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Jim Cook

 

RUNAWAY SOCIAL SYMPATHY

Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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The Best of Jim Cook Archive

 
Best of Michael Pento
August 24, 2011
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Paul Krugman sounded the war cry this Sunday on Fareed Zakaria's program Global Public Square. After all, he asserted, only spending equivalent to another World War could lead us back to prosperity. That, and a healthy dose of inflation.

Krugman argued that inflation would address our debt problem by reducing our bill in current dollar terms and that the Second World War was a giant stimulus plan that actually worked. Thankfully, he added the refrain, "Hopefully we don't need a world war to get there," but I sensed a tinge of regret in his voice. After all, the Keynesian economist's favorite pastime is seeing people waste their lives digging holes in the ground or sacrifice their lives in war. Both acts create economic growth according to the topsy-turvy logic of men like Krugman.

The truth is that wars are a miserable misallocation of capital and usually leave financial ruin in their wake. The US did not boom in the '50s because we fought World War II, but because we resoundingly won. It was the byproduct of having an unscathed manufacturing base, solid infrastructure, an intact military, most of the world's gold, and the only reserve currency.

The logical implication of Krugman's arguments remains that working in productive employment is not at all necessary. If this is true, why not have people just save gas and stay home? The government could simply borrow and/or print money and send it to foreign countries that are dumb enough to produce goods and services for US consumption. Christina Romer, former Chair to Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, also sided with Krugman in a commentary posted in Sunday's New York Times finance section. In it, she pontificated on the lessons to be learned from the Great Depression, saying: "It would be a mistake to respond by reducing the deficit more sharply in the near-term. That would almost surely condemn us to a repeat of the 1937 downturn." This misdirection demonstrates her lack of understanding of what causes economic depressions in the first place.

The cause of the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession beginning in December 2007 were one and the same - an over-leveraged economy. Easy money provided by the banking system eventually brings debt in the economy to an unsustainable level. At that point, the only real and viable solution is for the public and private sectors to undergo a protracted period of deleveraging. The ensuing depression is, in actuality, the healing process at work, and is marked by the selling of assets and the paying down of debt. Unfortunately, our politicians today are focused on fighting the natural healing process of deleveraging by promoting the accumulation of even more debt.

During this latest economic contraction, the Federal Reserve has taken interest rates to near 0% for the past 2 ¾ years, and it has just promised to keep them there for an additional 2 years! Meanwhile, the Obama administration is leveraging up the public sector to record levels in an effort to re-leverage the private sector. The government's philosophy is tantamount to sticking a frostbitten man in the freezer so he won't have to suffer the pain associated with the thawing of his extremities.