In the New York Times on Sunday, David Stockman made some points that I’ve been making on this blog: that America has lost its way in a decades-long orgy of government spending, deficits and money-printing, creating a “bubble economy” where the real prosperity is rather less than the statistics claim, and each bubble’s burst is greater than the last, meaning that we’ve got a doozy coming.
Stockman’s piece speaks for itself, encasing relevant facts in very sharp rhetoric. I won’t quote it here, just recommend it to your interest.
His piece isn’t perfect; it contradicts itself in a few places. For example, Stockman rips (rightly) on Keynesian economic theory, but also affirms (wrongly) the neo-Keynesian story for why the Great Depression ended (that it was somehow due to WW2 spending). Or Stockman characterizes the last several decades both as rough times, and times of living “high on the hog”; that could seem contradictory if you don’t fill in the missing context yourself (that it’s been “higher” for the politically-connected and a little rougher for the rest of us).
And, while I agree with Stockman’s knocks on Alan Greenspan, I find him unfair in his treatment of such figures as Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and Paul Ryan. But Stockman’s piece is a polemic, and no polemic is ever perfect. It’s a good one if it manages to get a lot right, and Stockman’s does.
UPDATE: John Tamny at Forbes critiques Stockman’s piece in more detail, from a perspective that I respect. (Non-Keynesian; perhaps Supply-side or even Austrian?) Like I did, he acknowledges large areas of agreement.
(NB: As often happens with my posts, I’ve tweaked a couple phrases since publication to better fit what I really had in mind.)