Monday, June 14, 2010

Micky Mouse economics

Writes Robert Reich:
"... For three decades, starting in the late 1970s, the biggest economic problem America faced on an ongoing basis was inflation. Demand always seemed to be on the verge of outrunning the productive capacity of the nation. The Fed had to be ready to raise interest rates to stop the party, as it did on several occasions.
During this era of inflation economics, it appeared that John Maynard Keynes - and his Depression-era concern about chronically inadequate demand -- was dead. So-called "supply siders" told policy makers that if they cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, they'd unleash a torrent of investment and innovation - thereby increasing the productive capacity of the nation. The benefits would trickle down to everyone else.
But the pendulum may now be swinging back to the earlier era in which demand always seems on the verge of trailing the nation's productive capacity. The biggest ongoing threats are chronic recession or even deflation, because consumers don't have enough money to what the economy is capable of selling at full or near-full employment. Despite gains in productivity, little has trickled down to America's middle class.
John Maynard Keynes is being exhumed because his Depression-era worry about inadequate demand is once again the nation's central economic problem.
Keynes prescribed two remedies -- both of which are now necessary: Government spending to "prime the pump" and get businesses to invest and hire once again. And, as Keynes wrote, "measures for the redistribution of incomes in a way likely to raise the propensity to consume." Translated: Instead of big tax cuts for corporations and the rich, tax cuts and income supplements for the middle class..."
Full text
Comment: Robert Reich, even more perfect than Krugman, shows the true dimension of popular economic thinking in the US as the size of Micky Mouse. The decline of economics as an academic disciplines has been going on for decades, yet it is only now, after the outbreak of the recent financial crisis, that the true dimension of the decline becomes visible.

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