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John Maynard Keynes
Latest John Maynard Keynes Items
Niall Ferguson, a Harvard history professor and author, is apologizing for saying economist John Maynard Keynes didn't care about the future because he was gay and had no children.
Democrats are united in their fiscal message. Throughout the "cliff" negotiations and again with the pending debt-ceiling debate, their argument has rested on a single, flimsy premise: Cutting government spending would push the economy into recession.
The clash of economic ideas perhaps has never been this bitter. The possible breakup of the eurozone may bring Europe into uncharted waters, but the debate over the future of the Continent is shaped by ideas that are at least a century old: restraint in public finance versus economic stimulus.
In early 2009, two of President Obama's economic advisers predicted that a stimulus package could keep American unemployment below 8 percent. Needless to say, that hasn't panned out. There's now a bipartisan consensus that the administration's stimulus efforts didn't work.
As a job-creating entrepreneur out here in the hinterlands, I am amazed at the Keynesian priests in Washington calling for more stimulus fueled by debt.
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" So said John Maynard Keynes when a dearly held belief of his was confronted by new facts. He changed his mind and was not ashamed. I am an extreme empiricist. Show me the facts, and I shall make up my mind. Show me the new facts, and I shall change my mind.
Ultimately, when VIPs go home and the November election dust settles, the Obama administration could face stark, bilateral decisions on international fiscal and monetary policies as the economy continues to sputter.
Is the recession's great irony that government spending killed Keynesianism? With economists, bankers and investors perplexed over the economy's continued funk, we cannot be blamed for looking in odd places for answers. Could it possibly be that continuously increasing spending over eight decades has left little ability for government spending to affect the economy?
So the question is: W.W.J.M.K.D? "What Would John Maynard Keynes Do?"