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Economics makes no assumptions regarding the soundness of people’s thought processes, and here the judge shows a simple lack of understanding. Despite being a prodigious legal scholar, Judge Posner seems to think he knows more about economics than he really does.

In his September 2009 article for the New Republic, “How I Became a Keynesian,” Judge Posner said he had just converted to the economic philosophy on the basis of reading John Maynard Keynes’ “The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money” just the year before. Clearly, Judge Posner, despite probably being the most cited legal scholar ever, doesn’t have a deep background in the economic subject matter he deals with in the book. That does not detract from the author’s sharp analytical skills and clear writing - the latter of which is uncommon among those more acquainted with economics.

Judge Posner’s endorsement of Keynesian ideas in “The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy” is disappointing. Increased government spending is not the answer to controlling the national debt and will take valuable money from the private sector. Further regulation will prevent banks from operating efficiently, and bailouts will encourage banks to take imprudent risks.

Judge Posner is right to recognize that the government, not the banks, was responsible for the financial crisis, but is foolish to think that same government can somehow get its act together and prevent another economic collapse. Government is the problem, not the solution.

Roger Lott is a writer in Pennsylvania.