The idea that government intervention helped end the Great Depression, and that the Keynesian policy of “managing demand” and interjecting a bunch of money into the economy is an effective way to fix recessions had gone, we conservatives mistakenly believed and hoped, the way of the Dodo bird. But it’s back, and with a vengeance. And a trillion dollar price tag that taxpayers will be footing for a long, long, long time.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH. (Sorry, that slips out involuntarily about once every two or three hours these days.)
Managing monetary policy (via the Fed) does have its limits. It deals with what the market has and is, and doesn’t attempt changing the foundations of the market system (which is always a losing proposition because that invariably leads to socialism). Adjusting monetary policy isn’t about changing the rules of the game, but about helping the market do what it must. And believe us, the market will still do what it must, but government interference (particularly the non-nationalization nationalization of banks last week) is exacerbating the problem.
The current generation did not live during the Great Depression. We were taught that the WPA and other FDR initiatives helped end it. But that is actually debatable. World War II did more to get America moving again than works projects. The U.S. in fact lagged far behind other countries in 1936 and ’37.
And the list of economists who do not believe in more government interference is here, brought to you by the Cato Institute.
In protest of the Mortgage Bill and the Stimulus package that will not stimulate, libertarians and conservatives had “tea party” protests in Chicago (nice video by Founding Bloggers. We wish we could have been there!), St. Louis (where about 1,000 protestors gathered), DC (which does indeed look a little sad, compared to Chicago and St. Louis, but I’m frankly surprised they found ANYONE to protest it in DC), and elsewhere.
Protest marches struck us at first as downright unconservative. As Age of Hooper says, conservatives often have better things to do with their time — work, family, all the boring stuff that makes the engine go. But then again, there ARE some things worth fighting for, and worth protesting. Obama’s quick march to socialism is one of them.