"Should the federal government be doing any of this?"

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The answer is no, of course, as Crisis and Leviathan author Robert Higgs explains in a superb article about the so-called stimulus for the Christian Science Monitor:

Our greatest need at present is for the government to go in the opposite direction, to do much less, rather than much more. As recently as the major recession of 1920-21, the government took a hands-off position, and the downturn, though sharp, quickly reversed itself into full recovery. In contrast, Hoover responded to the downturn of 1929 by raising tariffs, propping up wage rates, bailing out farmers, banks, and other businesses, and financing state relief efforts. Roosevelt moved even more vigorously in the same activist direction, and the outcome was a protracted period of depression (and wartime privation) from which complete recovery did not come until 1946.

Read the rest here.

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  1. Post hoc, ergo proter hoc.

    Repeat five times.

    Hey, maybe Latin causes Latin!

  2. McCain only would have done half as much!

    Actually sounds pretty good about now.

  3. What we need most are authorities wise enough to follow the dictum, “First, do no harm.” The stimulus package will do enormous harm. The huge debt burden it entails, by itself, ought to condemn the measure. America is already drowning in debt. But the measure will also wreak harm in countless other directions by effectively reallocating resources on a grand scale according to political priorities, rather than according to individual preferences and economic rationality.

    hear, hear

  4. So, where were was the momentum against government economic intervention during the W years? Hell, why does the current anti-stimulus rhetoric (outside unambiguously libertarian circles) rarely mention the ruinous interventions of last administration?

    I think I know why, but it’s so goddamn frustrating to see that we needed a Democrat in the White House for some folks to appear to give a fuck about economic freedom.

  5. LMNOP,

    Point taken, but this isn’t a matter of tom-toms and eclipses. This is a matter of a hypothesis that cannot easily be tested experimentally standing up under historical comparisons. It’s a far cry from a double-blind test with a statistically significant number of repetitions, but it’s one hell of a lot more compelling than an assertion that the decline in newspapers caused global warming.

  6. “the decline in newspapers caused global warming.”

    I thought it was the decline in pirates?

  7. “GOP Apologist | February 9, 2009, 6:04pm | #

    McCain only would have done half as much!

    Actually sounds pretty good about now.”

    No, actually it doesn’t.

  8. I thought it was the decline in pirates?

    Newspaper pirates.

    My point is that macroeconomics is not an *experimental* science, in the sense that it is a science at all. All we are reduced to here is attempting to divine some sort of theory of causation from a pretty sparse data set.

  9. “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”

    — Milton Friedman

  10. So, where were was the momentum against government economic intervention during the W years?

    It was being hailed as enlightened and bipartisan. As far as the MSM was concerned, those were the only things W did right.

  11. It failed, Pooley argues, in part because journalists emphasized dubious claims about the short-term economic costs of reducing carbon emissions over the long-term costs of doing nothing.

    Here, let me fix that.

    …well-founded claims about the short-term economic costs of reducing carbon emissions over the dubious long-term costs of doing nothing.

    Remember, there is no scientific basis for global warming predictions.

  12. TallDave is right.

    If you thought W. Was bad wait until we’ve had four years of Democrat rule.

    Higher taxes, amnesty for illegals, surrender in Iraq, appeasement towars Iran, total abandonment of Israel, and hyperinflation.

    Its coming!

    Thankfully Sarah will save us all in 2012.

  13. If you thought [Bush] was bad wait until we’ve had four years of Democrat rule[:]Higher taxes, amnesty for illegals, surrender in Iraq, appeasement towar[d]s Iran, total abandonment of Israel, and hyperinflation.

    Whereas I have no contention against points one and six, I have a really difficult time how any of the points in the middle would represent at least a small tragedy in themselves. Let me explain my points on each, and perhaps you can enlighten me:

    a)Amnesty for illegals [i.e. undocumented immigrants]: This would actually lower the cost of persecution, allow immigrants to keep their property and actually help in the economic recovery of the USA, by allowing small businesses to lower their operative costs.

