Yesterday, the president told us that conservative economic policies have never worked. Someone should ask him the same questions about the Keynesian theories that drive his big-spending policies. He — and many of his supporters — really do believe that we need economic stimuli in order to jump-start the economy.
Only problem is that such solutions rarely (if ever) lead to sustained economic growth. The New Deal delayed economic recovery in the 1930s. Japan suffered a “Lost Decade” in the 1990s when its government adopted policies similar to those Democrats would follow in 2009.
Instead of trusting to theories which sound good on paper, we need to turn to policies which have succeeded in practice. In his book on the housing crisis, Thomas Sowell makes the case for a pragmatism that has eluded the incumbent president:
In housing markets, there have been an abundance of theories and of fervently believed doctrines, but not nearly such an abundance of willingness to subject these theories to the test of evidence. Politicians would be gambling their entire careers on a roll of the dice, if they were to publicly subject the policies and programs that they have been advocating for years to empirical test of their consequences.
The economy grew after the economic policies similar to those Obama derided yesterday took effect in 1983. And despite Obama’s success in enacting his policies in 2009, the recovery which followed the Bush-Pelosi-Reid downturn (the one that he “inherited”) has been the most anemic in generations.
Would be nice if the president acknowledged that empirical test of his policies rather than stick to the rhetorical appeal which served him so well in 2008.