Thursday, 18 February 2010

The American Experiment With Keynesianism

[Guest Post by Jeff Perren.]

Pete du Pont, ex-Governor of Delaware and ex-U.S. Congressman, reviews some of the staggering sums expended by the U.S. Federal government over the past year... and the even more stunning ones to come.

The federal deficit this fiscal year will be $1.6 trillion, or about 10.6% of gross domestic product. That is the largest deficit since World War II, and even Obama's optimistic estimates show our deficits will not return to sustainable levels for at least the next decade.

The administration's projection of total federal spending over those 10 years (2011-20) is $45.8 trillion, while expected taxes and other receipts will be $37.3 trillion. The $8.5 trillion deficit is about 20% of spending. And all of these numbers are based on a full and lasting economic recovery, which, based on current experience, is a pretty optimistic projection.
When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, the debt held by the public was 36.2% of GDP. It rose to 40.2% the next year. This year it will be about 63.6%, next year 68.6%, then 77% of GDP in 2020.

One can't help but ask: how will Americans pay for all this? One also can't help but be reminded of the line from Atlas Shrugged: "You'll do something, Mr. Rearden!"

And so, on a wish and a Keynesian prayer, we're hurtling down the abyss with nary a flashlight in sight.

Most revolting of all, of course, is the fact that this is hardly the first time the experiment has been run and the results have long been in. The manner in which that approach fails has been exposed repeatedly over a period of decades. Writers from John T. Flynn (The Roosevelt Myth, 1948) to Burton Folsom Jr. (New Deal or Raw Deal?, 2009) have demonstrated again and again in layman's terms what actually happened when the Keynesian experiment was tried here on this scale before. (Other countries show similar results, not surprisingly.)

You have to wonder when the general public will finally get educated enough to get the message, and muster up enough outrage to put an end to it once and for all. My view on that subject is not particularly optimistic.

[Cross posted at Shaving Leviathan.]


  1. "In the end were all dead anyway".As the wheels collapse under the debt load,we are in for "adjustments".If "disorder" leads to "a new order",the latter is constructed in the shadow of the former.Given that you cannot fool all the people all the time,we see the Tea Party and grassroots movements growing in numbers and stature.The general public ARE getting educated.In that I remain optimistic.
    True,we the the people are up against the powerz that be,but they are defending a broken system.In the end reality ALWAYS wins.

  2. "The general public ARE getting educated."

    You may be right; I hope so. The majority, after all, do not believe that 'the Stimulus' did or will lead to creating jobs.


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