The stimulus has not staved off a major depression; instead, it has ensured the greater likelihood of a major economic collapse.
William L. Anderson, Ph.D., teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services.
When Congress was debating President Obama’s proposed “stimulus” last year, two of the watchwords for the near-trillion-dollar boondoggle were “jobs” and “shovel-ready.” Now, given what comes out of Washington, one needs a shovel to clean up the muck, and I appreciate the politicians and the media telling us we needed to have our shovels ready.
Now that the numbers are in, however, it seems that money spent had no appreciable effect on lowering unemployment:
A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama’s first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”
An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn’t matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.
Keynesians, not surprisingly, have an answer: The government did not spend enough. They reason that economic growth can occur only if “aggregate demand” is great enough to prevent an overall “glut” of unsold goods. (Like the mercantilists before them, Keynesians believe that recessions occur because businesses cannot sell all the goods they produce. Socialists similarly claim that workers are “unable to buy back the products” they make.)
Therefore if government is to prevent the recession-causing “glut,” it must spend whatever is necessary to cover any “shortfall” in private consumption and investment spending. Out of this “theory” we get the present “stimulus,” complete with the blessing of Ivy League economists (who seem to perform the role of the High Priests in today’s political economy).
Such a “theory,” however, is doomed to fail every time, and I wish to give some reasons why.
- Individuals are purposeful creatures, so their spending also will reflect their own purposeful behavior. (It is interesting that many people who endorse the “aggregate demand” terminology also decry what they see as “mindless consumption of the masses.”)
- The economy is not a blob into which one stirs in money the way one stirs in an ingredient into a cake. In other words, the economy does not have a “just add money” in a recipe. It is driven by people making purposeful decisions.
- An economy has a structure of production that when working well directs resources, labor, and capital toward those areas of production that reflect the desires and needs of consumers.
- When governments expand money through the central bank, the rush of new money distorts the production structure and changes the relative value of assets and factors of production. In the early stages of this government-inspired boom, the malinvested assets (the ones that become more valuable as a result of the artificial boom itself) expand relative to other assets.
- The credit-fed boom ultimately cannot be sustained, and it becomes painfully clear that malinvested assets (see the housing-real estate bubble) quickly lose their value relative to other assets. This is the beginning of the recession, which is a period in which the economy begins to reassert the “consumer-preferred” value of economic assets.
Attempts to “stimulate” the economy through massive government spending may put money into the pockets of politically connected people, but it does nothing to restore the economic factors to their proper balances. Instead, the “stimulus” only serves to further distort the economic fundamentals and prolong the downturn.
That’s right. The stimulus has not staved off a major depression; instead, it has ensured the greater likelihood of a major economic collapse by keeping the factors unbalanced and distorting the structure of production.
The fact that the “elite” economists ignore (or even mock) what is known as the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle does not change the fact that it explains why the Keynesian “solutions” are making things worse. Government can no more end a recession by pouring new money into the economy than one can end a fire by pouring on gasoline. But it can burn down our economic house.
By William Anderson
Source: Campaign For Liberty
The Fed and the US government are destroying America:
– Ron Paul: US Foreign Policy is Bankrupting America
– Rep. Ron Paul: State of the Republic Address – ‘Dangerous Times Indeed.’
– America’s Impending Master Class Dictatorship! (MUST-READ!)
– The CFR Controls American News/Media
– Senate Proposes Increasing US Debt Limit to $14.3 Trillion: “If Congress does not enact this legislation, and soon, then the Treasury would default on its debt for the first time in history,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
– US: Unfunded Benefits Dig States’ $3 Trillion Hole
– Illinois enters a state of insolvency: ‘We’re close to de facto bankruptcy, if not de jure bankruptcy.’
– The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: Financial Mafia Controlling US and Wall Street
– Peter Schiff: The Lunacy of US Government Programs
– Former Dean of Harvard College Harry R. Lewis: Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country?
– Experts: Dollar Crisis Looms if US Doesn’t Curb Debt
– Marc Faber on Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis: Next Countries to Default are the US, Japan and the ‘PIIGS’
– Fitch: US Must Cut Spending To Save AAA Rating; US December Deficit Nearly Doubles
– The Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis
– US slides deeper into depression as Wall Street revels
– PIMCO’S Bill Gross: ‘Let’s Get Fisical’ (… or why the US will not make it.)
– Barack Obama’s Health Care Lies And Reversals
– US sheds 85,000 jobs in December; Record 40% Of Unemployed Without Job For 27+ Weeks
– Peter Schiff on Fast Money: ‘America is broke’; ‘The Fed created a currency crisis’; ‘Dollar to collapse 50-70% or more’
– US: Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit
– U.S. Avoids Technical Default By Three Days
– As an American, I refuse to buy mandatory health insurance … that supports Big Pharma
– The US Government Is Preparing For Collapse: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied
– Prof. Dr. David Michael Green: Now I’m Really Getting Pissed Off … With Obama
– US Treasuries Post Worst Performance Among Sovereign Markets In 2009
– US losses will top $400 billion on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
– US: More Ammo For The Treasury Bazooka
– US government wants farmers to use coal waste on fields
– The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Terror And The Crash of 2010
– We’re Screwed! Hyperinflation like in the Weimar Republic; Great Depression worse than in the 1930s
– US Congress: Banksters Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank
– Treason: Obama gives INTERPOL immunity from the Constitution (Amending Executive Order 12425)
– Peter Schiff on Obamacare, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae: The Nightmare Before Christmas
– Obama administration backs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no matter how big their losses may be
– Rep. Dennis Kucinich: US War Presidents ignore Congress and Constitution
– Obamacare: Big payoffs to senators on health bill stoke public anger
– US: Trillions Of Troubles Ahead
– Chinese central banker Zhu Min: ‘The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries.’
– Obamacare: Change Nobody Believes In
– Obama’s surge comes at a cost: At least $57,077.60 per minute
– US National Debt Tops Debt Limit
Hypocrite in Chief (Funny):
– President Obama: Another Busy Day in The Oval Office!
– Fascism in America: By Political Definition The US Is Now Fascist, Not A Constitutional Republic
– John Williams of Shadowstats: Prepare For The Hyperinflationary Great Depression
Liar in Chief (NOT funny!!!):
– Barack Obama Lies 7 Times In Under 2 Minutes!!!!!
– Robert Fisk, The Independent’s award-winning Middle East correspondent: Obama is a Disaster, Worse than Bush
– Rep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘These Wars Are Corrupting The Heart Of Our Nation!’
– Famous Investor Jim Rogers: Incompetence In Washington, Abolish The Fed And The Treasury
– Rep. Dennis Kucinich: The Truth About Afghanistan
– Obama’s Big Sellout (Rolling Stone Magazine)
– Obama administration to lift debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion
– Climategate: President Obama’s rule by EPA decree is a coup d’etat against Congress, made in Britain
– Obama administration tells Pakistan: Tackle Taliban or we will
– MSNBC Rachel Maddow: War President Obama
– Ron Paul: ‘Obama is Actually Preparing Us For Perpetual War’
– Afghanistan Surge to Cost At Least $40 Billion, That Is $1.333.333 For One US Soldier Per Year
– Rep. Brad Sherman: Geithner rejects $1 trillion limit on bailout power (Section 1204 is unlimited in dollar amount!)
Liar in Chief (Over 300 soldiers died in 2009 because of this lie!!!):
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’