David Frum highlights his ignorance of economics

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 07-07-2010

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Business Insider has a post about David Frum acting as a complete tool for those who love big government and planned economics.
One of the problems is that the anti-Keynesian arguments are simplistic (and probably wrong). The most common critique of Krugman’s “spend spend spend!” strategy is that America will go the way of Greece, but this argument isn’t all that robust, and the existence of Japan makes this argument tougher.
You can always quickly tell when someone doesn’t want to debate with an idea that is just common sense. The first thing they pull out is it’s too simplistic, and then they’ll tell you how complicated the world is now. Do they really expect to win an argument that says the world is so complicated now that central planners are better at planning now than when it was less complicated?

Here’s a better critique of Krugman: How will spending “fix” the economy? Yes, we understand all that stuff about putting people to work (not wholly illegitimate) and how there’s all kinds of slack in the system, but how will government spending actually make the economy more robust? Or more specifically, where does Krugman actually see the economy in two or three years, such that we can take off the training wheels?

That question is almost never answered.

It’s never answered because they don’t want to answer it. Keynes answered it best when he said “in the long run, we’re all dead”. Unfortunately, Krugman is living in Keynes long run.

Now it’s true you could ask the same, too, of the free-market, anti-Keynesians.

In fact, that’s exactly what conservative columnist David Frum does in a recent piece up at The Week. He critiques Krugman, but wonders what, exactly, the GOP proposes to jumpstart the economy.

Is anyone else tired of hearing “conservative” David Frum’s name being brought up in order to bash everything that is truly conservative? The GOP probably is proposing the wrong solutions, because they are probably proposing more tax cuts with no spending cuts. So how does that hurt what free market economists say? The GOP is not synonymous with free market economics as George Bush blatantly proved.

The question is kind of fair, but then, it’s a contradiction to talk about a “free-market” plan for fixing the economy. Small government conservatives are supposed to believe in spontaneous order, and the ability of private actors to produce growth without some brilliant guidance from intellectuals.

The fact that Frum is concerned about the lack of a free-market plan might be, more than anything else, an indication of his well-known ambivalence towards conservatism.

Of course Frum is ambivalent towards conservatism. He is a neocon. He is not a free market thinker, he is not a small government thinker, and he is not a conservative. A free market thinker would not be questioning what the plan is from free market economists. The free market doesn’t have a plan. The fact that Frum is asking what the free market plan is either shows his complete ignorance of the subject or his lack of honesty when discussing it.

So ignore the doom talk about how we’re the next Greece, which isn’t analogous, and isn’t helpful, and instead try to figure out how more and more spending will do anything to improve the functioning of the economy, and whether there’s actually plausible end game to the Keynsian madness.

Read more:  Do The Krugmanites Have ANY Serious Ideas For Fixing The Economy?.

Ignore the doom talk about how we’re the next Greece? This sounds like a bad idea as well. Maybe we should be thinking about what happens in “civilized” America when the government either inflates it’s way out of it’s obligations or finally comes clean and tells Americans it can’t afford all the lies they’ve promised. Maybe we should look at how quickly we’d have rioting in the streets.

Earlier in the article the author mentions Japan as if that’s proof that acting like Greece will not lead to the same result as Greece. The problem is the US is not Japan. Japan actually produces goods, while the US has lost most of its manufacturing. We’ve relied heavily on low cost manufacturing in China, but with China depegging their currency, that will quickly come to an end.

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