but a lot of people painted rocks!Specious counterarguments to specious arguments, and here we go:
Responding to a column from Amity Shlaes arguing that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, Dean Baker writes that, nuh-uh, the New Deal made there be jobs, so there:
...the discussion is contradicted by the known facts of the era. Roosevelt's New Deal Agenda lowered the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1933 to 10 percent in 1937. None of us would be happy with 10 percent unemployment, but it is difficult to complain about policies that reduced the unemployment rate by an average of almost 4 percentage points a year. The annual growth rate over these four years averaged 13.0 percent.This is called "changing the subject," and it is, again, exactly what dead-ender Bushies did with the Holy Mythical Surge. The notional point of government intervention in the economy is the restoration of markets. Government gives away massive assloads of cash, and commercial vitality switches back on. If government solves the problem of ten million unemployed by paying five million people to dig holes and five million people to fill in holes, then, yes, government created ten million new jobs. But do those jobs work as advertised? If the government gives away massive assloads of free cash, does GM unmake shitty cars and suddenly produce good ones? Does Circuit City somehow un-die?
I challenge any takers to read Baker's post and find the part where he breaks down how many jobs came from straight from the New Deal, and how many came from the stimulation of the private market by the New Deal. Because otherwise, we can have full employment right now, and no need for further discussion: Everyone should just work for the government, problem solved. ("President Chris Bray reduced unemployment by one hundred percent with America's glorious new make-believe government-run 'tractor factories'!!!!!")
The question is not, "can government spending create jobs and personal spending?" -- because duh, if you give people massive assloads of free cash to dig holes and fill them in, more jobs and spending will result. But is free government money a path to a real and sustainable private economy, or does it just create its own kind of bubble? And what happens if the nation's creditors say that, no thanks, we decline to help the United States take on a few trillion dollars of extra debt?
And, above all, can government really fix the collapse of a form of notional prosperity built on credit cards by pulling out the national credit card?
Lots of spending equals lots of spending, nothing more. Maybe it leads to strong commercial markets. But it's not a given, and not all jobs are jobs; work created for the sake of creating work is welfare, and leads only to more welfare. I'm not opposed to welfare spending, if we're headed into a depression. But if that's what it is, call it that. Let's not pretend that free cash creates real jobs.