The political failure of Keynesian economics

Megan McArdle has a short column on how even if Keynesian economics works in theory it doesn’t seem to work in practice because nobody in a free country will vote to stimulate the economy to the extent required.

Here is how she says it:

When people like Paul Krugman say that almost $900 billion in stimulus didn’t work because it wasn’t big enough, you have to wonder if an adequate Keynesian stimulus is even possible.  Could any government anywhere borrow 15% of GDP or more to spend on temporary measures with the blessing of their citizens?

For me, the available criticism seems much simpler: Nobody in government is smart enough to spend all that money wisely.

The advocates of centralized spending and control remind me of the Tower of Babel story from Genesis 11:

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves…”

“But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building”

Smart people get carried away with themselves. Their cities and their towers are not nearly so magnificent as they think.

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