The View From 1776
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Keynesianism Loves the Total State
Keynesian macroeconomics, the mythology favored by liberal-progressives ranging from President Obama to New York Times propagandist Paul Krugman, is a rationalization for massive expansion of deficit spending and socialization of the entire economy.
From the Mises.org website, John Maynard Keynes’s introduction to the 1936 German edition of his General Theory:
The theory of aggregate production, which is the point of the following book, nevertheless can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state [eines totalen Staates] than the theory of production and distribution of a given production put forth under conditions of free competition and a large degree of laissez-faire.
Keynes’s bete noir was individual savings, his so-called liquidity trap, which he identified as the cause of economic depression. His ideology thus calls for displacing individualism with collectivized power of the political state, evidenced by rampant creation of Federal agencies, deficit spending programs, and punishingly higher taxes. This is what the Obama administration is pushing to do today.
President Franklin Roosevelt stated the ideological case in his 1944 State of the Union address in which he proclaimed that the original Bill of Rights, designed to protect individual liberties from arbitrary government power, had proved inadequate. The nation, he said, had adopted a new bill of rights, one under which people looked to the Federal government to provide all their needs. This Roosevelt termed security. Roosevelt’s security spawned our self-centered, hedonistic, and profligate culture in the aftermath of the Baby Boomer student anarchism.
Hilaire Belloc, writing about the early encroachment of this phenomenon in Great Britain, called it the servile state. What Franklin Roosevelt called security is just one form of slavery that corrupts the self-reliance and personal initiative that built the United States before the Great Depression into the world’s preeminent economic power.