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Ed Driscoll

The Keynesian Depression

February 25th, 2013 - 8:01 am
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At Real Clear Politics, Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer of Guggenheim Funds charts our would-be FDR’s ongoing perma-Depression:

In 1968, America was literally over the moon. Apollo 7 had just made the first manned lunar orbit and the nation would soon witness Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk. The United States was winning the war in Southeast Asia and the Great Society was on the verge of eliminating poverty. I remember my father taking me to the Buick dealership that summer in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where he bought a 1969 Electra. As we drove home I asked him why we had bought the 1969 model when we had the 1968 one, which seemed equally good.

“That’s just what you do now,” my father said, “Every year you go and get a new car.” “Wouldn’t it be better,” I asked as a precocious nine year-old, “if we saved our money in case a depression happened?” I will never forget my father’s reply: “Son, the next depression will be completely different from the one that I knew as a boy. In that depression, virtually nobody had any money so if you had even a little, you could buy nearly anything. In the next depression, everyone will have plenty of money but it won’t buy much of anything.” Little did I realize, then, how prescient my father would prove to be.

Five years have passed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Growth is slow, joblessness is elevated, and the knock-on effects continue to drag down the global economy. The panic in financial markets in 2008 that caused a systemic crisis and a sharp fall in asset values still weighs on markets around the world. The primary difference between today and the 1930s, when the U.S. experienced its last systemic crisis, has been the response by policymakers. Having the benefit of hindsight, policymakers acted swiftly to avoid the mistakes of the Great Depression by applying Keynesian solutions. Today, I believe we are in the midst of the Keynesian Depression that my father predicted. Like the last depression, we are likely to live with the unintended consequences of the policy response for years to come.

Read the whole thing.

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