    Surrender in Iraq: Wasn’t the mission accomplished already? Anyway, leaving that quagmire is not the same as rising the white flag and allowing the Saracens to come through the gates and let them pillage the homes rape the women – it just means not making more expenditures in that monetary black hole.

    c) Appeasement towar[d]s Iran: You cannot be serious – what has Iran done to require the USA to “appease” their government?

    d) Total abandonment of Israel: Highly unlikely now that Il Duce has the Jewish version of Ernst Roehm as his Chief of Staff.

  14. ~~~~~ BREAKING ~~~~~

    The Stim bill includes $5 billion for SWAT teams!!!!!

    ——-

    OK, it doesn’t, but maybe that would be enough for Reason to actually do something rather than just whine.

  15. Regarding the penultimate comment, an amnesty would also give even more power to foreign governments inside the U.S., depriving U.S. citizens of sovereignty, something that clearly has a very large value. Oddly, hacks don’t figure that in. Nor do they figure in all the power such a move would give to those far-left groups who’d enact completely non-libertarian measures. Doh, etc. etc.

    For fun, let’s figure out some things that would have to be in the stim bill for Reason to actually do something:

    * $5 billion for SWAT teams

    * A 10% surcharge on unfunny, bespectled, washed-up “comedians”

    * $100 billion to crack down on bacon-wrapped hotdogs

  16. $5 billion for SWAT teams

    Uhh, there was already a post on this, Whack-Attack.

    You’re dumber than usual today…

  17. Q. Why will Jane Fonda vote for Barack Obama?
    A. Because Ho Chi Minh is dead.

    Q. Why will Ho Chi Minh vote for Barack Obama?
    A. Because Ho Chi Minh is dead.

  18. The fatal flaw in Keynesian economics is the failure to understand that money is a mechanism for transmitting information. It is the movement and the degree of movement between two actions in the economy that transmit the information.

    The Keynesian does not take this into account, instead it just assumes that the movement itself is the point. Its something akin to seeing that ants move about collecting food so they will collect more food it you poke the ant mound and cause them to scurry around.

  19. I have my own personal reasons to oppose amnesty too. Given my well-known obsession with Latin chicks, I had hoped that some desperate Mexicunt would hook up with me in the hopes of gaining marital residency. But if amnesty goes through I’ll be stuck with settling for a handjob from a she-male as usual.

  20. So, where were was the momentum against government economic intervention during the W years?

    I think you might find that I (and others) voiced some displeasure shitloads of outrage over GWB and his GOP congresses’ spending habits. I’m not going to cease just because a different group of profligate wastrels are in charge.

    Amazingly enough teams red and blue positions have swapped over budget deficits and wassteful spending since then.

  21. Nothing is impossible when other people pay for it!

  22. Uhh, there was already a post on this, Whack-Attack.

    You’re dumber than usual today…

    That is not possible. Lonewhackoff has a perfect score in stupidity. The absolute zero of intelligent discourse. He can be different, but he can’t be dumber.

  23. American Structured Securities Rescue Act for a Prudent Economy passes senate test vote.

    [Harry Reid] said passage would mark “the first step on the long road to recovery.”

    Yes, a long, long, long, long road to recovery, thanks to this piece of crap.

  24. “Should the federal government be doing any of this?”

    Look, we can’t just stand around asking irrelevant questions. That’s not change. We need the kind of action that brings hope back to this great country of ours.

  25. [A]n amnesty would also give even more power to foreign governments inside the U.S., depriving U.S. citizens of sovereignty, something that clearly has a very large value.

    I still have to see the great Canadian takeover of the US Government. Oh, don’t tell me there are but a few Canadian illegals in the US!

    Oddly, hacks don’t figure that in.

    Maybe because it is a non issue.

    Nor do they figure in all the power such a move would give to those far-left groups who’d enact completely non-libertarian measures. Doh, etc. etc.

    The reason far-left groups take advantage of the disfranchisement of immigrant groups is because the disfranchisement exists in the first place, provoked by insane immigration policies that people relate (wrongly or not) to right-wing xenophobes.

    It will take the best efforts of Il Duce [Obama] to show immigrants that the problem is not right-wing fascism or left-wing fascism but just plain yogurt – i.e. pure Fascism. It is up to Libertarians to show that immigration does not have to be the same as pulling one’s teeth. And besides this, this economy NEEDS immigrant labor, now more than ever, to reduce costs and reduce the impact of hyperinflation which is sure to come.

