Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do Nothing: It's Good for you

Shorter Amar Bhide: Don't know much about economy. Doin' nuthin's good for you and me.

Slightly less short: Since we don't know what starts and ends recessions, depressions, and all sorts of economic nastiness, we shouldn't take any risky actions with unknown consequences. Because, "Hastily enacted programs jeopardize crucial beliefs in the value of productive enterprise."

I have come to believe that one of the cornerstones of the conservative Right-Wing mindset is magical thinking. The sentence quoted above is the inverse of Peter Pan begging the kids to chant, "I do believe in fairies," to save Tinker Bell's life. I'm all in favor of fairies in general, and Tink in particular. But, please, everything in its place. Let's not put the value of productive enterprise in Never-Land.

Bhide continues: "We believe that we can all get ahead through innovations because the game isn't stacked in favor of the powerful." This guy really is from Never-Land. If you think the game isn't stacked in favor of the powerful, I have some favorable power I'll sell you at a very reasonable price. Here's a bitter dose of reality.

Bhide also thinks the economic downturns of the 19th century, and the government's non-reactions to them, provide a good model: "The depressions and panics of the 19th century ended without any fiscal stimulus to speak of . . ." While it's true that all bad things must come to an end, is it always necessary for the end to be particularly bitter, and several years into the future, following riots, mayhem, and blood in the streets? Also, the government wasn't totally uninvolved, unless you believe, for example, that having the military massacre strikers is non-involvement.

The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has always been a repository for far-right-wing demagoguery. It now often veers into the uncharted territory between the absurd and the insane.

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