Right sees 2010 midterm as referendum on Keynesian economics
Keynesian economics advocates using government spending in hard times to stimulate consumption and economic growth. A wave of austerity measures sweeping through Britain signals that Keynesian economics are being abandoned in the birthplace of John Maynard Keynes. American conservatives are using the example of Britain and the struggling U.S. economy to declare Keynesian economics dead.
Keynesian economics 101
Keynesian economics is based on the cycle of money. Spending by one person creates earnings for another in a healthy economy. During the Great Depression people stopped spending, the cycle of money stopped, and the economy tanked. Keynes argued that the government must spend to revive the cycle of money. He was ridiculed by proponents of laissez-faire capitalism, the most popular economic theory of the time. Keynes’ ideas were taken to heart by the Roosevelt administration, which spent to build roads, dams and other public works projects. Then World War II came along with massive government defense spending and the U.S. economy boomed for 50 years.
Europe rejects Keynesian economics
The global financial crisis exposed massive government deficits in Europe as the continent’s economy crashed. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recommended Keynesian economics to European governments. Instead, Europe is heading the other way with austerity measures. Britain is cutting $130 billion in spending that will erase 500,000 jobs and affect the military, pensioners, the middle class and the poor. Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stigliz told The Guardian that the British government’s plan will result in less growth, less tax revenue and higher national debt.
Keynesian economics and the midterm election
A U.S. economy that remains sluggish despite billions in government stimulus has conservatives arguing that the Obama administration should follow Britain’s example. Right wing pundits eagerly anticipating Republican gains in Congress are trumpeting the 2010 midterm election as the official declaration that Keynesian economics have failed. The White House cautions that an abrupt end to government economic stimulus will extend the downturn. Conservatives argue that the economy has stabilized, and it’s time to wean the country from deficit spending.