Bruce Bartlett marks the release of his new book "The New American Economy: The Failure Of Reaganomics And A New Way Forward" with a must-read post. His courage in confronting "conservative" dogma is rare and inspiring. If conservatism means a practical adjustment to events, with the intention of keeping the whole show on the road as coherently as possible, Bruce is dead-on. Well, you know what I think by now. Read his book. He wants Supply Side Economics to declare victory and go home:
Many of my friends believe I have abandoned supply side economics and become a Keynesian. (Among conservatives there are few insults more damning than to be labeled a "Keynesian.") But as I try to explain in my book, my views haven't changed at all; it's circumstances that have changed. I believe that my friends are still stuck in the 1970s when tax rates were considerably higher and excessive demand (i.e., inflation) was our biggest economic problem. Today, tax rates are much lower and a lack of demand (i.e., deflation) is the central problem. I really don't understand why conservatives insist on a one-size-fits-all economic policy consisting of more and bigger tax cuts no matter what the economic circumstances are; it's simply become dogma totally disconnected from reality.
Nor do I understand the conservative antipathy for Keynes, who was in fact deeply conservative. He developed his theories primarily for the purpose of saving capitalism from some form of socialism. Same goes for Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose biggest economic mistake, I believe, was not that he ran big budget deficits, as all conservatives believe, but that he didn't run deficits nearly large enough until the war forced his hand. (I discuss these points in columns here and here.)
Read the whole thing.
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