepts the overall premise that spending on wars can be good for the economy. If anyone should have greater reason to call this theory into question, it is antiwar historians.
The"ghost bus" has an interesting historical precedent that is mentioned in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado:
"The idiot who, in railway carriages,
Scribbles on window-panes,
We only suffer
To ride on a buffer
On Parliamentary trains"
David T. Beito
The guy on the left standing next to Iraqi Prime Minister Al Maliki. Al Maliki just returned from a good will trip to Iran..
Jonathan J. Bean
At the risk of being labeled “insane,” here goes. . .
In 1995, economic historian Robert Whaples published a survey in the Journal of Economic History asking “Where Is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians?” (Vol. 55, March 1995). Half of the economists and a third of historians agreed, in whole or in part, that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression.
For the rest, see here.
No doubt, most of them became disillusioned after a while, if not immediately. Worse, thousands of them were enmeshed in Stalin’s purges of the latter 1930s and ended up in the Gulag, where prisoners endured an extraordinarily harsh life, usually cut short by a painful death after a few months or years. Some of these victims managed to appeal to U.S. diplomats inside the USSR for help, only to be turned away by over-cautious junior-level careerists or, in effect, by supercilious higher-ups who were even more despicable.
Tim Tzouliadis has written a book about these things, The Forsaken: From the Great Depression to the Gulags Hope and Betrayal in Stalin’s Russia. For an interesting and informative review, see Adam Hochschild’s article in The Times Literary Supplement, December 23, 2008.
HT: Elizabeth Higgs
Amy H. Sturgis
Falling Free, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988);
Courtship Rite, a novel by Donald M. Kingsbury (1982);
"As Easy as A.B.C.," a short story by Rudyard Kipling (1912);
The Lord of the Rings, a three-volume novel by J. R. R. Tolkien (1955);
The Once and Future King, including The Book of Merlyn, a novel by T. H. White (1977); and
The Golden Age, a novel by John C. Wright (2002).
Read more about the LFS here.
I know I should be kind to him, on grounds of collegiality toward a fellow economist, so I’m not going to go on and on about his stunningly sophomoric ideas on economics, income distribution, the Great Depression, how best to deal with business recessions, and so forth. Besides, I’d never earn a marksman’s medal for shooting a fish in a barrel.
But good golly, Miss Molly, here’s what he says in the column, in discussing the proposed “stimulus” plan the next administration hopes to get enacted into law soon after it takes office. “The biggest problem facing the Obama plan . . . is likely to be the demand of many politicians for proof that the benefits of the proposed public spending justify its costs — a burden of proof never imposed on proposals for tax cuts.”
Think about that statement; roll it around in your mind. Krugman worries that certain politicians may obstruct enactment of the stimulus plan by insisting on a demonstration that its benefits exceed its costs. Could anything be more unreasonable than such hidebound insistence that the government’s expenditures be shown to be worthwhile? That’s not the funny part, though.
The hilarious part is the appended phrase “a burden of proof never imposed on proposals for tax cuts.” Think about that one, if you can stop yourself from rolling around on the floor in laughter. Look, here’s the deal, Krugman is saying: these conservative fuddy-duddies insist that the government not spend the taxpayers’ money unless the spending passes a benefit/cost test. Pretty dumb, huh? But even dumber is that these hypocritical prigs never insist on such a test when they decide to suck a little less than they’ve been sucking out of the taxpayers’ bank accounts. Damned cheeky of these old fossils, eh?
Krugman obviously subscribes to the belief, immensely popular inside the beltway, that all the money rightfully belongs to the government, whether it is being considered for involuntary transfer from its private holders to the government or being considered for retention by the people who earned it in the first place. He wants anyone who proposes to allow such retention to bear a burden of benefit/cost proof. What a guy. I tell ya he slays me!
If only to regain my composure, I will mention a somewhat related idea I take seriously about who should bear the burden of proof. Consider the following proposition: a gang of armed people calling itself a government has a right to take money from and impose rules on people who are innocent of violating anyone’s just rights, employing violence and threats of violence against these unoffending people to get its way. My idea is that anyone who supports this proposition bears a heavy burden of proof – so heavy, indeed, that no one can bear it on the basis of logic, evidence, and a moral standard higher than a wolf’s.
I don’t expect Krugman, a plumed knight of the economics profession and a designated hatchet man for the goofy left, to bother trying to meet this challenge. Yet I wish he would do so. Watching his antics would be a barrel of laughs.
David T. Beito
Dear Mr. Gross:
I am a professor of history at the University of Alabama. Much of my research and teaching focuses on the Great Depression era in American history.
In an article in Salon on January 2, 2009, David Sirota quoted you as stating,"One would be very hard-pressed to find a serious professional historian who believes that the New Deal prolonged the Depression" (See here).
If the quotation accurately represents your views, it is very mistaken.
Off the top of my head, I can name “several serious professional historians” who would probably argue (and argue strongly) “that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.” In addition to myself, they include Jonathan Bean of Southern Illinois University, Brad Birzer of Hillsdale College, Brad Thompson of Clemson University, Jeffrey Hummel at San Jose State University, Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton , Michael Allen of the University of Washington at Tacoma, Ralph Raico of Buffalo State College, Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College, David Mayer of Capital University in Columbus, John Moser of Ashland University in Ohio, and Paul Moreno of Hillsdale. All have doctorates in history from top-ranked universities.
This is just off the top of my head. If you want additional names, please feel free to call me at 205-348-1870.
Of course, I would happy to discuss my own views on this topic.
David T. Beito
Department of History
University of Alabama
The more I read the more I thought: Keynes was surely joking. No one in his position could really be that confused, contradictory, and ignorant of economic logic. It had to be a gag on the economics profession, an emperor-with-no-clothes experiment.
Thus I smiled when I got to Hazlitt's statement in chapter XXV,"Did Keynes Recant?" (p. 398):
Keynes was a brilliant man. Much of what he wrote he wrote in tongue-in-cheek, for the pleasure of paradox, to épater le bourgois [shock the middle class], in the spirit of Wilde, Shaw, and the Bloomsbury circle. Perhaps the whole of the General Theory was intended as a huge (400-page) joke, and Keynes was appalled to find disciples who took it all literally.If it was a joke, Keynes helped inflict much misery and oppression on innocent people just for a laugh. I guess for the elitist Keynes, the well-being of the masses can't be allowed to impede his bold and daring lifestyle. It is for people like him that secularists like me wish there was a place of fire and brimstone.
At any rate, I highly recommend Hazlitt's book. Don Boudreaux says that Richard Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker proves that any subject, no matter how complex, can be written about clearly and accessibly. I say the same about The Failure of the"New Economics."
Cross-posted at Anything Peaceful and Free Association.
David T. Beito
"Army explains rockets had been fired from one of Gaza's most distinguished schools; chairman of its board says, 'I can't swear no rocket was fired, but if there was, you don't destroy a whole school.'"
Amira Hass: How we like our leaders.
"This isn't the time to speak of ethics, but of precise intelligence. Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets - especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, during the surprise assault on the enemy, all the children of the Strip would be in the streets - half just having finished the morning shift at school, the others en route to the afternoon shift."
Jane S. Shaw
Of course, Hoover was the the president at that time (his reign also brought in disastrous tax increases). Sowell is no friend of FDR's but he concludes his column by saying that FDR was simply following in Hoover's footsteps, and"Barack Obama already has his Herbert Hoover to blame for any and all disasters that his policies create: George W. Bush."