Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Wall Street Journal reports($) on the "don't just stand there do something" desperation among governments looking to avoid taking their economic-contraction medicine, a stance popularized by John M. Keynes but debunked by Milton Friedman and the montarists. Wishful-thinking quote from the article: "Economists say that if governments can get money into the economy quickly, targeting projects that will have the biggest effect, and make sure the spending is temporary, they can avoid inflation and wasteful spending."
And we can all have free ponies.
The WSJ has another article on national whining about declining 401(k) balances. Kristine Gardner, a 35-year-old whose sense of entitlement vastly exceeds her historical perspective, is quoted as saying, "There's just no guarantee that when you're ready to retire you're going to have the money." Babe, there's no guarantee that you'll even be alive when you're ready to retire. Welcome to life.
21st-century Americans live longer, more comfortable, more peaceful, more secure, and more prosperous lives than any group of people in human history. Even our least-affluent neighbors have access to education, entertainment, and luxury that monarchs of three centuries ago dared not dream of. This longevity, comfort, and education comes from an economy that produces such an abundance of our basic needs that huge numbers of people are able to live what by historical standards are unimaginably luxurious lives. But it starts with prosperity, and prosperity requires a dynamic economy.
And dynamic, abundance-producing, civilized-lives-creating economies are strangled by the risk-averse.