The failure of Keynesian economics reconfirmed as never before — not that any of it will register with our president.
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Personal income is down $427 billion from its peak in May 2008. Because the economy has been performing worse than expected, even the Obama Administration is now admitting that the deficit over the next 9 years will be $9 trillion, $2 trillion more than it projected at the time of its stimulus package in February. That is an increase in cumulative deficits of almost 30% from the mistaken Obama Administration projections of just 6 months ago. These deficit and debt numbers will only get worse as the recovery turns out to be not as strong as the Obama Administration has projected.
Rejecting Obama’s rigid, doctrinaire Keynesianism, France and Germany saw economic growth return in the second quarter, with India, Brazil, and even communist China enjoying reviving growth as well. Clearly, what we have suffered in America is the failure of Keynesian economics yet again.
The Free Market Restores Economic Growth
The slowdown in economic decline we have recently experienced, and the actual recovery we will see soon, is due to the natural, curative process of the free market, not big government spending, deficits and debt, for the reasons discussed above. As Alan Reynolds explained in the Wall Street Journal on August 21:
It’s clear that U.S. history does not support the theory that Big Government means shorter and milder recessions. In reality, recessions always ended without government prodding, long before anyone heard of Keynes and long before the Fed existed. What’s more, recessions ended more quickly before the New Deal’s push for Big Government than they have in the past three decades. The economy’s natural recuperative powers before the 1930s proved superior to recent tinkering by Big Government economists, politicians and central bankers.
Indeed, in that same article Reynolds goes on to show that countries with higher government spending relative to GDP suffered deeper recessions over the past year and a half, while countries with lower government spending experienced shallower recessions or none at all. So, again, Keynesian spending stimulus does not seem to promote economic recovery.
Reigniting the Economic Boom
Economic recovery permanently reducing unemployment will only come from private job creating investment, which still has not sufficiently revived. Nothing in President Obama’s Keynesian economic policies, or in Bush’s Keynesian policies from 2008, helps with that.
Producing long-term, booming, economic growth will require a fundamental change in economic policy. Start with corporate tax rates that are now just about the highest in the world. Restoring American competitiveness will require reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to at least 20%. Yet, Obama plans to raise the corporate tax burden further.
Sharply raising individual income tax rates and capital gains tax rates, as Obama plans to do, is exactly the opposite of what is needed to counter still catastrophic unemployment. Scrap all that economic foolishness and instead cut the middle class 25% income tax rate to 15%, leaving 90% of taxpayers with a 15% flat tax. Scrap as well the proposed new 8% payroll tax on businesses that do not provide employee health insurance, which would perpetuate unemployment and further reduce wage incomes.
Another component of a foundation for long-term, booming growth is a reliable supply of low cost energy. But here again Obama is pursuing just the opposite, with a program of massive taxpayer subsidies to switch to unreliable, high cost alternatives, and a new cap and trade tax imposing trillions in new cost burdens with no policy justification.
Finally, with only 10% of stimulus funding spent so far (another reason the Obama economic program deserves no credit for the slowing decline), University of Chicago economics professor Casey Mulligan is right. We should cancel the rest of the stimulus spending, which would cancel the borrowing of hundreds of billions more out of the private sector.
Unfortunately, President Obama is still wedded to his political talking points, and his ideological blinders seem now to be attached to the skin. So don’t expect any policy changes, no matter what happens. Expect an eventual return to 1970s style economic results instead.
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