06 February 2010

Understanding and Arrogance

From Fortune:
'The Obama White House likes to say that the theories of John Maynard Keynes form the foundation for its fiscal policies. Most notably, it draws upon the legendary British economist's idea of spending big to pull out of a recession.

But one economist says the administration has gotten Keynes only half right. Allan Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon is one of the most influential monetarists of the past 50 years. He has served in the Department of the Treasury under President Kennedy and on the Council of Economic Advisors during the Reagan Administration. He also authored the book, Keynes's Monetary Theory: A Different Interpretation.

While the Obama team is laying out huge sums of money, Meltzer says it's neglecting a key part of Keynes' plan: You can't run up a debt without a way to cover it.'
The whole article is a great read, along with this one by Gerard Alexander in tomorrow's Washington Post. The opening paragraph says it all:
'Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.'
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