  26. Part of the problem is that if you say that government isn’t allowed to do anything, then all the advocates and lobbyists and activists, and half the journalists, would no longer have anything to give their lives meaning.

    Seriously. They’d have to find a real job, or else do some actual charity work instead of advocating for social welfare programs.

  27. “Seriously. They’d have to find a real job, or else do some actual charity work instead of advocating for social welfare programs.”

    “Real” job?

    What constitutes a real job, and how many people here have a “real” jobs? Libertarian minded people have never struck me as hard workers. You’re cranks.

    Many of you don’t even have fake jobs.

    You need to be more conscious of the language you use because the type of language that you are currently using suggests that you are prone to bullshit.

    I know many you assume that you’re within a friendly echo chamber, but always remember that there’s someone watching you.

  28. Rimfax | February 9, 2009, 6:14pm | #
    So, where were was the momentum against government economic intervention during the W years? Hell, why does the current anti-stimulus rhetoric (outside unambiguously libertarian circles) rarely mention the ruinous interventions of last administration?

    I think I know why, but it’s so goddamn frustrating to see that we needed a Democrat in the White House for some folks to appear to give a fuck about economic freedom.

    Whatever it takes, my friend. We were all there protesting Bush’s stupid economic policies, but don’t get pissed if Obama being in the White House is what it takes to get the people against the government.

  29. Ahh… Not another one of these “lessons” from history nonsense lectures. Let’s face it: history is either an interesting story, a list of (presumably boring) facts, or a propaganda device. History can be conveniently interpreted to mean almost whatever someone wants it to mean, and it can mean absolutely anything to one of those pompous over-intellectualizing post-modernist types. If you want to make a point without putting me to sleep, then show me some actual evidence.

  30. “Real” job?

    What constitutes a real job…

    I’m not sure, but political advocacy probably doesn’t fit within too many people’s definitions.

    It’s sort of like the position of “supervisor”, only it’s largely self-appointed.

    I suppose if I decided to take donations in order to stand behind your desk telling you what you ought to type, you’d consider that a “real” job, too, though.

  31. Famous Mortimer | February 9, 2009, 8:41pm | #
    “Seriously. They’d have to find a real job, or else do some actual charity work instead of advocating for social welfare programs.”

    “Real” job?

    What constitutes a real job, and how many people here have a “real” jobs? Libertarian minded people have never struck me as hard workers. You’re cranks.

    Many of you don’t even have fake jobs.

    You need to be more conscious of the language you use because the type of language that you are currently using suggests that you are prone to bullshit.

    I know many you assume that you’re within a friendly echo chamber, but always remember that there’s someone watching you.

    I’ve read through about a thousand comments tonight, and this is by far the most fucking stupid. Nobody gives a fuck what you are watching.

    What are you? The smelly old folkie kept in the basement of the Southern Poverty Center given the task of jotting down what scary Libertarians say?

  32. As I remember there was an overwhelming majority bi-partisan constituency against TARP I.Among elected represenatives there were more Republicans than democrats against it.
    I’m hoping the coalition against Wall Street bank bailouts holds and is expanded when we get the TARP II proposal after the Democrat Party Trillion Dollar Spending Bill passes this week.

  33. This opinion piece was great. I’ve added Christian Science Monitors to my favs.

  34. What constitutes a real job, and how many people here have a “real” jobs?

    One that is productive. Government jobs are NOT productive, nor is lobbying to government to receive undeserved privileges.

    Libertarian minded people have never struck me as hard workers. You’re cranks.

    Depends on what you believe is a “hard worker”. Maybe you entertain some kind of homo-erotic image of a guy digging ditches ? la Cool Hand Luke, if that is your thing, but at least in my case, my job is hard.

  35. Rimfax is pretty funny.

    Does anyone recall a Democrat calling for less spending in the 8 years of the Bush administration…Bueller…Bueller?

    LOL

  36. I think I must have touched a nerve when I suggested that his life wouldn’t have any meaning if he couldn’t lobby the government.

    I mean really … people whose lives revolve around “making the world a better place” by way of enacting more social welfare programs … what the fuck would they do with themselves?

  37. Hazel:

    Obviously you did touch a nerve. Probably Famous is an english major working as a community activist.

  38. Hi,

    Thanks for posting and giving information.

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