Defending his Trillion Dollar Debt Plan, President Barack Obama said critics of his plan were peddling ‘worn out old ideas’ that won’t pull the country out of the recession. But it is Obama’s policies that are worn out and old. And its not just conservatives who are saying that.
Howard Dean’s campaign manager Joe Trippi Tweets: ‘Old thinking and why it isn’t working’ and links to this Los Angeles Times op-ed by Niall Ferguson: ‘Keynes Can’t Help Us Now: Governments cling to the delusion that a crisis of excess debt can be solved by creating more debt.’ Ferguson writes:
There is something desperate about the way economists are clinging to their dogeared copies of Keynes’ ‘General Theory.’ Uneasily aware that their discipline almost entirely failed to anticipate the current crisis, they seem to be regressing to macroeconomic childhood, clutching the Keynesian ‘multiplier effect’ — which holds that a dollar spent by the government begets more than a dollar’s worth of additional economic output — like an old teddy bear.
They need to grow up and face the harsh reality: The Western world is suffering a crisis of excessive indebtedness. Governments, corporations and households are groaning under unprecedented debt burdens. Average household debt has reached 141% of disposable income in the United States and 177% in Britain. Worst of all are the banks. Some of the best-known names in American and European finance have liabilities 40, 60 or even 100 times the amount of their capital.
The delusion that a crisis of excess debt can be solved by creating more debt is at the heart of the Great Repression. Yet that is precisely what most governments propose to do.
(Via The Foundry.)